Getting to the Root of It

I have to be honest; I HATE writing blogs. I literally cringe when I have to write some sort of article. Writing has always been a struggle for me, and will avoid it at all costs if I can. However, give me a math problem, a presentation to create, or have me speak in front of a big room of people – done! But articulating my thoughts on paper with complete, coherent sentences is one of the HARDEST things for me to do. It takes a lot of hard thinking for me. It is typically something I procrastinate on. Even as I started writing this one, I noticed myself pushing away and was pulled toward working on a presentation because that was more enjoyable. And yes, rationally, I know it is part of my job, good to share thoughts and connect with other people, but it still doesn’t take away the strong discomfort of getting started and completing them. When I am done, I definitely feel accomplished and feel the dopamine reward, but it never seems to be enough to “power through it,” and the cycle begins again.

Getting to the Root of It

For the longest time, I didn’t know why I would put off writing for so long or avoid it at all costs – I just procrastinated. Then, I would get mad at myself and suffer through it, pulling all-nighters, taking a bad grade, asking for extension after extension as the shame continued to creep in. When I received my formal diagnosis of ADHD in my late 20s, it was helpful to know that ADHD contributed to my struggle, but I was still on this path of dread. Even now, I still feel it when it is time to write another paper/blog/essay/article/etc. The difference is I am more knowledgeable about how I can get non-preferred things done and how I can complete it easier with my unique ADHD brain and executive function challenges. I can honestly tell you that it wasn’t because I started working on it 2 weeks before the due date or because I got into the habit of it or waited for the “inspiration” to come – it was getting to the root of what exactly was so hard, identifying what makes things easier AND accepting that I work differently than others.

So, I started noticing what specific challenges arose with writing and starting this task. Some challenges included the process of getting my thoughts out of my head into sentences people would understand, staring at a blank page, trying to rely on working memory to create something from nothing, organizing my thoughts in a sequential manner, and putting too much pressure on myself.

Now, I could give you a list of things that I learned that helped my brain get started and made completing a hard task easier – but that’s my brain, not yours. This blog isn’t about my writing process or my strategies but an opportunity to share thoughts on how you can start and get through the “hard stuff”. Take a moment to think about the tasks on which you have been procrastinating. Think about what is really hard about the task at hand and ask yourself some of the following questions to be intentional about allowing yourself to learn what works for you:

  • Are your steps clear as to how to move forward?
    • Where can you get more information about it?
  • What is the best way to get ideas flowing for you?
    • Talking it out?
    • Brainstorming with no agenda?
    • Drawing a picture?
    • Collecting ideas?
    • Google search?
  • How do you complete things?
    • 24 hours before the deadline?
    • All at once?
    • Bits and pieces?
  • How can you align your schedule with what works best for you?
  • What can you do to take the pressure off?
  • How does your brain accomplish things when you are able to?
    • Randomly?
    • With an outline?
    • Starting with an easier task first?
  • How can you allow yourself to identify your natural flow and put in support to help you go along?
    • An accountability buddy?
    • Body doubling?
  • If it is boring, how can you make it more enjoyable?
    • Using a reward system?
    • Creating intentional breaks?
    • Getting creative with your mindset?
  • What support might you need to help you process and break through this?

Once you can identify specific barriers and factors that help your brain work more efficiently, I’m curious about what you’ll be able to accept and how your approach will change. Completing hard tasks is hard. Life can be hard, thinking is hard, and having ADHD is HARD. If you are looking for support to help you move forward, ADHD coaching might be a good fit for you. A couple of our upcoming programs to help you with the hard stuff is a 90-minute workshop on June 29th: Cleaning, Chores, and Organizing, Oh My! and my 3-week workshop Emotionally Resilient Children. At the Center, we have many other opportunities to support you, such as individual coaching, free body doubling, group coaching, and workshops for people of all ages and topics. Feel free to connect with me to learn more about how ADHD coaching and our services could help you.

Alicia Kohls, M. Ed., PCAC

Alicia Kohls, M.Ed, PCAC

ADHD Coach and Life Coach, Executive Skills Coach

Would you like to get our blog posts delivered right to your inbox each week?

Add your name and email to subscribe here: