It’s so not as easy as “just do it”

Don’t you hate the “just”!

I often work with clients who know what they want to do but just don’t do it. These clients understand perfectly well how to plan and manage their time. They know what is important and what isn’t. Yet they get up day after day and fail to plan, fail to review, fail to take action, fail to achieve their goals. They know why and what they need to, yet do not change. With ADHD it is so much harder than “just do it”.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

ADHD clients suffer from “bird in the hand” thinking all the time. With ADHD myself, I get this only too well. The key problem is that people with ADHD are neurologically challenged in valuing “future reward”, over immediate stimulation.

Can’t see the reward

The ADHD brain has insufficient dopamine for communication with the frontal-lobes, home of our executive-functions. When the decision making apparatus of our brain, fails to properly consider future rewards, it’s because our executive functions can’t get through properly about the importance of our future.

Any task without immediate reward is more of a challenge – even highly beneficial and interesting tasks are easily avoided when more immediate tasks beckon. Of course the hardest tasks are both low interest, overwhelming and distant. To handle our faulty decision making apparatus and our low-activation, consider the following options:
  • reward the activity – as immediately as possible – so we can connect the effort with the reward
  • break everything up into small chunks – what’s next? Just do for twenty minutes
  • mix bad with good – easier to “do” less attractive tasks, mixed up with attractive
  • start with easy changes – to gain confidence and learn rewards from effecting change
  • fool yourself – by increasing urgency, priority to the task e.g. keep clocks 10 mins fast
  • remember it’s “not that bad” – on completing the “hated task”, realise it’s “not that bad”
  • make a habit – make a repeatable routine of the task so you don’t have to think about it
I work with clients keeping all these points in mind, whenever they are making changes and getting better at doing.
ADHD Coach, Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is an ADHD Coach, writer and founder of SimplyWellbeing. He has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of experience in coaching hundreds of ADHD executives, business professionals and creatives, and previously running a large ADHD support group and an ADHD diagnostic clinic. His business expertise comes from a twenty years career in software, from programming, through marketing, sales and running a few start-ups. His ADHD insight is personal, with decades understanding his own ADHD experience and in bringing up his ADHD daughter. He has published his writing primarily via this website, with interactive ADHD courses in development.


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