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Why Getting Started is Difficult with ADHD (and what you can do about it)

Updated: Jan 9


Man is frustrated because he can't start his work

*Author’s note: This article is part one of my “Making it Easier to Get Started” series.


One of the most significant challenges that my clients have is their never-ending battle to begin important tasks. They want to run away as far as they can to another land and do just about anything else instead!


If you have ADHD like I do, you fully understand that procrastination takes an inherent toll on us. It causes us anxiety, interferes with sleep, and ultimately impacts self-confidence.


Why do our ADHD brains find it impossible to start?

Because the task:

  • Seems too complicated or confusing

  • Feels time-consuming

  • Is boring

Additionally, we can’t start because we are:

  • Not in the right mood

  • Distracted by other things we need to do

  • Putting too much pressure on perfection

Does this resonate with you? If so, it’s time to break free from those shackles holding you back and learn some of my favorite tricks for igniting motivation and getting the ball rolling!


I am going to share 5 easy tips to help you get into action with tedious paperwork, projects, homework, and whatever else is making you feel stuck. When we learn how to get a jump start on the boring stuff, it helps us feel more productive and accomplished.


5 tips to make it easier to get started


1. Set a date.

First, look at your calendar and pick a time to begin. Decision-making is a common challenge. Don’t let the question “When am I going to start this thing?” be your main obstacle.


2. Break it down.

Instead of having a mindset of doing it all at once, break it into bite-sized pieces — this feels more manageable and will help to reduce feelings of overwhelm.


3. Calendarize.

Schedule each small step of the task for a different day on your calendar. Knowing that you are on schedule will allow you to focus on that day and not worry about the rest. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish, moving it to the next day is perfectly okay.


4. Work in Sprints.

Grab a timer and set it for 30 minutes. Knowing you will work for only a short, finite period takes the pressure off and helps get the ball rolling. Once we have gotten over the hurdle of starting, our ADHD brains typically keep working well after 30 minutes.


5. Buddy up.

Enlist a body double to help you activate. Body doubling is when another person does their work beside you quietly (This can be done in person, via online video, or by telephone). Having another person there makes starting a task more interesting. ”Interest” engages our ADHD brains, and is a proven way to help us motivate.


checked box next to "NOW" on a notebook

Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate that you are taking action --- big win! Experimenting with strategies is one of the best ways to learn about your unique brain and how you can move forward with your goals.


Stay tuned for part 2 of my “Making it Easier to Get Started” series!


What are your thoughts on this topic? I'd love to know. Shoot me an email at Julie@jadhdcoach.com


All my best always,

Julie


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