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  • Writer's pictureNat Harrison

ADHD Procrastination; How To Boost Productivity

October was ADHD Awareness Month and I made this the topic of my social media to help increase the wider understanding of ADHD; what it is, how it can present, the impact it can have and my own personal experience as an ADHDer. In this article, I wanted to address something that affects the majority of ADHDers particularly in the workplace - procrastination.

I’m sure most of you know what procrastination is, but if you don’t, it means delaying or postponing certain tasks, whether they are important or not. So why is this such a common symptom of ADHD?

Why does this happen? - Executive Functioning explained!

ADHD is a cognitive disorder that is closely linked to our Executive Functions and the way they work. Executive functions as I mentioned on one of my Instagram posts are the maestros of the brain. Each function controls different emotions and reactions to certain tasks and situations - see image for a breakdown of the 8 executive functions. For someone who is neurotypical - they will all work together to help organise and manage day to day tasks, responses and reactions, which isn’t true for ADHDers.

ADHD is described by Psychologist and ADHD specialist Thomas E. Brown, as a developmental impairment of the executive functions. Which means we often struggle with things like:

  • Organisation & time management

  • Adapting to change

  • Task Initiation & planning

  • Retaining information

  • Emotional regulation & self awareness

ADHDers don’t procrastinate because we are lazy (if anything we are the opposite with many people identifying with the feeling of “being driven by a motor” or disorganised, or even stressed out. We procrastinate because we’re unable to effectively regulate our own emotions. .

So how can we regulate ourselves and keep procrastination at bay?
  1. Spend 10 minutes alone, with yourself in a quiet place in the morning, when you have just woken up. Connect to your body and ask it how it’s feeling.

  2. Journal for 15 mins or 3 A4 pages and get rid of all the gunk that is sitting around in your brain and upsetting you or distracting you and making you ruminate.

  3. Listen to meditation tracks or practice breathwork (remember I love 4-7-8 breathing) to calm your nervous system and start the day off the right way.

  4. Know what dysregulation feels like - it can be anxiety, agitation , racing thoughts, pit of the stomach feeling, rushing, busyness - recognise this feeling in yourself.

  5. Check in with yourself hourly and rate how dysregulated you feel out of 10…. see if there is a pattern or triggers that you can identify.

  6. Prepare yourself for better regulation - catch yourself before you start getting more dysregulated and take some time to calm yourself and regroup before plugging away with your day or work.

Incorporating time management strategies into your work day

Being more regulated helps to be able to put into place time management strategies and stay on point and on focus with tasks. Here’s some ways we can address procrastination and boost our overall productivity, and with patience and time, create habits and routines for ourselves, so here are some things I have done myself to increase my own productivity.

  • Set alarms and times to get specific tasks done.

  • Have multiple ways of managing and recording to-do lists to help keep focused.

  • Plan your day in 10 minute increments or us the Pomodoro Technique.

  • Utilise body doubling or an accountability partner - having someone by your side can improve. productivity and help you stay on track.

  • Make changes to workspace & environment and have a specific place to get your work head on

  • Do something you enjoy before and after the task.

  • Give yourself something to look forward to like a reward once you get the job done.

To sum it all up...

Finding ways to beat procrastination as an ADHDer and increase productivity, in the beginning, will be trial and error, it’s about finding ways to manage your workload and daily tasks in a way that works for you, so that you can use them effectively and speak to your employers if necessary about how they can support you while doing so.

Neurotypical people benefit massively from trying ADHD regulations strategies too so why not give them a go…

If you would like some support in creating a system that works for you and implementation, then feel free to reach out by booking a free consultation with me to talk about how we can work together moving forward.


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