We ADDers are masters of the art of procrastination. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?
Now we aren’t entirely to blame all by ourselves. Our ADHD does get some of the credit.
But the truth is it’s all too easy to use our ADHD symptoms as excuses not to do things we didn’t really want to do in the first place.
Our perfectionism also plays into our procrastination. We often wait until things are “just right” before we decide to act on them.
Guess what? Perfection is a myth. It doesn’t exist. If you’re waiting until things are “just right”, you may never get them done.
So rather than continuing to be masters of the art of procrastination, how do we begin to become get it done masters instead?
We start by giving up the idea of perfection and embracing the idea of good enough. We recognize that doing a job at all is better than not doing any of it. A poorly washed floor is still cleaner than a dirty one waiting for the perfect cleaning.
I have a friend named Carol who embraces this idea completely. Her whole philosophy is about just doing. Not done completely? Not done to perfection? Not even done very well? You still get an A for effort in her book.
Another thing that we need to do is to realize when we are putting something off, or procrastinating.
You may think that sounds obvious, but it really isn’t. We are all masters at fooling ourselves.
Think about something that you need to do but haven’t. Why haven’t you? I bet whatever reason you come up with is just an excuse in disguise.
Don’t have time? Really? Did you have time to go online today, visit FaceBook or Pinterest, or talk on the phone to a friend? Hmmm…..sounds like you had time after all. You just chose to use it differently.
It’s too big of a project. Break it up into pieces, just like eating an elephant.
It’s too hard. Can you at least try?
Maybe distractions – like the kids or the phone – are keeping you from what you need to do. Again, they’re an excuse. Unless your children are really small, you can ask them to give you some time to work on something. And really, I bet there are at least a few things that you’re putting off that could be done with an entire kindergarten class in attendance. OK, maybe it wouldn’t be so easy, but it could be done.
Do you have a dedicated time and place to do what needs to be done? If it’s mopping the kitchen floor, well obviously. But what if you’re putting off making a doctor’s appointment or checking your bills or updating your resume? Do you have a time and place for that?
Sure some things, like making a doctor’s appointment, can be done almost anywhere. But that’s the point. When they can be done almost anywhere, they rarely get done. It’s like those 10 second tasks we talked about earlier. They’re so quick and easy to do and yet they rarely get done.
So here’s my idea on how to be a get it done master instead of a master of procrastination:
Make a list of what needs to be done.
Set aside a time and place every day to work on just those things.
Get rid of the distractions.
Focus on the task at hand and work at least 15 minutes.
Note how much better it feels to actually get things done.