Many of my clients have been dealing with the effect of ADHD on motivation lately. Of course, it is a common problem as ADHD and a lack of motivation often go hand in hand. It’s a challenging issue obviously important to many of you, but there’s good news; there are many strategies to help overcome your challenges. I’ll be devoting several posts to it. Be sure to join us.
Lack of motivation is a common but erroneous complaint among ADHDers. As an ADHDer, when you face a boring task, your brain just doesn’t activate, so it’s difficult to take action. You turn the key to start your turbo brain and nothing happens.
If you were a motorcycle, you wouldn’t blame a lack of motivation; you wouldn’t say a motorcycle is lazy. Unfortunately, however, you blame yourself for this problem. But like a motorcycle, the problem is either a lack of battery power, spark plugs that aren’t firing or not enough fuel in your tank. Of course, other issues might exist but we’ll discuss these at another time.
Let’s stick with the motorcycle analogy for a moment, and see how you might deal with this issue. If your battery is low on power, maybe you’re not recharging your battery. Sleep deprivation (or too much sleep), little or no exercise, poor nourishment, and your mood all contribute to insufficient power in your battery.
Proper self-care is your first line of defense against motivation problems. Solving these issues is simple but not always easy. To get enough sleep, exercise and to eat well requires that you be organized enough to do so. If you aren’t (or don’t feel) organized enough to take care of yourself, along with handling work, family and so on, consider seeking help to get organized.
If you’re well-rested, well-fed and getting enough exercise, then what appears as a lack of motivation is often the result of a lack of interest in the task or the results of the task. ADHDers are interest-based performers; without interest, someone may as well have put sugar in your tank. Your brain synapses won’t fire very well, making you feel sluggish instead of eager to move ahead.
If the task is truly boring, consider delegating or dropping it (more on delegating in future posts). If that is not possible and the task is essential, you will need to jumpstart your engine by injecting interest, novelty, challenge or urgency into the task.
This is really your chance to excel. I find most ADHDers are extremely creative, outside-the-box thinkers, so use that strength to make any task more interesting.
For example, you keep putting off paying your bills because it’s soooooo boring. Instead of sitting at your desk secluded in your office, bring your bills together along with your checkbook to a comfortable coffee shop – I love Second Cup, their Continental Black coffee reminds me of my vacation in Italy this past summer – and pay your bills as you leisurely sip your favorite blend of coffee or tea. You’ve just injected novelty into the task and greatly increased your chances of completing it.
I’d also like to encourage you to share your brilliant ideas with your fellow ADHDers. Share how you inject interest, novelty, challenge or urgency when dealing with boring tasks with me, either by posting it as a reply here on the blog, or contacting me directly (Linda at – replace at with @ – coachlindawalker.com) and I’ll gather everyone’s ideas and share them with all of you – for free.
Watch for my next post on ADHD and motivation where you’ll learn how to use momentum as a secret weapon to complete any task.