Management Tips

Manufactured Motivation: 5 ways to ‘Do It’ to do when you just ‘Can’t Do It’

by Carol Williams

There are always those tasks that we really don’t want to do.  But whereas most of us can see the benefit of completing these jobs and will therefore just “suck it up” and get the job done, for people with AD/HD, these tasks can become impossible to achieve.

AD/HD and manufactured motivation

In my last blog, we looked at how to motivate ourselves when willpower has taken a hike. For those with AD/HD, feeling bad about yourself and your abilities can manifest in a lack of motivation, making carrying out even simple tasks a painful experience. But there are ways to manufacture that motivation.

  1. Plan to do something that feels rewarding several times a day.  By making sure you have little successes every day, you’ll recharge your batteries for when you need them.
  2. Realize that you don’t have to do everything.  Give yourself permission to let go of what you don’t do well and let someone else do it who will enjoy it.
  3. Reframe tasks by asking yourself how you can complete them in a way that works for you.  Consider what might make it feel more worthwhile. Think – Rewards and Fun!

Of course, correct medication can help alleviate or minimize the effects of AD/HD and enable you to sustain focus on a task that is either overwhelming or boring.  Other ways that can help with de-motivation include exercise. The increased dopamine produced can help improve attention and focus.  Exercise also produces endorphins, the “feel good” chemical in the brain. With sleep disorders extremely common in AD/HD sufferers, a lack of good sleep can exacerbate any symptoms.  Try to maintain a good night-time routine and make the bedroom a relaxing place, free from visual distractions.

Practicing mindfulness can help with awareness of attention and with choosing appropriate actions. As a tool, mindfulness is always available and can be incorporated into daily activities easily. By noticing how you feel when undertaking various activities, you can effectively plan those that cause difficulty or demotivate you and plan a reward, for example around these. This doesn’t mean that you must practice mindfulness for hours at a time!  The key is to start small and build from maybe five or ten minutes a day to make it an attainable goal.

Finally, take advantage of the community surrounding you.  Ask others for help and even for accountability, to help you stick to your timetable and avoid procrastination.  If you lack organization, for example, a fresh set of eyes on a plan of action can help you iron out any blocks before you start.

See the Management Course for other great resources.

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