ADHD in College

How I Finally Got My Act Together

Where is the “Motivation Fairy” when I need her?

Taking frequent breaks can help you get things done by improving motivation and preventing burnout.
Taking frequent breaks can help you get things done by improving motivation and preventing burnout.

When I was asked to write about how I’ve balanced school and my social life with my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), my first thought was that I had been mistaken for someone who was actually balancing school and a social life successfully.

The reality is that, without correction, I tend to veer off in the direction of social life and let my schoolwork do itself. Then I wonder why I’m always behind.

Motivation to do otherwise is the key to getting my act together. How, though, do I motivate myself to be motivated? Knowing I have talent, vision, and intellect, I wonder why I am inconsistent in my schoolwork, and the answer is obvious. At times, I just don’t care.

The choices I have in my life either motivate me, or they don’t. I choose to be lazy, but why? Why am I always tired THEN? Why am I suddenly sick AT THAT MOMENT? I know it’s not what I DO during the day that makes me weary; it’s what I neglect to do. What’s important is just to do it.

What works for me is to envision exactly who I want to be and go from there. When I see myself as content and motivated, I become just that. You are how you act. When I smile, the world smiles with me; when I cry, I hate my life; when I’m tired, the world’s boring to me; and when I’m angry, everyone is annoying.

Considering the fact that I know these things, isn’t it reasonable to assume that I also know how to motivate myself? But instead, I have to work on my thought process. The longer the day goes on, the more I find myself pushing away essential tasks and acting on the worthless ones. The result? I finally come to the conclusion that I MUST study and work, and NO MATTER WHAT, I have to do it. But then, I get home and suddenly I don’t. That determination is gone.

The ancient enemy of motivation is procrastination, and its modern name is ‘television.’ I say to myself, ‘I’m soooo tired. I don’t want to work now. I’ll do it later. I’ll watch a movie to rest and gather the energy that I need to work.’ Lack of willpower, that is my problem. I make the choice to watch TV, knowing I’ll pay for it later, but do it anyway. I know, deep inside my inner slug, that resting so that I won’t be ‘soooo tired’ will never accomplish what I want. I end up sitting around waiting for nothing, when I could have taken action.

So how do I replace laziness, denial, and self-defeating behavior with motivation and action? I wish there were a Motivation Fairy, who could drop by and leave a bit of willpower under my pillow. Unfortunately, I have to work for it… darn. I have to strive to wake up ‘on the right side of the bed,’ make goals for positive steps and actions, and… here’s the tough part… actually DO them!