Maya Explores Overcoming ADHD Procrastination
Hi, it’s Dana. Before you read Maya’s thoughts about overcoming ADHD procrastination, I must share a little behind the curtain secret. Not to make fun of Maya. Maya is smart, wildly creative and dedicated. I would never make fun of her. But, you can learn from her classic ADHD actions.
Maya normally listens to the ADHD Success Club recordings by Friday night and writes her Maya’s Journey to Success blog on the weekend. Saturday though, Maya fell off the rails.
Here’s what unfolded. Saturday morning Maya texted me a song she had written about ADHD and procrastination. Was she supposed to be a Saturday song-writer? Noooo….she was supposed to be grading the papers of her 8th-grade students.
Maya procrastinated by writing a darling song about procrastination. Then she procrastinated even more by texting me said darling song. She also posted it on the ADHD Success Club secret Facebook group.
Here’s more classic ADHD – Sunday morning Maya texted me to renegotiate her blog post commitment. We with ADHD are experts at renegotiation when we don’t keep our commitments. We don’t even realize we’re doing it.
Essentially Maya asked if instead of writing a blog about what she learned this week in the Success Club about overcoming ADHD procrastination, she wanted me to post the song she wrote when she was procrastinating.
Anyway, read Maya’s experience below….
Maya Ponders Overcoming ADHD Procrastination
This week’s ADHD Success Club module focused on overcoming ADHD procrastination. While I did the easy physical part of the homework by posting Dana’s Procrastination Zapper questions, I avoided taking small steps to complete the real work of overcoming procrastination.
I procrastinated on overcoming ADHD procrastination. I couldn’t identify the internal thoughts getting in my way, so I stopped and shut down from doing the real work I needed to do. Dana shared how her whiny toddler voice of “I don’t wanna” tries to block her productivity. All week I tried to identify what gets in the way, but I couldn’t figure out what thoughts continually call me away from prioritization and direct me towards ADHD procrastination.
After listening to this week’s coaching call, I found myself in a moment keenly aware that I was procrastinating yet still hyper-focusing on the non-essential task by supplanting what needed to be done right away with an unimportant task. I had given myself two tasks to complete before class began that day. After making copies, I supplanted my second task by re-organizing a bookshelf with student books on it. As I was organizing the shelves, I chuckled to myself totally aware that what I was doing wasn’t a priority. I knew I was avoiding the cumbersome task of data collection and analysis. Later I felt the consequence as I found myself scrambling because I had planned to use the data for instruction.
I kept working on an unimportant task rationalizing that I started the task, so I needed to finish it. Also, I knew I couldn’t look at that shelf like that and that district visitors would be in my room the following week. Rationalizing putting NEXT WEEK before my NEXT CLASS is clearly an example of how I talk myself out of doing what needs to be done by working on something else.
Clearly organizing books on a shelf is a simple unambiguous physical task whereas organizing data for 120+ students in various areas creates anxiety for me, but my students are CLEARLY my priority. Even if I feel like I know what my students need and perhaps even resent documenting everything on a spreadsheet, I know that collecting and organizing the data helps me better meet my students’ needs as well as meet my school’s expectations.
In a moment, I renegotiate my priorities and rationalize my decisions. This is what my former boss called making excuses. While I have learned to not make excuses out loud, the inner voice of rationalization still often misdirects my actions. And that may be the root cause of my ADHD procrastination. In all my busyness, I am getting things done, but I am getting the wrong things done.
Renegotiating the blogging task this week, I avoided the work I needed to do in the area of overcoming ADHD procrastination. I let myself believe that the words I would write would make me more productive, help me overcome procrastination, and put a positive spin on ADHD. I rationalized. I renegotiated. I regressed.
All this comes at the expense of getting the right things done and leads to inefficiency and busyness. I have a lot of ideas, but I can’t follow them all. I have to direct the right thoughts into action. Today I woke up thinking about how my song probably would not fit the mold of what I’m supposed to be blogging for Dana this week. Still, though, I asked Dana about my blog of the week, “Does it have to be prose?”
Her response was, “Prose, please. The song is great fun, but it was procrastination at its best….Very shiny. Wildly creative. But not what you needed to get done.” Then, she went on to say something about reining in my creativity.
I reined in my creativity today by making Dana’s techniques concrete and visible in working with my nine-year-old daughter to clean her room. Over my daughter’s desk, I wrote the steps for zapping procrastination. She and I talked through the process and filled out a plan on her dry erase board. Then, she got distracted because she wanted to listen to music on my headphones, she wanted to try on the I don’t wanna voice of procrastination.
Eventually, together we went through the zapping process. As I helped my daughter overcome ADHD procrastination by applying the procrastination zapper and developing other skills learned in the ADHD Success Club, I was able to see how these simple tools will create clarity in what targets I am setting for myself as I try and develop a clear trajectory to reach my prioritized targets.