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ep.12: Stopping Sneaky Procrastination

Ever found yourself cleaning the cat box when you should be studying? Or spent hours researching something unrelated when you were supposed to be working on a project? These are just some of the sneaky ways our brains trick us into procrastinating, especially when you're an adult dealing with ADHD.

But don't worry! In the episode, I present an action plan comprising practical strategies to break free from the clutches of sneaky procrastination. So, join me to uncover the hidden forms of procrastination and reclaim your time!

Click here to learn more about enrolling in The ADHD Academy!

What you'll learn:

  • The various hidden forms of procrastination

  • Helpful tools to better manage your tasks

  • Actionable strategies to overcome procrastination

  • How to identify your feelings when facing a task

"Perfectionism is the pursuit of flawlessness. The desire for perfect results can lead to procrastination, and the fear of not meeting those high standards prevents us from even starting the task altogether."

Useful links mentioned:

Listen to the Episode:

Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome to Learn to Thrive with ADHD. This is the podcast for adults with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. I'm your host, Coach Mande John. I'm here to make your life with ADHD easier. Let's get started.

Welcome to episode 12 Stopping Sneaky Procrastination. You may know that you procrastinate. But do you know the sneaky ways that you procrastinate, you might be shocked that you're doing some of these. Now, everyone procrastinates, but for those of us dealing with ADHD, it can be an even bigger problem. We have the added struggle to remain focused, manage time, stay organized, and this can all lead to delaying tasks anyway.

And increase our stress and frustration. And then to have this sneaky procrastination on top of it, it's a big problem. And, but we certainly can improve and catch our sneaky procrastination before it starts so that we can take back our time and stay focused on what we really want to be doing. How does sneaky procrastination show up for you?

See which of these procrastination traps you have fallen into. Productive procrastination. It's the illusion of achievement. This is when we're doing useful tasks like organizing email, reorganizing our workspace, tackling home projects that actually could wait, knocking off easy items on our to do list.

Just for a few examples, these things matter, but they can wait, and they help us avoid our top priority that is more important or pressing. I was working with a client that really wanted to work on home organization at specific times of the day. And when the time came, she found herself cleaning the toilet upstairs.

And she laughed when she realized that the toilet wasn't a priority 10 minutes before it was time to work on her project. And we all have things like that. I know when I was studying for coaching certification, even though I very much wanted to get certified and as a coach and I, I wanted to do studying when it came time to do it at the time, I said I would do it.

I really didn't want to do it. And I found myself cleaning the cat box, which is. The last thing I ever want to do, but that's just one of those productive procrastination things. Did it need done? Yes. Did it need done at the time I was supposed to be studying? No. So what things like that are coming up for you?

What about the research rabbit hole? Drowning in information in this modern age, we can know anything just by doing a simple search and we have the ability to search in our pockets at all times. And what we can do is start researching a topic and find it ourselves down a deep rabbit hole of unrelated articles, videos and websites.

This not only did rails or a focus, but also consumes valuable time that could be spent on tasks that matter right now. And how many times have you found yourself doing this, right? And that's one that really can sneak up on you. You just meant to look up that one thing. So that's one to really watch out for.

The social media scroll, the time thief, social media platforms are made to demand your time and attention, making it easy to fall into the trap of mindless scrolling. A quick check in can turn into a lengthy session, stealing precious hours from your day. This form of procrastination is particularly sneaky because it feels like a harmless break, but it can quickly spiral out of control.

Another one is constant message checking, and this is a false sense of urgency. Our inboxes have become a constant source of distraction. The urge to check for new messages, even those that aren't urgent, can create a false sense of urgency, diverting our focus from tasks that truly matter. When you make that text, DM, chat, or email a priority, you're giving up your priorities for other people's priorities.

Another is overloading with information, and that gets you an analysis paralysis. In the age of information overload, we can gather more and more data before starting a task. And this leads to a phenomenon called analysis paralysis, where we get stuck in a loop of gathering information without ever taking action.

The result is an ongoing delay in starting these essential tasks. Perfectionism paralysis, the pursuit of flawlessness. Striving for perfection can become a trap, especially for individuals with ADHD. The desire for perfect results can lead to procrastination and the fear of not meeting those high standards prevents us from even starting the task altogether.

It's the all or nothing mentality that hampers our progress. But done is better than perfect. So those are the problems. Let's talk about the solutions. First, I want to ask you a few questions. Are you clear on what you want out of each day, week, or month? If you aren't clear on your priorities, it's easier to fall victim to other people's.

Do you have somewhere you get your appointments, responsibilities, priorities, and goals out of your brain and somewhere where they can be reviewed often? Keeping everything in your head can be stressful and confusing, and it allows things to fall through the cracks. Are there fun things there? Things that make you happy or refuel you?

Or is it all work? It's only natural to procrastinate if you aren't kind to yourself and allowing yourself for some fun. Here's some tools you can use. Task chunking. Divide and conquer. Break your large tasks into small manageable steps. Completing these mini tasks not only feels good and moves us toward our goal, but often creates motivation since you're taking action.

Our ADHD brain loves the immediate rewards it gets for completing these small tasks. And this opposes the earlier example we were talking about, about completing the easier things on our to do list, because these small easy things are moving you towards your goals. Time blocking. This is a structured approach.

Sometimes structure and routine sound like a bad word if you have ADHD, but it's exactly what we need. Create a daily schedule designating time blocks to move forward on your top priorities. This will help you manage your time and make sure that there's time for what really matters to you. All of my clients that work with time blocking tend to go vague at first.

They just have a general idea of a project that they're working on. And what they soon find is the more specific they get, the more likely they are to do the task and do it effectively, not waste time trying to figure out what to do. So, if you're going to do time blocking, be very specific about what you're going to do at those times.

Prioritize to do lists, focus on what matters to do lists are helpful, but for individuals with ADHD, they can get stressful and overwhelming. Prioritization is key. Congratulations. First of all, for getting those things out of your head and onto paper, there are methods that can help you prioritize like the Eisenhower matrix to categorize tasks based on their urgency and importance.

I've created a tool that I use with my clients called the now and not now list. There'll be a link. To that specific YouTube video that explains to you exactly how to use this method. If you stress when you look at your list, then my method will really help with that. The two-minute rule, swift action for small tasks.

The two-minute rule suggests that if a task can be completed in under two minutes, do it immediately. This prevents minor tasks from piling up and becoming overwhelming, a common trigger for procrastination. The Pomodoro technique leverages hyper focus most people have heard of the Pomodoro technique. It involves working intensely for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break.

This works well with the ADHD brain's ability to hyper focus in short bursts, enhancing productivity while preventing burnout. Any timer will do, but I suggest avoiding using your phone as the distractions on there will eat up your precious break or make your break run longer. I love having a visual timer on my desk.

You can search those online to see those for yourself. There's lots of options. External reminders. Kickstart task initiation. Set alarms, notifications, or visual cues to start tasks. Sometimes we just forget, or we can fall into the trap of, I still have time, or I'll do it later. So, let's talk about the power of mindfulness of this check in with yourself.

Ask yourself some honest questions. How am I feeling when I face this task? Name that feeling. Why am I feeling this way? What would I need to feel to get started on this? What would I need to be thinking to feel that way? And make sure your answers are honest and true. This is awareness, not positive thinking or magical thinking.

Sometimes our best thought might be something like I'm willing to work on this for five minutes. Remember, you're wonderful just the way you are, you may just be falling into the habit of procrastination, especially the sneaky procrastination that can happen before you realize it. If you find yourself in sneaky procrastination, just redirect yourself and don't make it mean anything about your character.

Notice what you do get done. We ADHDers tend to focus on the things that we didn't do. Make it a practice to focus on what you did do a fun practice is to create a done list, crossing things off a to do list, although satisfying makes our brain tend to dismiss that as an accomplishment because it's crossed out.

And now in the past, celebrate your accomplishments for the day, review them with yourself or tell someone that will celebrate with you. The ADHD Academy is a perfect place to tell the community about your accomplishments and bring your challenges to coaching every day. Won't be perfect. And that's okay.

Remember you're building a skill of not procrastinating skill building as its ups and downs, but when you master it, it makes life so much easier. You've got this. See you next week.

Thank you for your time, and especially for your attention today. If you haven't looked into the ADHD Academy, you'll want to do that. This is my membership, with binge-able courses, weekly life coaching, new courses every month, a community of like-minded people and more.

Be sure to head over to to get the details.

See you next week.

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