ADHD and procrastination often go hand in hand. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and is a condition where someone has difficulty with concentration, organization, and planning. Someone with procrastination, delays tasks or obligations.
In this article, you will read why someone with ADHD procrastinates, what happens in your brain, and what you can do about it. Procrastination is not something that an adult with ADHD needs to have.
ADD/ADHD: easily distracted and overwhelmed
People with ADD or ADHD (we prefer to call this ‘Wandering Minds') often have difficulty starting and completing tasks, because they get easily distracted or because they perceive the task as overwhelming. This can lead to postponing these tasks, which can lead to stress and feelings of guilt. This can create a vicious circle, because when we experience stress or feelings of guilt, it becomes even more difficult to start a task. Later in this article, you will read about what happens in the ADHD brain when you procrastinate. You will see that you are not alone, that there can be a physical cause and that you do not have to be ashamed!
Do only people with ADHD deal with procrastination?
Almost everyone who has ADD or ADHD is familiar with procrastination. However, procrastination is not specific to people with ADHD. Anyone can have it, although people with ADHD are more likely to procrastinate. Procrastination occurs in people of all ages and backgrounds. Students, employees, self-employed people, entrepreneurs: everyone can have procrastination. That's why our online course on procrastination is so popular. You're not the only one struggling with procrastination, so you don't have to be ashamed.
Some people are more susceptible to procrastination than others, and there are different reasons why people procrastinate. This can be due to a lack of motivation, perfectionism, fear of failure, or a lack of organization and time management skills.
Why do adults with ADD experience procrastination?
People with ADD often have difficulty focusing on tasks and planning their time. This can lead to procrastination because they perceive the task as overwhelming or because they get easily distracted. Additionally, having ADD can also lead to a lack of motivation, which can also contribute to procrastination. Furthermore, having ADD can also be accompanied by depression or anxiety, which can also lead to procrastination. People with a Wandering Mind can feel discouraged and have trouble taking the first step to start a task.
In general, having ADD can lead to several barriers that can contribute to procrastination, such as difficulty with concentration, organization, planning and motivation. This is due to the functioning of the ADHD/ADD brain. It is important to recognize these barriers and look for ways to deal with them, as procrastination can significantly hinder your life.
Negative consequences of procrastination
Procrastination can have a lot of negative consequences in different areas of life. The main and most well-known effects of procrastination are:
- Stress: Procrastination can lead to stress and anxiety, especially as the deadline approaches.
- Lower productivity: Due to procrastination, it may be difficult to complete tasks efficiently, which reduces productivity.
- Poor performance: Procrastination can lead to poor performance in school or work, as there is less time to prepare or complete tasks.
- Decreased health: Stress, anxiety, and poor performance can lead to poor health, such as insomnia, depression, and physical complaints.
- Poor relationships: Procrastination can lead to tensions in personal relationships, as others may feel impatient when appointments are not kept.
What happens in our brain when we procrastinate?
When we procrastinate, a number of things happen in our ADD or ADHD brain. One of the most important things is that there is a struggle between two parts of our brain: the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
- The prefrontal cortex is responsible for logical thinking and planning. It helps us set goals and make a plan to achieve these goals. When we have to perform a task that we do not like or that we experience as difficult, the prefrontal cortex becomes more active, so that we can still complete the task.
- The amygdala is responsible for emotions and stress. When we experience a task as difficult or unpleasant, the amygdala also becomes more active. This can lead to anxiety and stress, causing us to want to procrastinate the task.
When the amygdala is more active than the prefrontal cortex, the tendency to procrastinate increases. This happens because the amygdala gives impulses to escape from the task rather than focusing on completing it. In general, a struggle arises between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala when we procrastinate. The prefrontal cortex tries to encourage us to perform the task, while the amygdala urges us to escape from it.
The brain of someone with ADD or ADHD: a procrastination brain?
Research has been done on the brain activity of people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), which shows that there are abnormalities in the functioning of certain brain regions. In people with ADHD, there is often a decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for attention, planning, and task execution. On the other hand, there is an increased activity in the amygdala, a brain structure involved in emotion regulation and anxiety. This suggests that people with ADHD have difficulty regulating emotions and anxiety, which can contribute to their attention deficit and impulsivity. And of course, to procrastination.
What can you do about procrastination?
If you as an ADHD'er or ADD'er have trouble with procrastination, you can try different things. To start, you can of course follow our low-threshold course on procrastination, where you will immediately achieve successes! But you can also try things yourself.
First of all, it is important to bring good organization into the daily routine. Make a list of tasks that need to be done and try to divide these tasks into small pieces. This can help make the task less overwhelming.
Minimize distraction & find a buddy
Secondly, it can help to minimize distraction. This can be done by, for example, turning off the phone or cleaning up the work area.
Thirdly, it can help to work with a buddy. This can be someone who helps you stay on schedule and encourages you to complete your tasks.
Seek help for procrastination
Fourthly, it can help to seek therapeutic help. This can help you better understand the conditions and deal with the symptoms.
In general, it can help to accept the conditions and recognize that it is okay to ask for help. By using the right tools and support, people with ADD and procrastination can achieve their goals and be successful in their daily lives.
Overcoming procrastination as an adult with ADD or ADHD
There are a number of things that a person with ADD can do to overcome procrastination. A few tips:
- Make a priority list: Make a list of tasks that need to be done and rank them by importance. This can help you work more focused and prevent feeling overwhelmed by a long list of tasks.
- Break tasks down into small steps: If a task seems big or complicated, break it down into smaller steps. This can help make the task less overwhelming and help you work more focused.
- Minimize distractions: Try to minimize distractions, for example by turning off your phone or cleaning up your workspace.
- Work with a buddy: Work together with someone who helps you stay on schedule and encourages you to finish your tasks.
- Seek professional help: Consider seeking professional help, such as a therapist or coach. This can help you better understand the condition and deal with the symptoms.
- Listen to your body: Try to listen to your body, recognize the moments when you are focused and try to make the most of these moments.
- Reward yourself: Reward yourself for completing a task, this can help maintain motivation.
Procrastination is not forever, if you do something about it It's important to recognize that overcoming procrastination is a process and that it takes time. It's also important to remember that accepting the condition and seeking help is important in the process.