"Why is it so hard for me to follow through? I want to feel organized, efficient, and capable of finishing the things I start!"
These are words I often hear from my clients who have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). They want to feel like they're living up to their potential and accomplishing what they are capable of. Having ADHD myself, I get it and can relate!
Several reasons contribute to this obstacle. It's important to understand that it's never about work ethic, self-discipline, or laziness. It's not about who you are personally, nor is it about one singular thing.
Common Obstacles in Our Way
They fall under two categories – Executive function skills and Internal patterns of thinking:
These are a set of skills–I list a handful of them below. They have been described as the "CEO of our brains," and they are essential to follow through. These skills are challenging for those with ADHD.
Here are a few examples of the challenges we have with them:
• Time blindness
We tend to have poor estimates of how long things will take, so we don't always give ourselves adequate time to work on tasks.
For the general population, it can be easier to shift from one task to another, but for those with ADHD, this can be incredibly difficult.
When something more exciting catches our attention, it overrides our intention to stick with the first task to completion.
When triggered, people with ADHD can experience intense emotions that can cause them to shift away from their goals.
Internal patterns of thinking
Those with ADHD tend to slip into ways of thinking that don't serve them, and they keep them from their goals.
Some examples of these thought patterns are:
Sometimes, it's impossible to work on the task at hand because we begin to think about all the other tasks we need to accomplish. Anxiety takes over and causes us to jump from task to task and not complete any of them.
We often try to overcompensate for past ADHD-related errors; this causes us to set unrealistic or impossible performance standards. By doing this, we are making it never perfect enough to be "finished" in our eyes.
Once we reach a step in the project that's not interesting to us, we can lose all motivation.
Your 6 Game-Changing Tips for Following Through
1. Pause and plan
Create time to pause and envision your project before you begin. Write down everything you need and the date you want to finish.
2. Have everything at your fingertips
Get everything you need for the project before you begin and set it all out in your workspace, enabling an easy workflow.
3. Break it down
Breaking the task into bite-sized steps helps make tasks feel more manageable. It sets the project up to not feel as intimidating or take a long time to complete.
4. Block out time
Look at your calendar and block out free time to take action on each step. If there's a due date, starting with the end and working backward will help keep the deadline foremost in your mind.
5. Set boundaries
Commit to your scheduled work time by letting everyone know you are unavailable. Put your phone away and hide all distractions to honor this period.
6. Stay connected to your goal
Keep a visual cue of the finished project in your workspace or a symbol reminding you why completing this project is meaningful. This is a powerful way to stay connected to your why–and reignite motivation toward your goals.
By experimenting with these strategies you have the ability to unlock the door to creating the positive change you want in your life.
It helps build confidence and feel more fulfilled when you're performing at your full potential. More success with follow-through means feeling more like the capable person you know you are!
You got this!
P.S. To learn how coaching helps those with ADHD live to their full potential and feel more fulfilled, click here for a FREE 30-minute coaching chat with Julie.
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