Four Tips for Overcoming Procrastination Habits With ADHD

The Five-Minute Rule

This is also a small one but it is one of the best ‘tricks’ I have learned; I have a five-minute rule.

Now, this may seem very silly to anyone else, but I know when I sit down to work realistically it could take me hours, but in my head, I have a five-minute rule. I will work for just five minutes and then I can take a break to have a little treat. I am British and it’s probably a cliche but I do like my tea, so that is the reward I give myself.

The great thing is with the idea removed from my head that I will be stuck at the computer for hours, I become much more productive. I know that I just need to do five minutes., then take a break, then do five minutes more. However, I find I glance up at the clock and realize I have been writing for an hour… sometimes more!

I do always stop and have that break and that cup of tea though. I think the main thing I am learning is to be a little bit more optimistic and to not force myself to sit. If I want to move, I know I can in just five minutes.

Turn It Off

Now for a big one – the World Wide Web, or the Ultimate Distraction, as I like to call it.

We have brains that would have been brilliant in the Stone Age. If all we had to do every day was to hunt and gather, people with ADHD would be incredibly successful. But take that ADHD person and sit them at a desk, and ask them to focus for hours, to sit still and stay in the same place. No chatting, just sitting and concentrating. What’s going to happen? I can tell you what. The internet!


We live in the worst possible situation for ADHD – we have stimulation available 24/7. It is all readily accessible; from our desks, from our phones, at home on our computers. There are a billion things to distract us and a billion more things we can convince ourselves are worth looking at.

I know the idea may be terrifying, but turn it off. There, I said it. I know, it’s crazy, but it really does help. When I first did it, I had real anxiety… I thought I might miss a very important email, or not know what a friend was having for lunch because I’d miss the Facebook post. This does sound ridiculous when you write it down, doesn’t it?

Try Medication

I used to feel like my head was full of ‘fireworks’ ideas and thoughts firing in a million different directions. Trying to focus on one idea or one job just seemed to be an impossibility.

Taking Concerta XL for the first time was a revelation. For the first time ever I had a calmness in my brain I had never experienced before. No medication is a ‘magic fix,’ but for me, it has really helped me to start to make some changes.

I think the most important thing is to make changes slowly. You cannot change your whole lifetime of experience in one day, or in one way. You have lived a certain way and found ways to deal with the challenges that ADHD has sometimes thrown at you, and you will get through procrastination, too.

Our brains may be built a little differently, some of us may need to take medication, but it’s important to remember there are positives of ADHD, too. You know the ‘chatty’ person who’s the life of every part you go to? They probably have ADHD.

We don’t have a condition that is visible, it is not something other people can see, which sometimes makes it harder for people to understand. Life is a very long journey, but if you can just keep placing one foot in front of the other, you are getting somewhere. You don’t need to know where the journey will end, but the beginning is a good place to start.

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Heidi HowarthHeidi Howarth

Heidi was diagnosed with adult ADHD at the age of 43. She writes picture books for children, which her husband illustrates. She is currently working on book in the science fiction/fantasy genre for young adults.

Oct 23, 2018
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