I write this post as I am supposed to be working on a different task (what else is new?). It is not easy to explain to someone non-ADHD how my ADHD brain works. They just don’t get it:
“What do you mean you can’t do it? Just sit down and do it.”
“Why are you thinking about that right now? You can do that later.”
“Sometimes we have to suck it up and do things we don’t enjoy.”
I appreciate you trying to understand, but you don’t. Believe me when I say that I cannot control what my mind hyperfocuses on. Hyperfocus is the ability to zero in intensely on an interesting project or activity for hours at a time. You may think that you would love to be able to stay committed to a task for hours. You could really make some progress. That is true, but the problem is when the hyperfocus is at the wrong time and on the wrong thing.
I clipped this bit from Tim Urban’s TED Talk on Procrastination. Tim comedically illustrates what it is like in our brain when trying to get work done. We have a troublesome monkey that takes control of the ship and steers us off course.
The only successful item in my toolbelt for getting back on track is what Tim calls, the Panic Monster.
For me the Panic Monster is triggered not by myself but by others. An email, a txt, a phone call…. anything with a sense of urgency and the monkey’s control is instantly broken, and I can then focus on what is needed of me.
I do have times when I hyperfocus on the right thing; I just can’t control when that happens, but if I could… I would be unstoppable.
I’m sorry if you were looking for a list of tips to overcome procrastination. I don’t have any. For some reason I just felt like taking time out of my day to write this post. Maybe you have a similar experience. I’d love to hear your story.