3 Ways to Move through Overwhelm and Procrastination

for People with ADHD

If you prefer audio books, here is a recording of the blog post. 

Have you ever procrastinated a thing so much that it keeps getting built up in your head as something that is super heavy and feels like it will take FOREVER to complete?

So then you continue to procrastinate. And you get more and more overwhelmed by the thought of trying to do the thing...

Not to mention how much you beat yourself up for not having done it already...

And after days, weeks, even months or years, you finally do the thing, and realize it only took about 15 minutes to complete...

The internal dialogue of build up to nothing is SO real.

So here are some ways to combat that.

1. What is Your Why?

No matter what the thing is, tapping into your why brings clarity and often motivation to complete the thing. 

You can have different why's for different things. 

For example, something I really struggle to complete is putting my laundry away. 

It's not something I enjoy doing but I do like when it is put away. 

So I get to put my laundry away.

And my why is that I get to have clean clothes that are in their place. When my clothes are put away, it makes it really easy to get dressed in the morning and it's so much easier to get my day started. And the easier that is, the better my day goes. 

I want to have a good day!

Connecting to that why, reminds me to set myself up for success and really loving my future self means putting my clothes away.

Another example is writing this exact post. I have been sitting in my chair procrastinating writing this post probably for at least an hour scrolling through social media, texting my friends and watching a movie. 

And of course I would experience procrastination and feeling overwhelmed by the thought of writing this particular post because that's exactly what I'm writing about. 

When I I finally recognized that that's what I was doing, (because the first step is recognizing that you're procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed before you can do something about it) I started to say out loud my why:

"Jess, why are you writing this blog post?"

"I know that there are hundreds, even thousands of people struggling with overwhelm and procrastination on a daily basis. If they had the tools to move through it, they could bring their much needed magic into the world and continue to make it a better place. The ripple effect of this is HUGE! And I know when I see my clients move through this, and get out of their own way, how much they are able to create and do and how much better they feel about themselves."

As soon as I said this out loud, my energy shifted. Connecting to my why allowed me to feel less overwhelmed and way more ready to write. It honestly was so magical.

2. Tap into the Energy of When It's Done

How can you set up future you for success? 

What will it feel like to have the thing completed?

Going back to the laundry example:

"OMG, It will feel so good to finally have my laundry put away! Having fresh clothes all laundered and smelling good in my closet and the drawers means it's so easy for me to get ready tomorrow and I KNOW I will be thanking myself for having it completed. Plus, having it checked off the list will release a weight I've been carrying around. And not looking at it anymore will bring me relief."

The blog post example:

"It will feel so good to have this completed! I have been procrastinating writing this all month and it's been weighing on me the whole time. Finishing it up, recording the audio and posting it to my website...it's gonna look so good and then I can share it with everyone. That's gonna be amazing and tomorrow I will wake up and not have to think about it. I will be so grateful."

Huge smiles.

As soon as I tapped into that energy today, it made it so much easier to start writing again. Future Jess is gonna be so proud of me and so grateful it's done. 

3. Start with the Easiest, Most Basic Step

What is the easiest, most basic step you can do to start? 

This is not always so easy to figure out, but let's start with some examples:


The easiest step for me and my set up is to tell myself to put two items away. Even if I don't commit to putting all of the clothes away, I can put two shirts away. No big deal. 

Inevitably, I realize that that was simple and I'm already here so I might as well continue and finish it up. 

Blog post:

There were stages for me today.

The first one was just getting my computer out and putting something fun on tv that I could sort of watch in the background while I was writing.

That worked for a little while and then I started procrastinating again.

Then, I tapped into the first two steps. When I was in the energy of my why and what I would feel like when it was done, I realized I could just write what I had said out loud to myself, that was the easiest, most basic thing to continue.

The trick to finding the easiest most basic step is to think through the obstacles. 

What gets in the way of you doing the thing? 

What can you do to make it easier?

I was recently talking to a client who needed support in being consistent with content creation. One of her obstacles was getting distracted by her phone. So we realized that the first, most basic step for her was to put her phone in the tripod and turn off the notifications. 

Then, she couldn't use her phone to scroll and she wouldn't be distracted by the "dings" as it sits in the tripod ready for her to record.

When These Things Still Seem Impossible

Sometimes it can feel really hard to get connected to your why, or think about how your future self will feel or even navigate what that first easy step is.

I get it. That hamster wheel of overthinking and self flagellation can be BRUTAL! 

Here are some ideas to try:

✨ Call a trusted loved who is so excited to see you succeed and ask them to go through the steps above with you. 

Sometimes, we have a difficult time seeing outside ourselves. Having someone reflect back to you your own whys can be really powerful.

✨ Set up a timer. 

Give yourself 10 minutes to procrastinate and then set another timer for ten minutes to do the thing.  Sometimes racing against yourself can be fun and knowing you can do whatever you want again in ten minutes can be a powerful motivator. 

✨ Set up a reward.

Tell yourself that when you complete the task or you get x amount of it complete that you get to do _____________.

Maybe it's watching an episode of tv. Maybe it's coloring. Maybe it's going to the gym (because you LOVE going to the gym). Maybe it's giving yourself a sticker for your homemade sticker chart. 

Rewards are fun and can be super helpful with motivation. 

Just make sure the reward isn't hindering the other areas you want to grow in. 

It wouldn't be a good idea to set your reward as getting to buy something on Amazon if you're trying to pair down your spending. And it wouldn't be a good idea to reward yourself with candy if you're trying to cut down on sugar.

✨ Set up some accountability

I have a few clients who call one another for a few minutes to share what they are about to do. And then they get off the phone, do the thing, and text one another when it is completed.

Saying out loud to another person what you're committing to doing can help in getting it done.

✨ Hire a coach.

If procrastination and overwhelm are chronic things you continuously deal with, hiring a professional can be life changing. There are many ADHD coaches out there just like me!

You don't have to hold all of it by yourself! Reach out, get the support you need and deserve!

If you any of this resonated with you, feel free to 

schedule a Free Strategy Call with Jess.