Unfortunately, adults and children with ADHD are often labeled as unmotivated, lazy, or even apathetic. These negative labels are unfair and hurtful. Instead of easy laziness or a lack of motivation, this immobility or sluggishness often reflects the impairments in executive function that can be associated with ADHD.
Executive function deficits affect a person’s capability to get started, organize, and sustain effort on tasks. The individual may even experience a sense of paralysis associated with a task or project—wanting to get started, but not capable to make progress forward in any manner.
This sense of paralysis can quickly lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, procrastination, and avoidance, and ultimately results in problems with productivity. It can also result in negative reactions from others who become confused and frustrated by the inconsistencies in the person with ADHD who is capable to perform well when the task is stimulating and interesting or when it is novel and exciting but does not perform as well when the task is tedious or repetitive.
Even if the person is capable to begin the task, they may have great difficulty staying alert and persisting in this effort. Though they may know what they need to do to get things completed, as hard as they try, they just can’t.
First of all, it is significant to actively engage in treatment for ADHD. Connect with a doctor experienced in treating ADHD, and openly and regularly communicate with him or her about your (or your child’s) symptoms.
ADHD Coping Strategies
- Set smaller goals
- Incorporate physical movement into your day
- Break down projects into smaller, more manageable chunks
- Reward yourself (or your child) more immediately for little steps taken towards reaching goals
- Set aside a short, less overwhelming time period (for example, 10 or 15 minutes) to commit to working on the activity that has you feeling stuck