I Can't Get Started

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    • #172480

      My task initiation is terrible. I can’t even get started on tasks I enjoy. I have already tried some popular strategies for getting myself to start a task (making a list, breaking up the task into smaller pieces, rewarding myself for completing the task, reminding myself why I’m doing it), all of these have failed. Are there any strategies besides these to help task initiation?

    • #172531
      Penny Williams

      Have you tried making yourself accountable to someone else? This trick often works because we inherently don’t want to let other people down. Maybe you tell a friend you’re planning to start cleaning up your kitchen at 3 pm today and plan to be finished by 3pm tomorrow. Then you check in with your friend (ideally they check in with you) to discuss progress and successes.

      Treatments and Strategies for Weak Executive Functions

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #172580

      I’m having the same problem (same things haven’t worked for me) and what I’m planning to try next is a “body double” which is basically having someone sit with me while I do the task just to make sure I stay on task and keep going back when I inevitably get bored and want to give up. It seems like it will work, I might have to pay someone to do it though lol

    • #172581

      Hello! About ten minutes ago I decided to go looking for an adult ADD forum. I’ve been sheltering at home for eleven weeks now, working from home as a software engineer while staring at an urban loft full of clutter, chaos, and half-finished projects. That has pushed my can’t-get-started into overdrive. When I got here I was not the least bit surprised to find that the newest message on the forum was a pretty much perfect description of where I am right now. I’ve never been good at getting started, and 2020 has pushed it to new highs. Lows?

      I think the core of my problem is that I get overwhelmed by either the number or magnitude of the things that I have to do, and they just keep swimming in front of me. I can’t start because everything just feels so overwhelming. About a week and a half ago I sunk pretty low on this, and just the thought of getting out of bed and logging in to start work was beyond me… mostly because I was way behind on a project. I fired off a note to my boss saying I was going to take a couple of days off to deal with stuff and started making a mental list of the home projects that were bothering me most.

      Did it work? Partially. Taking my work projects off of Mount ToDo made it easier for me to find a toehold on the home tasks. I’ve managed to make a few small inroads, and knocking things off the list feels good enough that I want to attack other things. Sometimes I add things to my list after I do them just so I can check them off. (-: Throwing a lot of crap out and giving myself more breathing room has also improved my outlook on life. The bad news is that it hasn’t helped much with digging out from under Mount Work, and I don’t know how to solve that one.

      Anyway, hello. I can now check “Look for an adult ADD support forum” off of my checklist and go to bed. I’ve accomplished something.

    • #172582

      Oh, one other thing. I have a fantasy online app that is basically a job jar. I want to be able to keep a list of smallish tasks and then when I have time punch a button and have it tell me “Clean off the kitchen counter” or “Get rid of everything you can from the top shelf of the storage room.” That would make my life so much easier because I wouldn’t have to think about Mount ToDo. I could just let the app hand me a single task and that would be all I had to think about.

    • #172764

      I have a visceral reaction to any “to do” lists. I make index cards. I put one thing on at a time.

      Pick one thing and do it, and try to stick with one thing for 3 minutes. Then repeat. I know it’s hard. Hang in there!

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