“Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” – says the ADHD brain. When you have ADHD getting started on homework or sitting down to study can be hard - really hard. Many teens with ADHD feel like their brain struggles to gear up and focus on the assignment. Others feel so overwhelmed by the essay, project, or upcoming test that they don’t know where to start. Some know where to begin, but put off getting started because they worry that they won’t be able to do the assignment well enough to meet their high standards. With all of these negative feelings coming up, the natural reaction is to avoid the assignment, project, or upcoming test all together. This avoidance strategy works initially. For a while you do feel much less anxious and less stressed, but before you know it you’re in trouble. The test is in an hour and you haven’t studied, or the big project is due tomorrow and you haven’t gotten started. Your stress and anxiety skyrocket. Even if you do make the deadline, it’s only after pulling an all-nighter or handing in work that you know isn’t your best. You promise yourself that you won’t procrastinate again, but within just a few days you’re back in the same spot.
Everyone procrastinates sometimes. It’s human nature. But when you procrastinate so often that it prevents you from reaching your full potential and adds stress and anxiety to your life, then it’s a problem. You’re not alone. Most people with ADHD (and many people without ADHD) struggle with procrastination. The good news is that you can break the procrastination cycle with two steps: first identify the ADHD tendencies that cause you to procrastinate and then make some relatively simple changes that will help you overcome these challenges.
Common ADHD tendencies that lead to procrastination are listed below. Think about which of these apply to you - for some people it may be all five and for others it may be just one or two.
Did you see yourself in any of these tendencies? Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings over the next few days as you get started on assignments or procrastinate instead of getting work done. See if you notice any other tendencies popping up. Once you’ve identified your own patterns you’ll be ready to take action and make some changes. In my next post I discuss some simple steps that will help you stop procrastinating so you can turn in assignments on time, with less stress, and earn better grades!
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only.