Updated: Mar 1
Don’t overload yourself and risk procrastinating, instead use our free download to prepare yourself kindly but thoroughly for your next unappealing task.
According to Wikipedia, Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so.
Most people procrastinate.
However, those with ADHD are more likely to make a habit of it because the pre-frontal cortex, the area in the brain where planning, goal-setting and self-monitoring take place is subject to sub-optimal messaging by neuro-transmitters. We are also prone to act impulsively, so when feelings of overwhelm, confusion, boredom, anxiety, and self-doubt arise, we can find it hard to pause and resist distractions which give us a short-term feeling of pleasure or dopamine ‘hit’.
In their paper, Procrastination and the Priority of Short-Term Mood Regulation: Consequences for Future Self*, Dr. Fuschia Sirois, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sheffield and Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa explain that procrastination is a reaction to uncomfortable emotions.
It’s easy to see how [Procrastination] becomes a habit, says Dr. Sirois, “you’ve been rewarded for procrastinating, and we know from basic behaviourism that when we’re rewarded for something, we tend to do it again. This is precisely why procrastination tends not to be a one-off behaviour, but a cycle, one that easily becomes a chronic habit”
The procrastination habit loop
She added: “People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.” Dr Pychyl agrees. “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem”
This point is particularly relevant for us because, according to Additude magazine, People with ADHD feel emotions more intensely than do people without the condition* It is the limbic system which is responsible for triggering the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is evident in procrastination, and neuroscience shows that brain structures which make up the limbic system are often smaller in the ADHD brain*.
So it’s going to be tough overcoming the temptation to procrastinate habitually, but ADHDers are known for their creativity, compassion and energy.
This calls for some radical re-framing!
You might find self-help books are useful here, but in all honestly, when we are screaming inside “I don’t want to!!!...” what we really need is someone we trust to take us by the hand and gently talk us through the task ahead.
The Spoonful of Sugar Procrastination-zapper helps us become that person. Take a look. By gently preparing the ground in good time before any unappealing task we give ourselves the best possible chance of success. Crucially for the ADHD brain, it also works because by the time we settle to the task, our Executive Function isn’t overloaded with confusion and questions but clear and able to work.
Please download and print the Procrastination-zapper, follow it, and enjoy the huge difference it will make.
Time’s up, procrastinated tasks! You can run, but you can’t hide. You’re about to be very gently zapped!
Published Winter 2022
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* Research into Procrastination becoming a habit
* Video from Additude Magazine on Emotional regulation in the ADHD brain:
* Brain areas in ADHD brain
Enormous thanks for inspiration to:
Emma Slade https://emmaslade.com
Laurie Dupar, founder of https://www.iactcenter.com/