It’s hard to believe June is almost half way over. The first day of Summer in North America officially begins Monday, June 20, 2016; the day is also known as Summer Solstice.
Summer is also a time of year where the beauty of mother nature and social gatherings provide excellent opportunities for procrastinators to avoid doing what must be done and other things that really need to be done.
It’s important to ask yourself; what do I need to get done this summer?
For some people with adult ADHD, leaving things until the last minute fuels energy and things get done fast! What these same people won’t often acknowledge is the amount of emotional and physical strain this causes. The adrenaline rush of trying to finish things quickly causes negative behaviour such as: impatience with people, being rude toward others, a lack of grace and forgiveness, misplaced expectations of others, disregard for rules, regulations, and policies, poor quality of work, and unrealistic expectations.
The physical effects of stress include headaches, stomach aches, increased heart beats, and tremors to name of few. Take some time to evaluate how you feel when you are in a rush to finish something? Is it a pleasant feeling or do you experience some of the physical symptoms listed?
Allowing for things to be completed in a timely manner reduces stress on yourself and creates less stress for the people who have to interact with you. Stress is never an individual experience; your stress affects other people you come in contact with. Fellow drivers, cashiers, call centre workers, co-workers, family, friends, and all sorts of strangers are affected by the stress of you waiting until the last minute to get your stuff done.
This might sound like blame and shame to certain people reading this, but it is not my goal to make you feel this way; this is simply the reality of how ADHD procrastination affects people emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
There are plenty of occasions when I have sat at my desk, bitter and annoyed at being indoors while the summer sun along with the fresh smell of the outdoors call my name. I’ve had to silence the call to procrastinate in mother nature in order to sit in front of my computer and finish the work that others are depending on me to complete. I’d rather stay at a weekend B.B.Q. for 5 hours and enjoy myself instead of being responsible by staying only 3 hours and heading home to finish the rest of my required reading.
I’d much rather be out every night of the week on a patio with friends and acquaintances, but I know that too much socializing means I am avoiding necessary tasks.
It is difficult, but even those of us with adult ADHD can learn to reduce and control the amount of time we spend procrastinating. It takes time and if we are willing to invest in learning how to avoid this habit, we will be better off for having done so. You will see an increase in the output of your work, you’ll be less stressed, and you will become more dependable.
During the process be kind to yourself and trust that your habit of procrastination can change. This can only happen if you believe in yourself along the way. God believes in you, so don’t be afraid to believe in yourself. When you struggle with these changes God is there with you, cheering you on, encouraging you and loving you.
Below are some things to consider for summer. I encourage you to make your own list and summer plan for getting things done in a timely and organized manner. A list and system that works for you is always the best.
Registering your children for summer camps
Registering your children for summer out of school care
Purchasing new clothes and supplies for children returning to school in the Fall
Register for group sports; however, be honest with yourself regarding how much time you have and are willing to give to the group. If this is something you are only sort-of, kind-of committed to, then don’t register. If you are only somewhat committed then consider being a spare or fill-in for a team; this way you won’t have to make a regular commitment.
Purchase required items for said sport
Make a schedule for training and stick to it. Place this schedule in your smartphone along with alarms for reminders and a paper schedule in a place where you and others will see it.
Plan times for grocery shopping and meal prep. Choose regular and consistent times; you are more likely to stick with it (e.g. Do your grocery shopping every Sunday evening at 7pm and your food prep every Monday evening at 6:30pm). Overtime this will become a regular routine for you and you won’t be filling those two time slots with random things to do (or not do).
Plan for intentional study time and time for completing any course projects
Schedule time for rest and socializing; stick to those times in order to maintain balance and not give into procrastination
Decide where you are going to study (at home, at school, at a library, at a café). Be sure it is a place and space where you will not be interrupted and tempted to do things other than course work
What’s the temperature like at work? If the temperature is making you uncomfortable, this can easily lead to procrastination (increased smoke breaks, day dreaming, avoiding unpleasant tasks, etc.) Is it too cold or too hot during the summer? If it’s too hot and the air-conditioning is not enough, then consider bringing your own fan to work. If it’s too cold bring a sweater to work, leave an extra sweater at work for those times when the air-conditioner is too cool.
Hydration: Are you drinking enough water? Bring your own water bottle to work or store bags of ice cubes in the staff freezer to help keep you hydrated and cool during the hottest days at work.
Staff team building activities: Do you have the option to say “No” without coming off as being anti-social, or a non-team player? If you are free to say “no” without consequence, then do so if you know that hanging out with your co-workers after work on a patio or playing softball on the company sports team will lead to procrastinating on things that you need to tend to at home or elsewhere.
Be careful how you spend: Sunny skies often lead to outdoor lunches with co-workers. It’s tempting to want to walk to a nearby restaurant or food establishment, but after doing this a few times a week you will quickly see less money in your pockets and your bank account. Limit how many times per week you will go for lunch with co-workers. To avoid temptation, be sure to have a packed lunch with you. If you are good at forgetting to make a lunch, then try purchasing frozen lunch meals and stick them in the fridge or freezer at work a few days in advance (e.g. Stick 3-5 frozen lunches in the freezer or fridge at work on a Monday).
Whatever it is you need to tend to during the summer months; do your best not to give into procrastination. Plan ahead, and be prepared.
Below are links to further reading material and resources on procrastination