Ask the Experts

Reducing Impatience and Finishing Projects

ADHD and impatience go hand-in-hand. If you rarely see tasks through to their finish, you need this advice.

Q: “One of my biggest hurdles is getting things done completely. I rarely see a task through to the end, because I want my reward and results now. When I do finish a task, it’s usually because I rushed to get it over with. Do you have strategies to counter my impatience?”

Impatience is not only about wanting something done, so we can move on to something more interesting or satisfying. There is a physical, restless component to it, too. Have you noticed that when you are in a hurry, you tap your foot or tense your shoulders? Maybe your stomach starts to feel tight. Doing some deep breathing or muscle relaxation exercises is your first step in calming your body and coping with impatience.

Next, ask yourself whether your efforts to be productive are being thwarted by perfectionism or procrastination. Sometimes it is OK to do a good enough job on time, rather than strive for excellence. Keeping it simple will allow you to complete what you set out to do. Some adults with ADHD make projects so involved that they become overwhelming, and they shut down instead of finishing them. Think about how you can enjoy the process more. For instance, few of us like to do housework. Dancing around, or putting on a headset and listening to your favorite music, while you dust or vacuum can make it more fun.

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Finally, when we decide to do more than we realistically have time for, we often wind up rushing or doing a sloppy job. Are you taking on too much? As you assess your to-do list, keep in mind that it’s better to do three projects and enjoy them than to take on five and stress about them.


Updated on November 6, 2018

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