Strategies for Managing Procrastination

Procrastination is a problem for a lot of people, but for those with ADHD it’s pervasive. According to a post on PsycheCentral’s World of Psychology blog there are a number of reasons why people with ADHD put off today what they can do tomorrow.

Robert Olivardia, Ph.D with the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School told Associate Editor Margarita Tartakovsky that procrastination comes with the ADHD diagnosis. “It’s difficult for the brain of someone with ADHD to get stimulated unless the activity is interesting, there are major consequences, or there is a sense of urgency,” he said. Dr. Kim Kensington, a procrastination expert and coach, finds that many people with ADHD become paralyzed by not knowing where to begin.

Perhaps more important than understanding the reasons why people procrastinate, is recognizing that there are behavioral strategies to manage the situation. Following are examples of the strategies offered by the experts:

  1. Set up mini goals. For example, when Olivardia is writing a book, he sets aside time every week to work on a chapter.
  2. Use technology. According to the blog post, “Psychotherapist Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, NCC, uses the app Errand. It lets her manage tasks and projects, set alarms, set priority statuses – low, medium or high – pick deadlines and put tasks in specific categories.”
  3. Work with your internal clock. Sarkis, who is more productive in the morning, uses those hours for tasks that require more intense brainpower.
  4. Commit to a short time. Olivardia “eases into tasks” by starting with a 15-minute commitment, after which he often finds he wants to continue.
  5. Follow up immediately: As soon as a client meeting is over, Kensington tackles the requisite paperwork, rather than doing it later.

For a complete list of the experts’ suggestions read the entire post, ADHD Experts Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Manage Procrastination.