Adults with ADHD struggle chronically with procrastination.
You know you should be writing your next article or coming up with social media posts. You should be recording the first few episodes of your podcast or working on your marketing strategy. But you’re not doing these tasks.
In fact, you find a million reasons not to do the things that need doing. You tell yourself you’ll do it later, and then later becomes tomorrow. You decide that now’s the perfect time to have an inbox clearout or you start doing something else that you don’t really need to do right now.
Without even thinking about the time, the working day has ended. You remember you still haven’t actually worked on the task that’s nagging at you, even when you’ve written reminders for yourself so you don’t forget to do it. You put it at the top of your to-do list for the next day, but it starts again.
Avoiding tasks you should do is known as procrastination. Procrastination isn’t exclusive to ADHDers, but it’s something that cripples us and can kill your business. Most entrepreneurs think of procrastination as a bad thing. You might believe that, too. And sometimes you just need to work on different ways to manage your procrastination to keep it to a minimum. But sometimes procrastination can actually be a valuable warning sign.
If you see a ‘check engine’ light on your car dashboard you take it to a mechanic, or at least that’s what you should do. Most of us with ADHD will plan on going to the mechanic but put it off and keep driving until the car stops working, and then it’s definitely time to see a mechanic.
That warning on your dashboard is telling you to slow down and get your car looked at. And that’s what you should do with procrastination. When you realise you’re procrastinating you need to slow down and look at what’s really holding you back. Is it just your ADHD or is it something else?
Procrastination is an inner resistance. It’s a sign that your subconscious is speaking and you need to listen.
Often, procrastination is telling you one of these four things:
1: You need to change direction.
Maybe you originally started your business so you could teach entrepreneurs and business owners how to build their websites or how to use social media for their businesses. But you’ve started to realise that you’re actually great at showing them how to get more customers and make more sales from their websites.
Narrowing down your offering and changing what you do will change your life and how you work. Finding a niche offering that you truly enjoy and that you’re good at doesn’t have to come to you overnight either, it can take time.
2: Your project or client isn’t a good fit.
Maybe you took on this project because you needed the money. Maybe you took on a client that doesn’t respect your processes or how you work. Now you find yourself procrastinating and wondering why you can’t get the work finished.
That’s where discovery meetings can help. You don’t need to meet every potential client in person either, and you don’t need to give away your time for free. Paid discovery meetings are valuable for you and the client because you’ll work out whether you’re a good fit for each other and they’ll walk off with a better idea of what they need and how they’ll achieve it.
3: Your work doesn’t challenges you.
Your ADHD mind needs to be stimulated. We can’t get excited about mundane work that doesn’t make us think. When you first started your business you loved the challenge but now, that’s changed. You’ve been doing one thing for so long that the excitement has gone and you’re realising that you’re bored with your current projects.
Consider outsourcing repetitive tasks so you can spend more time on the things that spark your creativity.
4: You’re afraid of success or failure.
At the root of procrastination, some solopreneurs and small business owners discover that they’re afraid of success or failure. That’s because success and failure represent change and change feels scary. You worry that if you succeed, you won’t be able to continue your success. You worry that if you fail, you’ll be embarrassed and disappointed.
When you’re tempted to procrastinate on a project, don’t give into the urge and fill the rest of your time with distracting activities.
Instead, try to find a quiet place where you can journal or brainstorm ideas. Give yourself permission to listen to your subconscious mind as your hand moves across the page. You’ll be surprised at how clearly you can hear your subconscious when you pause to listen.