What’s Your ADHD Procrastination Conversation?

by | Jul 14, 2016 | ADHD Productivity | 2 comments

ADHD Procrastination

Let’s drill deeper into ADHD procrastination. How you can build your awareness of when you’re procrastinating so you can get stuff done.

Last week we started with the foundation. How focusing on your frustration and shame doesn’t help. How you won’t stop procrastinating until you notice and challenge your little internal voices. You can read Stop Procrastinating with ADHD here. 

I call these internal voices ADHD procrastination conversations. They are expert cheerleaders for avoiding what you know you need to do.

5 Common ADHD Procrastination Conversations

Though there are different procrastination conversations, today we’ll keep it simple. We’ll focus on the five most common conversations about procrastination ADHD adults have.

1. “I Don’t Wanna” Procrastination

“I don’t wanna pick my clothes up off the floor.” “I don’t wanna hang up my wet towel.” I don’t wanna file those papers.”

I enjoy observing people and their habits. I see a huge difference between how ADHD adults and non-ADHD adults operate. People without ADHD seem to do things just because they need to. Amazing, right?!?

ADHD adults don’t do that. Somewhere along life’s path we decided that we don’t have to do things if we don’t want to. And, that idea shows up as the “I don’t wanna” procrastination conversation. You need a different approach if you want to get stuff done.

This is why noticing your ADHD procrastination conversations is essential. You have to hear the conversation before you can adjust your behavior.

I call the “I Don’t Wanna” procrastination conversation my mental toddler. She whines at me a lot. Why just this morning she tried to convince me to leave my dirty breakfast dishes in the sink. “I don’t wanna do those right now”, she whined. Fortunately, I’m on to her tone of voice and her games. I know how to step past my inner toddler. And, yes, she really does whine and say, “I don’t wanna.”

2. “I’ll Do it Later” Procrastination

“I’ll do it later”, is a classic cause of ADHD procrastination. One we fall for every time. A glance at the dirty dishes brings out an, “I’ll do it later.” Same with paying the bills, filling in our expense report, making the bed, or folding the laundry.

We sincerely believe we’re making the right choice when we say, “I’ll do it later.” We often don’t think of it as procrastination!

But it is. When you start to notice your internal conversations I’ll bet you’ll often hear, “I’ll do it later.”

3. “Where Do I Start?” Procrastination

Many adults with ADHD procrastinate when they don’t know where to start on something. “Where Do I Start”, is often caused by overwhelm. You might feel it more as a sense of confusion than hear it as a conversation.

Not knowing where to start can slow you down on all kinds of things. From clearing the dining room table, to packing for a vacation, to attacking a work project.

If this sound like you, focus on building clarity and skills. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Basic ADHD-friendly project planning skills of how to chunk something large into smaller pieces.

We’ve been working on these skills in the ADHD Success Club. I’m excited about the progress club members are making. They’re breaking through procrastination. Learning where to start projects along with ADHD organizing and time management skills.

4. “It’s Too hard To Do!” Procrastination

You’ll hear the “It’s Too Hard To Do” message when you’re up to a large task. Especially if it’s tedious and has lots of steps. Tasks like preparing your taxes, clearing office clutter, or finishing a big craft project.

People with ADHD like shiny. Interesting. We avoid boredom. I get it. But sometimes we have to do what needs doing. Even if we don’t think it’s interesting.

Avoiding what’s too hard to do is a vicious cycle. The more you procrastinate the bigger the job gets and the harder it gets.

5. “That’ll Take Forever” Procrastination

This is how our friend ADHD perfectionism often raises its lovely head. You avoid starting a task because you know trying to make it perfect will take forever.

Perfectionism is an interesting animal. Besides causing ADHD procrastination, perfectionism also makes everything take way longer than necessary.

I’ve written a couple of blogs to help ADHD perfectionists:

The ADHD Perfectionism Trap

An ADHD Perfectionist Case Study

The bottom line in ADHD Success? Break the chains of procrastination. Build awareness. Listen to your internal voices and don’t fall for their ploys. I’d love to know what you think about the five common ADHD procrastination conversations. Go ahead and post a comment below if you have something to add.


  1. Bernie Stewart

    I am a 69 y.o. man diagnosed 4 years ago with ADHD, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. It was liberating to find out why I had struggled all my life. A combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy helped me immensely. Unfortunately it took me along time to admit that I had mental illness. Once I accepted the reality and sought professional help the quality of life improved for me and those around me.

    • Dana Rayburn

      Good for you for admitting you needed help! I glad to hear your quality of life has improved.


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