One Good Reason Why You Shouldn't Procrastinate
I know, I know. The boxes, papers, clothes and dishes are piled sky high. You WANT to take care of it, but it’s just impossible to get started. Where do you start? How do you motivate yourself to tackle these endless, boring chores?
ADHD, as I’ve always said, is not an excuse; it’s an explanation for our procrastinating, distractibility, inattention, clutter, impulsivity…and the list goes on. Still, even knowing what is tripping us up can still cause us to put things aside instead of away.
This past Monday, I really did get tripped up- literally- and I learned a very hard lesson from it. I’ve been up to my nose in a lot of ADHD related projects; one which involved having me being filmed by a media crew in from New York City. Since my home office was a disaster (I WAS going to get to it this summer…but…), I had to do a major ADHD “dump.” I threw my papers, projects and a variety of other office related “stuff” into bags which I cleverly (I thought) labeled so I’d know where they needed to be returned once I unpacked everything after the shoot.
Well, it’s over two months since the shoot and everything is still piled sky high in my bedroom. Every day I’d look at those piles and tell myself- TODAY is the day I start on that.
Today never came.** Why am I sharing** my deepest darkest secrets with you?
This past Monday, I was walking our new puppy, Harper, around the block for our, er…her…daily exercise. Being the distractible type that I am, I stared at one of the houses we were passing; one that always intrigued me because had I been 40 years younger, I would have insisted that this was a Haunted House. The trees and shrubs, overgrown with no distinct shape, screamed to be trimmed. Random lawn ornaments from holidays past, were still strewn about. I knew the family had some major personal challenges and my mind drifted to when the little girl living there walked carefree to school. Now, she must be in college.
As I lazily but happily strolled down the street, my toe clunked against the next slab of pavement that, unfortunately, was about 2 inches higher than the piece I was stepping off from. In the blink of an eye, I went from striding my 5’8" frame down the pleasant sidewalk, to eyeballing it from the ground up.
I had fallen face first onto the pavement, slamming my knees onto the hard cement.
Long story short, I somehow limped back to my home, then drove to my favorite orthopedic surgeon’s office, where it was proclaimed that I’d split my knee cap in half and would require surgery (this Monday, if you’d like to send me a get well card).
What does this have to do with procrastinating? I’m glad you asked.
One rarely thinks about the “what-ifs” should we find ourselves flat out on a surgical gurney. Oh, we may worry about whether we’ll wake up again; who will care for our children and pets and about missing work. While preparing for my hospital stay, I realized with horror that my bedroom was still cluttered to the ceiling with my office “stuff.” The room looked (notice the past tense) so horrific, I wouldn’t think of having my own mother see it when she brings her famous chicken soup (“but Ma…I’m not SICK, I’m INJUIRED).”
Procrastinating. Because I put off de-cluttering, I’m now hyperfocusing on the state of my house, knowing I’ll have visitors, soon.
So don’t tell Dr. Sudowski that instead of resting my leg in a miserably uncomfortable cast, I’ve been pushing bags and boxes around so that the room is at least somewhat presentable when friends and family come to visit.
Better yet, maybe I should hole myself up in the Family Room. At least THAT room is somewhat tidy. Well, it was yesterday, anyway.
So here’s a lesson learned: next time you find yourself procrastinating on a boring, dull chore, picture yourself in a hospital bed, unable to wash that load of laundry or dishes and ask yourself: ‘if I couldn’t do it, how would that make me feel?’ Chances are, that visual will give you just the motivation you need to tidy up
Terry wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for ADHD.