“I know what to do, I’m just not going to do it!”
This is a common theme with ADHD clients working on projects. They feel frustrated and confused.
"Why is it so hard? It shouldn’t be so hard. Everyone else seems to be managing just fine. What’s wrong with me?"
And there begins the recording in their heads that they are not good enough.
The shame and embarrassment continues to damage their self-esteem and nothing gets accomplished.
When I talk to clients about lack of motivation, it often comes down to a lack of interest in the task. They just aren’t excited about it, but it’s something they have to do or should do.
A while back, Pete and I had a discussion about these words; Want, Have, and Should…
“Should” is a tricky word because when you have to do something, it’s pretty clear that even if you don’t want to, at some point, it needs to get done. But when something falls under the “should” category, all bets are off.
There is a lack of clarity of whether or not this task really has to get done. Yes, there may be consequences, but they may not be as bad as having your electricity turned off. It’s just not as black and white.
So what does a person do?
On Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast Ep 234: Getting Started: Motivation & ADHD, Pete and I discuss self-activation and why it can be so difficult to get started on certain projects.
I reference the workbook, Understanding Your Brain, Get More Done by Ari Tuckman as an excellent resource to get a better understanding of why this happens. Pete and I go on to talk about some of his strategies and what we have found to work on our own.
Here are a few other ideas on what to do when you lack motivation to get started:
1) Be Creative First
I first learned of this idea from one of my instructors from the ADD Coaching Academy. She recommended that before tackling a task that is boring, especially first thing in the morning, to actually start with something creative first, something that you are truly interested in. This wakes up the brain and makes it easier to tackle the less exciting task.
2) Work in Small Chunks of Time
I mention this in the podcast, but I think it’s worth mentioning again because it really works! Approaching a dreaded task is so much easier when you know you are only dedicating a small chunk of time to it. Instead of spending an hour paying all your bills, just pay one at a time to make the task a lot less daunting.
Do you really have to be the one to do this task? Could you delegate it to someone else or, at the very least, take turns doing it? This is especially true for household tasks. Who else in your family could share this responsibility with you? Could you hire someone to do the tasks you dislike so much?
4) Combine Tasks
I love this idea…combine a task that you really enjoy with something you don’t enjoy as much. For example, if you have a favorite TV show, only watch this show while you fold laundry. Or if you have a favorite podcast, only listen while you are working out. It makes the less desired task much easier to take on.
5) Accountability Partner
Going into any task you don't want to do is difficult, but doing it alone or with no accountability can decrease your chances dramatically of following through with your plan. Find someone, who you trust, who could be a "body double" for you. A body double is there in the room with you while you are working. It's their presence that keeps you on task. Your body double can be your accountability partner, but they don't have to be. Your accountability partner is the one who will want to know your goals and hear about your updates, again to keep you on track. That little bit of encourage and accountability can go a long way...
One of my favorite coaching services are my Accountability Coaching Groups. It's a time for a small group of ADDer's to get together every week to talk about their goals and be accountable for those goals. These groups are about connection, motivation, and inspiration.
** If enrollment is not open, be sure to sign up for the waiting list! You will be the first to be notified of the next registration period!
Thank you for your time and attention..