Procrastination & Adult ADHD. Problems, Strategies & Successes

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Topic: Procrastination And Adult ADHD. Problems, Strategies And Successes. See the other Adult ADHD Issues.

Facilitator: Carol

September 2004 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

Questions to think about for the meeting.

Can you classify the types of situations where procrastination becomes a problem?

Is there a specific trigger to your procrastination?

What circumstances are usually occurring when you procrastinate?

What emotions proceed your periods of procrastination? What emotions and thoughts come after the realization that your procrastination has created problems in your life?

What has worked for you in overcoming procrastination? Why do you think those tactics were successful? How can you apply them in other situations?

What specific areas of your life would you like to reduce procrastination in?

What stories do you tell yourself when you procrastinate? How do you justify it? How do you condemn yourself when your procrastination leads to negative consequences? Are there any useful results from your condemnation?

Please tell us how you dealt with the challenge one of our members gave you at the August meeting. Here was the challenge.

Here is a challenge for you:

Your Goal Is:

a) Choose a time management system for you by next Thursday
at 6:00 PM

b) Refine the time management system you currently use, define how you will do this by next Thursday at 6:00 PM

Schedule It:

• On a piece of paper, sticky post-it-note or whatever you use, set a day and time when you are going to start working on your goal, once you have committed by next Thursday at 6:00 PM.

• Also, set a date and time when this goal is to be completed.

Do It:

• No excuses, no putting it off, no rescheduling this goal. JUST DO IT!

A great book on procrastination is Put your Rear into Gear: Understanding and Breaking Free From Procrastination By Jeanine Reiss Lifeworks Publishing Ltd. It really helps you understand and deal with the different types of procrastination.

The theme for this meeting was Procrastination.

Carol, Co-Coordinator of CHADD Vancouver, (now ADD Vancouver Support Group) did the introduction (mostly new people who attended the meeting), this was our 3rd meeting in this new format as a separate adult group.

CHADD started as a support and information group for adults, parents of children and youth, in the last few years more adults, then a little session for the adults, that did not work and now have a separate meeting, chaired by Pete, but he is ill tonight. There have been 12 or 13 people at meetings previously.

Introductions: name and one thing around procrastinating and maybe a Burning Question.

Daydreaming… staying focused… going in too many directions and not finishing one

Diagnosed 5 years ago… struggle with because of addictions… perfectionism… and so many things to do that day… overwhelming.

Diagnosed 7 years ago … not coping well in the last few years… car accidents… son ADD… Feeling over-whelmed

Diagnosed in 97, I was self-medicating, in recovery I figured out not an addict. Without Ritalin, I cannot work. I am like a pit bull at work and not good for interacting with others. Have a stage of depression and my employer is very accommodating. I have my own way of doing things so I do not forget. My strategy is: get it done and out of the way. My self-confidence goes if I am not getting things done. No one understands what we go through: spinning – distracted by things or people – never enough time – do it right now or it does not get done.

Essay to do, wait until past the deadline with the extension and use the adrenalin to get it done. Getting ready in the morning… timing

Not formally diagnosed… think procrastination is my middle name… so much of nothing… can’t get motivated all by myself. My house is clean, but don’t look in drawers.

Past few years diagnosed… seem to be storing a lot of stuff and not dealing with it. There are courses I want to do and other things crop up.

Procrastination is pretty bad, can’t get basic things done, looming catastrophe, option paralysis, can’t decide on one thing

Realization of ADD pursuing a diagnosis, educating mother of two, previous diagnosis… can’t break down the tasks… feels overwhelming… cannot start

So glad to be here… Feeling like I am home… Why does stuff keep creeping all over the place… how to prioritize... the 37 things… why does it have to be like this… moved some more junk… try to do my best… 14 bags of groceries… bring 2 in at a time… husband is not building any more shelves for my stuff

Son ADHD… been nuts living with him… after having my kids my life fell apart… I got tested for it… thinking back I used to sit in class and float off. I see it in my daughter. I get fired up by getting things done at the last minute. I did not share the secret with friends… piles everywhere and then the last minute spurge when others come over.

Symptoms seem to be there… lack of motivation… and can follow through… boxes… stuffing them full of stuff…

What Procrastination means in my life: the Fantasy that someday in the future I will have the….

What do you say to yourself?

I will do it tomorrow… get mad at self… hear the statements from my parents… think of the consequences. If I can’t get it all done, then I don’t do it. It is both stressful to avoid it or do it.

Successes with procrastination:

Catastrophizing: thinking of the worst possible outcomes and then get the job done.

Do the most difficult thing first.

Do the next thing, then a reward, the next thing, and so on…

Have a good system

Have someone there to help you want to do it and encourage you – buddy system.

Having a supportive employer: ask for conditions that support you. If employers know you can get some support.

I get to sit down and do the mending by hand, quiet time for me.

Medication helps with focusing: 100 ideas become only 5.

My energy level varies day today and I do not want people to see me at my best because then they will expect me like that all the time.

Promise yourself you will only do 15-minute sand then a break – then wake up in 3 hours into the task.

Rewards – movie every Tuesday, whether I got it done or not.

See how others cope or do it – then actually do it.

Super organized partners.

When I don’t have time: do the next thing and get on a roll.

When I wait until the last minute, I tell myself that I could have done it better if started sooner.

Problems with procrastination:

Go to change the bed linens and take them down to the laundry and notice the cobwebs. Go to get something to clean with and see the rage need cleaning, get involved with the next thing and the bed is not made. The kids give me a bad time about the house and call me a loser. I tell them: “If you are not part of the solution; you are part of the problem.”

I cannot decide on what to do with things.

I do husband’s tax return and not mine, I meant to and eventually the consequences ended up being greater than the pain.

I drive a truck and never had driven a tractor-trailer, but I did by just focusing on the truck.

I used to drive 50 miles and realized that I did not stay focused.

The challenge of “this is worth 50% of your mark” and I did the best ever on an assignment. We forget what we are going to do, someone else is more important and it breaks your focus.

Sudden change or need to change gears, inconsistent performance – still due when it is due.

When the tasks are boring or not urgent.

What worked?

A strategy that will work for me in this situation, will not work for you in the same situation. We need to do what we do, it may not look pretty, but it gets done.

I do things in order, or I end up missing things. Classic ADD: short term memory is very bad, kind of like Alzheimer’s.

I moved furniture and was hell to work with, I demanded things be done a certain way. One day I decided to change and be decent to the boys and the whole thing changed.

My boss said to do this in this order I did it my way and he asked what are you doing? I need to do things in my way to get things done, it relaxed me and then I could get down to work.

Strategy to get things done: like packing up a house, start one room at a time, finish that and then the next room.

Do you people tell about your ADD?

Human rights… accommodations… depends on the boss… and the relationship… you have to really know what you need to be successful with the job, then get what help you need… this is what you get- coming and going at odd times,

I am good at:

Being hopeful

Being understood



Learning about things… medical, interior design, walking and reading, gardening

Listening and helping

Listening to other people

My job

Organizing things

Packing and putting things in boxes

Playing and having fun


Seeing the light in something dark



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