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ep.23: Get Things Started! Task Initiation

Ever feel like you're stuck in a loop, unable to initiate tasks, especially the mundane ones? You're not alone. As your ADHD Coach, I am here to guide you through the labyrinth of task initiation.

Discover how the inability to start tasks, whether it's simple chores or complex projects, can impact those living with ADHD. Let's unfold some powerful strategies to overcome this hurdle together.

So, tune in, gather some practical tips and resources, and let's make your journey with ADHD a little smoother.

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

What you'll learn:

  • The importance of task initiation as an executive function skill

  • Why task initiation can be challenging for individuals living with ADHD

  •  Practical strategies to make starting tasks less daunting

  • Tips and resources to help improve task initiation skills

 "Even if you don't do the task right then, you've started pairing the task with more positive feelings, which will make you feel better about it when you do it."

Useful links mentioned:

Listen to the Episode:

Or watch the video on Youtube

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.

Hi, welcome back. So, this week we are talking about task initiation. It's that point where you just can't get yourself to get started on something. Sometimes that looks like laying on the couch, sometimes that looks like not getting out of bed, sometimes it looks like scrolling on the phone. But you know you need to start this task and you just can't make yourself do it. That is being week and task initiation. 

This week, the freebie is my top four ways to get started resource list and it has in there the links that you need. I will talk about some of the things here. Between the blog and this video and that resource list, you will have all the ways that I work with my clients to help them learn to get started on things. 

If you're new here, I'm Mande John. I'm a coach for adults with ADHD or people that deal with ADHD-like symptoms. I'm the founder of Learn to Thrive with ADHD. Here on this channel, I share information about ADHD each week and what has helped myself and my clients, and I like to say I make your life easier, so let's get to it. 

This week we are talking about the executive function of task initiation. That means the skill of getting started. If you struggle to do things that are boring, seem like they might be hard or you just aren't interested in, you might be weak in this skill. Now, this is not just for people with ADHD. Anyone can be weak in executive function skills for various reasons, and we can build up these skills as well. 

These skills are what help you get through life smoothly. The tasks you struggle with will be different for everyone, but some common ones are studying, tasks at work, dishes, laundry, cleaning in general, cleaning out a garage or a room. So, you might say, yeah, no one wants to do these things. 

But for someone with ADHD, it takes much more mental and physical energy to get started on tasks like these than it does for a neurotypical person. Neurotypical people are thinking about the results they'll get at the end of the task. They aren't stewing on getting started on the task. 

The great news is that there are things that you can do to get started, and some of them are kind of sneaky. Let's talk about a few of these. Pair it with something interesting YouTube video, listening to a podcast or an audio book while you're folding laundry, for example. Add a reward at the end. If you're someone with ADHD, you're not consciously thinking of the task being completed as the reward. 

You might not want to do the task, but you want the reward. Make it a game. Race a timer. How much can you get done in a room in 10 minutes? How much work can you get done in 15 minutes? That kind of thing money double. 

I did a video on that that I will add at the end here. That is where you make an appointment with another human being to show up and to do the task. Break it down, pick a small portion of the task. If you are trying to get dishes out of a sink or a room clean or something like that, it might be just cleaning the cups first or picking the clothes up in the bedroom. That kind of thing. There are many more, but I wanted to try for a shorter video. 

One thing I'll add from a mind management perspective is notice what you were thinking about the task. Get it down. If you can, don't censor your thoughts, just write down all the thoughts you're thinking. You might find that you're thinking some pretty negative things about that task or about doing that task, and that might be helpful to you. Are you thinking it will take forever? Are you thinking it's too hard? Are you thinking I can't do it? 

Are you thinking I hate doing that? These thoughts pair negative emotions with that task. When you feel negative emotion every time you think about the task, it's much harder to do that thing. How can you lighten up your thinking around the task? I'll offer you some thoughts. I only have to do it for 15 minutes and then I can stop if I want. 

It's not easy, but I'm capable. I can do it. It's not my favorite thing, but I'll make it fun, even if you don't do the task. Right then you've started pairing the task with more positive feelings, which will make you feel better about it when you do it. 

If you want to go deeper on the subject, you can check out the blog. There will be a link in the description. Don't forget the free resource list, the four ways to get started and subscribe if you haven't already. I'll 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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