Task Initiation, Boredom, and ADHD

Raise your hand if you’ve ever hit a roadblock with one (or more!) of the following…

  • Going to sleep on time
  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Staying focused on your goal
  • Procrastiworking
  • Prioritization
  • Negative self talk
  • Avoiding the last 20% of a project because you’ve reached the boring part

Is your hand in the air yet? 🙋🏻‍♀️

If so, welcome. You’re in good company.

women looking bored at desk

What’s more, I think you’re going to love episode 181 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast because I’m sharing a look behind the scenes of a We’re Busy Being Awesome group coaching call. You’ll hear us discuss each of the above roadblocks and learn how to support your brain through them.

So if you’re ready for actionable strategies to work with your ADHD brain, I invite you to tune into episode 181 now.

You can listen to the episode above or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here.   

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript. 

In This Episode, You Will Discover key strategies to

  • Navigate procrastination
  • Work through boredom
  • Design a flexible schedule that works best for your brain

Links From The Podcast

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  5. Bonus points if you’re willing to leave a few sentences sharing what you enjoy about the podcast or a key takeaway from the episode you just heard. Thanks, friend!

Episode 181: Task Initiation, Boredom, and ADHD (transcript)

women looking bored

0:00:32.6 Paula: Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. How’s it going? Today I am really excited about the topic that we’re exploring, and I just am so delighted that you’re here so you can get in on all of the goodness of today’s episode. I am sharing with you a group call from We’re Busy Being Awesome. It took place a couple of weeks ago by the time this episode comes out. But in this class, we’re talking about so many different things that I know you listeners can relate to. We’re talking about task initiation broadly, and at the beginning of the call, you’re going to hear me talk through a bird’s eye view of the core concepts that we explored in our trainings for that week’s call. (Every week, there are different trainings; I have them on both the private podcast and also video trainings – however you learn best. But I have both available and then everybody in the group will listen to those calls, and then they come to the call, and we coach on whatever comes up when implementing them.)

0:01:26.4 Paula: So you’ll hear me give just a quick bird’s eye view of the core points to remind our memory of what we looked at. And then there is so much coaching on such a wide array of relatable topics that I just knew I had to share it with all of you. We are looking at procrastiworking and revenge bedtime procrastination. We’re looking at keeping our goals and our projects front and center because let’s be honest, sometimes when things get really busy, we tend to forget that we have these projects or these personal goals that we’re working toward. We also talk about navigating transition and also how to actually do the thing that we just don’t want to do.

0:02:12.1 Paula: I’m telling you, there is so much packed within this one episode, and I know there’s going to be so much goodness in it for each one of you listeners. So as you listen, I invite you to ask yourself when others are getting coached, when have I been in a similar situation as this person? When have I had that same thought? Or when have I felt that same way? When have I acted in a similar way? When have I shown up like that? And how can I apply this coaching to what I’m navigating right now? I’m telling you, if you ask yourself these simple questions as you listen, you’re going to pull so much. You’re going to get coached yourself in this session. So again, when have I been in a similar situation? When have I had a similar thought or felt the same way? When have I acted in a similar way?

0:02:58.7 Paula: And how, how can I apply the coaching to my life today? And if you enjoy listening to this podcast episode specifically and you are thinking, you know what? I really want to take my work further. I really want to learn how to work with my ADHD brain in a small group like this, then I would absolutely love to have you join us in the next cohort of We’re Busy Being Awesome. When this episode comes out in January, we are open for enrollment for February. And again, I do make sure that these groups remain small so that everybody has space for coaching. So if you’re interested in joining us, go ahead to, imbusybeingawesome.com/group and sign up for a time for us to chat so that you can grab your spot because I’d love to have you join us. So with that, let’s dive into the episode.


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0:03:48.4 Paula: So we’ve identified our goals. We’ve made our plans. Now how do we actually get started on them. This week as just a quick recap, we took a close look at one of what I think is the most important yet often overlooked non-negotiables to get us taking action, which is taking care of our basic needs, right? And then we talked about in the trainings one of the biggest culprits for our goal getting high achieving brains when it comes to procrastinating, which is procrastiworking. So those are the two areas that we looked at. And again, as usual, I just want to give kinda a quick recap so I jog it in our brain and then we’ll dive right into whatever’s front and center for you. And in the meantime, I would love to see all of your wins in the chat. What are we celebrating this week?

0:04:36.1 Paula: What went well? What did we learn? Anything like that? So let’s start with meeting our basic needs, right? So as busy, awesome humans who are constantly running from one idea and project and responsibility to the next, I find that we often forget to take care of ourselves. We forget that we are humans and not robots. We forget or we resist the fact that we need sleep and water and food and connection. And we forget that these are needs, they are non-negotiable. And not just because we are humans and everybody deserves this, right? But also because a lack of sleep or hydration or nutrition, these can all negatively impact our executive functions as well if we’re not taking care of those things. So in other words, if we’re not taking care of our basic needs as much as possible, it’s going to impact our ADHD symptoms as well.

0:05:37.9 Paula: So this week, like I said in the workbook, in the trainings, we had you exploring what you need, right? How much sleep actually feels good for you. If you were to sleep and didn’t use an alarm for two or three weeks to really let your body regulate, how much sleep might you actually need? What food fuels you? What feels really good for you? How often do you give yourself a quiet reflection time? How often do you need that? How often does that recharge you? How often do you want space for play, for just being? Would you benefit from having some kind of structured morning routine or not, right? If so, what might that look like? So we got really curious around what we might need, because again, I think this is such a key component that’s often overlooked. And if we really want to get intentional and serious about our task initiation and getting started on the plans that we’ve created, it’s so important that we get serious about taking care of these basic needs first.

0:06:42.3 Paula: And so I also acknowledge that that can be really challenging for our brain, right? That’s more executive function that we have to deal with. And going to bed is such a struggle for many of us and all of these things. So my guess is there will probably be some coaching around that. But that is a key component that we want to lean into. And then, like I said, we explored the allure of procrastiworking, which I think often comes up, at least I can speak for myself. And what I’ve noticed with many clients is the amount of procrastiworking tends to go up as taking care of our basic needs goes down, right? We see this shift happening here because when we are extra tired or forgetting to eat meals or not hydrated, not medicated, if we take medication, we’re not taking it.

0:07:29.3 Paula: Our executive functions are already struggling, right? When we’re faced with a bigger project or a more challenging task, our brain is going to quickly look for something else to do instead. Right? It’s because it feels a little bit easier for the brain because, and we’ve talked about procrastiworking in general, but I don’t know if we’ve ever defined it on the call, but it’s when you’re doing something that is seemingly productive, it might be productive, in fact, like you might categorize it as that, but we’re doing it in order to avoid what is actually on the list. So I think one of the reasons why so many of us identify with this concept is because we are goal getters. We’re high achievers, we always want to be doing something. We don’t want to be wasting our time. But when our brain is so exhausted or we’re confused about where to start, or we have too many things, we’re overwhelmed thinking about the amount of work on to finish a grant proposal or whatever, when we haven’t been taking care of our basic needs.

0:08:32.5 Paula: Or even if we have and we just have procrastiworking come up. It’s so much easier for the brain to slip into the kind of dopamine-seeking task, checking quick wins of the busy work. The problem with procrastiworking is that we’re not actually doing the one thing that we wanted to get done. And we’re usually using these busy work activities as a distraction from the the thing that’s actually going to move us forward. And so this week we talked about identifying these times when procrastiworking gets in our way, and I would love to hear, people can share in the chat if they want to, or if anybody wants to unmute and just share, where do you tend to notice your procrastiworking sneak up? Or what does it look like for you? I think when we can start identifying these areas, we’re starting to raise our awareness and then we’re able to catch it more quickly. Catch it more easily. Yeah.

0:09:29.5 Client: Well my next, the to-do, I don’t know why, but I start to get very busy around like 10:00 PM-11:00 PM, and I am aware of the time because I’ve literally put clocks everywhere and I’m like, okay, the only thing you need to do is go to bed. Yeah. But for instance, like yesterday I literally cleaned out my pantry. I took out every pot and pans and it’s like, why? Why [laughter]? Why do I do it at 11:00 o’clock? I get that I need that dopamine hit, but I am aware of the time and throughout the process I am telling myself, okay, it’s like one last pan away and then off to bed. But I don’t, but it’s pretty consistent. It’s almost like at the strike of 10:00 I’d start hustling.

0:10:24.8 Paula: Doing things. Yeah. Okay.

0:10:26.6 Client: Definitely procrastiworking because I do not need to be cleaning out my kitchen every cupboard at 10:00 o’clock.

0:10:35.0 Paula: Yeah. So I love your awareness around that being it’s usually right around 10:00. That’s the time that it pops up. And it could be interesting to look at what we’re trying to avoid. My guess is there’s some discomfort around the bedtime, like going into bed.

0:10:52.5 Client: Well, here’s the thing. I feel, yeah, the resistance is going to bed. But why [chuckle]? Like, I’m so tired, I could feel myself being tired and sleepy. Like, why? And I know I need it. So why am I so resistant? Like, why am I procrastinating sleep?

0:11:13.4 Paula: Let’s try and answer that. Let’s take some guesses and, I see other people nodding here. If you want to write in the chat why we might be doing this, offer your thoughts, because I’d love to hear them. Why do you think for you?

0:11:24.5 Client: I don’t know. I mean, I know I have to get up at like 6:00, so I, it doesn’t make any, I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to me. And then it gets worse the later it becomes, it’s almost like, well, it’s too late now. You might as well just stay up. And I’m like, okay, well that, that doesn’t make sense. I should get like at least two hours of sleep. But I don’t know what it is.

0:11:48.4 Paula: So this makes a ton of sense to especially that last part, which is our all or nothing thinking coming in. Right? Well, okay. It’s gotten so late…I might as well just stay up and finish it. What’s the difference between three hours and two hours? It’s just going to be a terrible day tomorrow, [laughter] And then there’s some great things in the chat here too. For sure transition, right? Transition is so hard for us. So when we are trying to shift from getting off the couch into going to bed, there’s that discomfort around it. And so that’s that transition and we can get more dopamine hit like excitement from, let me be productive and quickly organize these pans and do these things or quickly organize pans. But like, that’s what we think. Right? Or let me just right quick clean out my pantry. I’ve just learned that whenever I think, let me quickly do something. I know that that’s not a thing that will be quick.

[laughter]

0:12:43.6 Client: Right? I should, yeah. I don’t think I thought of. Yeah. But like why is it that I so easily… Like whatever I’m doing, I could transition easily at like 10:00 PM. Like I make more mess trying to clean up.

0:13:00.7 Paula: Yeah. So I had mentioned trying to put off tomorrow, so this is a big one that I think a lot of us like the Sunday scaries and that kind of thing, but we get it almost every day and we’re like, oh, I don’t want the next day to start, let’s elongate the current day. Right. They don’t want the next day to come. Or we have mentioned one that I hear late night is the only free time when everyone else is in bed. That’s the quiet time. That sort of thing. And yeah, it happens at the end of your work day, which gives you a sense, you got something accomplished for the day. Yeah. So it’s like that last push of “I need to get something done, let me really make the most of it.” Right? Or it might be from a more negative space, “if I didn’t get anything done, I’d better get my act together and do something “productive and worthwhile” so that I can feel good before going to bed.”

0:13:50.3 Client: Yeah. I think it’s definitely a combination of all of that. So I need to figure out a way to transition out of it when I am there, I was just going to ask you like, so how can I transition? But I guess you’ll be the model [laughter]

0:14:05.9 Paula: Yeah. So I think it’s that, and it’s going to be noticing it ahead of time. Like you already have the awareness, you know at 10 o’clock it’s going to come up, right? Nine times out of 10 this will come up. So we want to prepare ourselves ahead of time thinking, okay, I know I really want to go to bed and kind of pre-coach your brain ahead of time on why you genuinely, excuse me, why you genuinely want to do that. And then prepare yourself to know you’re going to feel that uncomfortable emotion. Like, I’m going to feel so much resistance, I know I’m going to be mad and I know I’m going to be distracted looking for things. This is all for sure going to come. And I’m willing to keep taking one step in front of the other, toward the bedroom or like toward the bathroom to wash my face or whatever. And I’m willing to practice that just for tonight to see how it goes and put a really small container of time on it. Like, just for tonight I’m willing to give this a try. And be with the discomfort and breathe through it and then give your brain an out, which is like, if we totally hate it tomorrow, you don’t have to.

0:15:25.8 Client: Okay.

0:15:27.2 Paula: And just as you would parent your daughter into bedtime or whatever or something she really doesn’t want to do, you do the same for your brain.

0:15:36.1 Client: Okay. It’s so much easier [laughter] doing it for others.

0:15:40.6 Paula: Right. Totally is, yeah. Thank you for sharing that one. I know it’s so, so, so relatable. Yeah. How about others? Where else are we finding the procrastiworking come up? Let me see here. Feel free to unmute for people too, if you want to.

0:15:55.3 Client: For me it’s totally task avoidance or like I’ve talked about this, my fear of failure is that if I don’t start the project, I don’t start whatever, then I can’t fail. Ironically, by not doing it I’m failing, but.

0:16:09.8 Paula: Failing ahead. Yeah.

0:16:10.9 Client: Yeah. When you started describing what does procrastiworking look like, I was like yep. Yep, yep, yep, yep. I could take the masterclass and procrastiworking.

0:16:21.4 Paula: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So what I think about with procrastiworking is that the difference is really in the timing because we want to fold our laundry eventually, right? Or we want to do some of these different things, but the difference is whether we intentionally made time for these tasks or not. If we carved out time to fold the laundry, to answer the emails, to go on, answer the slack messages or whatever, great. Then that’s the time we do it. But if we’re doing them and we did not plan for them, probably it’s a good sign that it’s procrastiworking. Go ahead. Yeah.

0:17:02.3 Client: Well what I’m curious about is that through this program I’ve been just building more awareness and so I’m trying to slot, like when I do things like cleaning or cooking, it’s just when those things that I’m really good at the procrastiwork, it’s when it spills over and then I’m spending more time on it than I should be or want to be. And then I also really lay it on like, you know, I’m caring for the family or I’m, you know, and then this week is like, I just feel like off the rails this week. And again, the extremes good and bad, [laughter] right off the rails.

0:17:43.7 Paula: Yeah. Yeah.

0:17:44.0 Client: As I came home from university this week and it’s just been really wonderful, but then it’s like, what was my goal again? [laughter] like that bad, so…

0:17:54.9 Paula: Okay. [laughter] So yeah, I definitely want to speak to two different things. First with spending more time and then to an unusual change in schedule, like with family coming home, that sort of thing. So first, that’s amazing; you’re scheduling time to do those things. What happens when it bleeds over? So part of this is, as we talked about in the planning sections iteration, maybe we just genuinely guessed wrong on how much time we need. And the first couple of weeks we get that locked in and we go, oh, oh, I see that it actually takes me two and a half hours. I thought it was just going to be about an hour, hour and a half.

0:18:38.9 Paula: Good to know. Right? Now, once we have that locked in, if we notice that we’re bleeding over, we want to make sure to check in and ask, am I building in transition time between tasks or is my schedule back to back like cook for the week from these times to these times and then immediately work on my course prep. But we didn’t build any cleanup time and we didn’t create transition time for the brain. And when we don’t do that, then our brain flips into all or nothing. It’s like, well, I’m already behind, I’m totally off my schedule. But what we did is we didn’t set up that time for transition. We didn’t set up time for us to be humans and have to get a drink of water or eat a meal or whatever. We didn’t allow time for life. And so that can throw us off.

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0:19:30.7 Paula: So that’s kind of one thing that I would look at is are you building in that transition space and figuring out how much time that is that you need between tasks. And so this is again, part of that iterative process where we figure it out. For myself after calls, I don’t need too much transition time ’cause I’m in flow with it. It’s really fun for me. But if I’m like writing an email copy, I need a lot of transition time to kind of get in it, get out of it. I need more space for my brain. So it’s a process of learning what times we need and then speaking to unusual situations. This is also kind of transition, but we also want to give ourselves grace and build in more time than we genuinely think we need. If we have family coming in town, if your son’s coming home from school, can we be okay with, oh, I’m not quite as focused on my goal right now. It’s the holidays, my son’s home from university. I want to spend some time and figuring out what you want that balance to be ahead of time. And we can set loose goals for ourselves if we want to keep and stay focused on it. But can we give ourselves a little bit of grace and flexibility with it and be onto ourselves if we’re like, oh, I think I might be an all or nothing here. I think I have to be doing it perfectly or just not be in it at all. Good to notice. Yeah.

0:20:54.0 Client: So I had a graceful moment yesterday where I just realized, again with that awareness, how do I want December, the remainder of this time, to even look like and feel? And you had said that about a month ago, minimum baseline like what you want to output. And so I did have that graceful moment, and it’s re-planning the goal, the scheduling. When I do a bunch of planning and I know what’s right, that’s when I really go in resistance mode like, I need eight hours of sleep, and then all of a sudden I swing back like we’re six hours [chuckle] or I’m really procrastiworking or resisting. And it comes after planning sessions. And yeah…

0:21:44.8 Paula: So I wonder you mentioned you can make a good plan, right? And I wonder if maybe we’re using that against ourselves, and getting a bit too black and white with the plan, and what we actually need is a looser plan? I’m going to do these three things today. Or maybe in the morning I’m going to do this one thing. In the afternoon I’m going to do this one thing. And I’m going to have this other thing on a sticky note as a bonus should I have additional time.

0:22:18.0 Client: Okay. I’ll try that.

0:22:20.3 Paula: And then that way it’s like, “Okay, you know my son needed me. Part of my brain thought I was going to start at 9, but I mean, we were hanging out. And so it looks like we’re starting at 11:00 Cool.” And so it might be also a practice of acceptance of this is where we’re at today.

0:22:35.3 Client: Okay.

0:22:37.3 Paula: And just practicing that thought “This is where I’m at. This is where we’re at.” And maybe using your… The share you offered last week which I have been thinking a lot about the half smile open, open hands? Maybe that could be a powerful place to practice. Yeah.

0:22:54.5 Client: Thank you. You really are the helpful Butler voice though. I have to tell you that. [laughter] Well what if you did know. [laughter] So thank you.

0:23:01.8 Paula: I love it. Thank you for sharing. So we know we’re building our awareness around when this procrastiworking sneaks in, right? And so I won’t go through the all the individual steps and stuff like I talked about in the training since you have them. But just as a quick reminder of how we can actually prepare for procrastiworking and help us navigate it. So one of the concepts was creating our clear getting started plan, right? So that’s one of the ways that we can do this. The next one that we talked about was getting really clear on your end goal. Getting to know what “done” is. So that we know what we’re working on, rather than just the vague work on project. It’s “I’m going to write these three emails and have them as drafts ready to re-read on Thursday.” Or whatever. Getting really clear on what done is. Creating the step-by-step process.

0:23:54.8 Paula: Now this is like a workflow concept. Because as I mentioned in the training, we’re basically offloading the executive function steps. When we just have all the steps laid out for us you don’t have to think about it at all. You just look at it. It’s like a recipe for the main things that you do over and over and over. Similarly breaking down big projects rather than saying “Write book”, “Create course”. Right we really want to break them down so that we have those smaller steps. Because again if we keep it bigger and vague. Or… Clean the house. I would often put that. This weekend I’m going to clean the house, what no I don’t do that. That’s way too big. You should break it down into clean the kitchen or whatever. So again we talked about those more in depth in the training. But those are kind of the main concepts to explore.

0:24:37.0 Paula: And then the three questions that I will turn to to help me check in if I’m procrastiworking beyond to myself is, first, “Is this task on my schedule for the day”, this thing that I’m doing right now. “Did I actually plan to do this somewhere”. If not probably I’m procrastiworking. Another one might be “Is this task contributing to one of my bigger goals for the week or the month” right? “Is it actually moving me toward my long game”. And then the third one is [chuckle] this one always gets me. “Had I planned to do something different with my time than what I’m doing right now?” And then I’m like “Yes, I had planned to be doing this” and it helps me remember and remind myself why I’m doing that instead. So I like to use those questions as well.

0:25:27.2 Paula: So I would love to hear where people are at, what you want some coaching on. I also want to check in on the wins here. Completed four hours of being interviewed, yes, amazing. Planned a successful surprise retirement party for your boss. That’s a lot of demand on executive functions too heck yeah. Reintegrated working out in your morning routine, yes, amazing. Let’s see. “I was able to keep myself calm when my return flight had a mechanical malfunction. One hour waiting on the plane then disembarking.” Oh my gosh, way to go. Way to navigate that. “What is multiple choice blocks?” Did I say that? I don’t remember what I said. Oh it’s up further. Okay. Yes, okay. So this is brilliant. I love this idea. Two or three items to work on in the schedule for a period of time, then you can kind of choose what feels most available to you in that time. So maybe it’s like, okay, in this hour I’m going to be doing administrative tasks. I’ve saved Tuesday mornings from 9:00 till noon for administrative things. Here are three things that I need to get done they all are important they all are moving me forward. And I can check in with where I’m at and how much capacity I have. And what I want to focus on and I can choose from those three. And that gives you some flexibility to be able to do and lean into what you’re open to. Because you’ve already decided with your prefrontal cortex all of these genuinely do need to get done. So you can choose from any of them.

0:26:55.4 Client: Can I just ask a question on on that specific thing actually? Because I tried doing that, and I just think it sounds like a really good idea. But what I end up doing is having really massive long lists of all these admin tasks, and they just get bigger and bigger and bigger. And the same for household and same for whatever category it is. And then I really lose any kind of urgency or priority in a way because it’s just such an overwhelming list. And I feel that that’s where it sort of then goes a bit wrong. So then I end up ignoring those lists and there probably is important things in there. But I’ve gone back to day to day urgently putting fires out planning whereas I was kind of getting into this time-block a little bit more, and go “Yeah, like, oh I’ll have an admin pow-wow and things like that”. But I just find it gets out of hand really easily and I don’t keep on top of it. So then it’s meaningless then. It’s like that list is meaningless and then I know I’m missing important things like not… I don’t know, like call clients back and things like that because the list is just too big.

0:28:00.2 Paula: What I would offer is that probably what we need to do is be mindful of those lists and I would probably re-decide each day. Like if it’s admin and you have your 14 things that genuinely need to get done every month or whatever and some of them are daily some of them are weekly some of them are once a month whatever, I would re-decide each day from that list what are the three things that I can choose from. So that way you don’t have that ongoing never-ending list. You’re choosing the things specifically.


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0:28:30.5 Client: I think that I find that I’m then overwhelming so I think what I’m doing I probably put too many things on in the first place and I’m not being selective enough. [laughter] that’s the thing I find difficult. I just end up with so many lists and it’s just not… So I think I’ve realized I just want to talk into thinking that’s where I’m going wrong. Because if I put too many things down I’m just getting overwhelmed.

0:28:50.5 Paula: Yep. I think that what’s coming in here and it’s reminding me of a little bit of what we coached on last week with the one thing is, we need to practice making a decision and leaning into it and trusting it. Because there’s also going to be this like “Is this the right one? Is this the right? One which one’s going to be the most important?” And I really think that decision making is a skill. Like it’s something we need to learn how to do, and build up the muscle, and do that and in… I think in two weeks the unit is on decision making. But I think that might be coming in here too where we want to have one or two things or whatever. But then practice choosing one, releasing the idea that there might be a best one, choosing any of them, because doing something would actually be the best thing. Because you’re showing your brain that you can make a decision and move forward on it.

0:29:42.6 Client: So do you think there’s a place to just put all the other ideas that are in my head just so I know that I’ve passed them. Because I think this is where the difficulty I have. But I think “Oh I need to… You know that might be the important thing” so now I’m just completely contradicting myself about making decisions and all that.

0:29:56.9 Paula: That’s where I have my… I have my brilliant idea list which is literally what it’s titled and it’s a google doc. And I have all of my ideas in it and then it’s a reminder for my brain “I got you”. It’s for sure going to be in my brilliant ideas list because it’s a google doc, so it’s living everywhere. If I have an idea I can put it in my phone, I can put it on my computer, I can use my iPad. Like wherever I’m at I have it. And so that… It’s always captured.

0:30:24.4 Client: But then all these other lists, they’re almost just like… They’re like really the tasks like “Oh, I need to do this thing for this customer. I need to… ” so they’re not really good ideas they’re just random tasks that I just think odd to put them all in the list. And so should I just have a like “random tasks list” that I’m never going to do, just put them on the list as well.

0:30:40.7 Paula: Well if these are things you genuinely need to do… I would decide whether you genuinely need to do them this week or this month. And then whatever planner you’re using, like, I use my planner so I will put it in the weekly to-do list, in that a thought download, or in my monthly to-do list. And that way it’s captured there. And if I don’t get it done that week or that month I know I can transfer it to the next one. But I know it’s captured.

0:31:06.7 Client: I just think they all need to be done. I suppose that’s what the thing is. But yeah I suppose they don’t because they’re not being done anyway. So that’s the point. And then they make me feel overwhelmed. So if I was much more selective in the first place and they… Yeah so either way they don’t get done. So it might as well, I might as well be, yeah, more proactive at choosing. Select, yeah, thank you. Yeah, that was helpful just to talk that through.

0:31:30.3 Paula: I love it. I love it. Super helpful. Thank you for sharing it. What’s up?

0:31:40.7 Client: I have been in this… So I’ve been experimenting this week for the first time with the… So the the prioritization quadrant that I’ve always done before. It’s either usually effort, like based on the amount of effort or energy. And this I’ve always been very, very resistant to the important and non-urgent important, like that quadrant? And I realized this week why. And that is because I cannot seem to get myself to do important, non-urgent work. And so I’ve done a lot of journaling, a lot of self-coaching about it this week, and what I keep coming back to, the belief I want to change is that… And there’s some… Like I’ve been doing a lot of really deep inner critic work in therapy, and trying to talk to her and let her know you’ve gotten me to 32, you got me through college and the first six years of being an adult without an ADHD diagnosis. That’s amazing. You can rest now. So that’s a work in progress but…

0:32:39.3 Paula: Yeah.

0:32:39.3 Client: It’s like this belief that I can’t be productive or get a task done unless it is the 11th hour, unless I am under a ton of pressure. And I have specific task examples I can give you for coaching. But it’s just this… It’s this belief and I want… I know in my true aura deep down whatever my inner knowing self, I know that that’s not true and I know that I actually do better work that feels better after the fact if I can give myself space to do it, and like come at it from a place of groundedness versus panic because I gotta get it done. But I’m having such a hard time. I’m only doing urgent stuff all the time.

0:33:20.6 Paula: Okay.

0:33:20.6 Client: And it’s, some of it’s important urgent stuff. A lot of it is value-based work, but it’s the move the needle stuff, that important non-urgent stuff, I’m just not doing it.

0:33:34.9 Paula: Okay. So I want to look at this from a couple of angles. ‘Cause this is really important. When you think about the important non-urgent, are these things that you genuinely want to do? Are these desires that are a full body yes, or are they shoulds, or have-to’s, or “Well this is what everyone else says I need to do” type tasks.

0:34:32.7 Client: Excellent question. For the most specific example and the thing that I’ve been putting off for four weeks, it is a need and want to do. So it’s part of it’s… I’ve been working with a client and I’ve gotten… It’s that whole thing of like 70% of the project is done and she has just been over the moon happy with all the work I’ve done. I’ve only gotten 50, I did a 50% upfront deposit. So I don’t get the rest of the money until I finish the rest of the work. And there’s like five pieces of work left and I’ve tried it all kinds of different… Like I’ve tried to say like… They have been on, and I know what the steps are. When I sit down to do it, I know what it is exactly that I’ll need to do.

0:35:16.5 Client: But it’s just that it’s more content work rather than like coming up with copy, and like content kind of bores me. I know that I’m learning lessons for next time that if I am going to include content in the scope that I’m going to bring someone on to help me with that, because it’s like watching paint dry on a wall to me. Like I just hate researching and writing lead magnet and blogpost type content. It makes me… And I know you know what those are because you have lots of beautiful, amazing lead magnets. But I need to get these pieces done, because if I don’t then the project isn’t complete and I don’t get the rest of the money. And I would really like the rest of the money. I would really like to get this stuff done before the end of the year. But the other thing is that she’s super busy herself so she’s not checking in regularly. She’s like, “Yeah, whenever you can give them to me, it’s fine.” So my brain knows that there is no real deadline and so it’s just week after week after week of just, “I’ll worry about it next week, next week, next week.”

0:35:44.9 Paula: Okay. So is there technically room in your schedule to be able to work on this? Because you mentioned that you are doing a lot of the important and urgent, right? Like that you’ll make room for. Is there actually time in the day when you think about your schedule? Do you have the hours to do these things?

0:36:04.6 Client: I would have to move some of the non-urgent things. Some of the non-urgent, non-important stuff, and then I would. But I don’t want to do that because that stuff’s easy. [laughter] or fun or whatever.

0:36:19.7 Paula: Yeah. And you mean for work stuff, right? We’re not talking about…

0:36:24.3 Client: Yes.

0:36:24.4 Paula: Time for you, for fun. Okay. We’re not cutting out that part. Okay.

0:36:26.6 Client: I’ve been meeting my needs really well for like the last probably two weeks. I’ve been like taking breaks and it’s so… I just don’t want to do it.

0:36:34.3 Paula: Yeah. Okay. Why don’t we want to do it? You’ve mentioned boredom.

0:36:39.5 Client: That’s the primary driver. So the work that’s already done is the website copy and that’s by far the hardest. And that’s done. And that was, I avoided that, but for different reasons, right? I wanted to get it perfect, and so I avoided, I did the dance, and then I did it. It was very satisfying and fun and she loves it. This, I truthfully think it is boredom and there is this part of me that’s like “The important stuff for this project is already done.” Like part of my brain is lax on it cause I’m basically done with her. But I’m not.

0:37:12.1 Paula: Okay. So just for everybody, I want all of you to be thinking about that boring task you genuinely do not want to do because we all have this thing. Okay. So when I’m working through these questions, make sure you’re thinking of your boring thing. Okay. So we have this thing done. Now that is a powerful thought that you just identified, which is, “Well I’m basically done” but we know we’re not, right? When we think about doing these steps, you said you know what they are, if you broke them down, all of that, how much time do you think we’re talking? Are we talking three weeks of eight hour days? Are we talking four hours total? Where are we at?

0:37:55.3 Client: Probably like five to six hours total. Okay. That’s is probably all it would take.

0:38:00.7 Paula: Okay. So we’re thinking six hours of boredom.

0:38:05.7 Client: Oh. Yeah.

0:38:08.2 Paula: Okay. Six hours of boredom. How many hours have you been in this fight?

0:38:18.6 Client: Way more than six. Way more than six. The amount of time and energy that I have spent over the last four to six weeks of just the emotional drama that I’ve had about just getting this crap done so I can be done with it? I think there’s also some other thing too of being afraid to get it over the finish. Because most… A lot of the clients I work with, it’s like an ongoing thing and I’ve probably only had maybe a dozen of these project based ones. And I’m thinking this always actually does happen. When I get to that last 30%, I think there’s still something in me that’s resistant to like actually finishing and being able to say like, “Wow, I just completed that.” I don’t know, there’s something about like succeeding or finishing that I’m feeling some resistance to. In addition to the boredom. Straight up boredom.

0:38:58.8 Paula: And just so I can clarify on that, is it more of a capacity self-concept of “Oh, I’m a person who finishes things” and that feels uncomfortable? Or is there like a scarcity around “Oh, now this client is done and I have this space to fill”?

0:39:18.1 Client: That’s a good question. I’m going to say in some cases I can look back and say it was definitely the latter. But in this time I already had to tell a client yesterday I’m at a two week lead time, right? Because they asked me for something. I was like, “I’m at like a two week lead time right now.” So it is the former for sure.

0:39:36.1 Paula: Okay. Okay. So that’s going to be where we pause, right? So that’s going to be some uncomfortable, stretchy growth work of being with the capacity of stepping into that identity. If I’m a person who gets things done. But we won’t go there yet. We just know that’s coming down the pipeline. Let’s look at boredom first.

0:39:54.6 Client: Yes.

0:39:55.6 Paula: So you mentioned… Oh yeah. You said you’ve had all this turmoil, this emotional drama in your body when you’re avoiding it. Now we all know this feeling, right? For you and for everybody on the call, I want you to think about this too. But for you, what does that turmoil feel like in your body? What are those sensations.

0:40:15.7 Client: It just makes me very, it makes me feel very fidgety. Like it’s… There’s just this uncontrollable urge to like, I can’t sit still. I definitely feel discomfort in my torso.

0:40:29.7 Paula: Yeah?

0:40:31.4 Client: But it’s not the same as when I have shame or anxiety or sadness. It’s just, it’s very… I don’t know. It’s like I can almost feel like two opposing forces inside of me. Like I can feel a battle.

0:40:46.4 Paula: Like a battle?

0:40:46.5 Client: Yeah.

0:40:46.6 Paula: Or a stretching or something. Or a… Like it’s moving in some way.

0:40:49.9 Client: Yes.

0:40:52.1 Paula: Okay. So we have the fidgety feeling like it’s through our limbs and everything, and we have this uncontrollable need to move. We have in our torso this pulling, stretching battle of tension here. Focused in the torso.

0:41:06.1 Client: Yes.

0:41:09.8 Paula: Okay. So that’s the experience that we’ve had for the last month or so.

0:41:13.0 Client: Yeah.

0:41:16.2 Paula: Okay. Tell me, what does boredom feel like in your body?

0:41:20.2 Client: It is very uncomfortable. But it’s less in my body. Actually, I’ve never… It’s boredom is 90% only your mental, there’s very little physical. It does lead to a fidgety… ’cause it’s like an impatience almost about it. But the discomfort is primarily mental. I can be in a completely relaxed state and be bored, but my body can be completely relaxed.

0:41:50.7 Paula: Okay. Okay. So your body can be there. It’s mostly mental.

0:41:58.6 Client: Mm-hmm.

0:42:00.2 Paula: Okay. Are you willing to experience some of that mental boredom and work on one of the six hours rather than feeling the fidgety restlessness of the emotional drama?

0:42:15.9 Client: Yeah. Especially because I can… If I get the time timer out, and I know I only have to do it for an hour or whatever.

0:42:23.3 Paula: Or 30 minutes or whatever feels accessible.

0:42:25.6 Client: Yeah. It might start… Might start even smaller. Yeah. ‘Cause boredom never like… It is uncomfortable, but when it comes to work things, I know that it’s temporary.

0:42:34.9 Paula: How does that thought feel for you? “It’s only temporary.”

0:42:42.5 Client: It feels good. And it feels believable.

0:42:43.2 Paula: Yeah.

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0:42:46.2 Client: And I know that I have other fun, more satisfying work waiting for me. I know it’s a better battle to have than when I’m avoiding because it’s temporary. It’s just… I just gotta get it done. Like I just gotta get it done.

0:43:01.5 Paula: And we can be compassionate with the brain, because writing, it’s really a demand on your executive function. Especially when you wouldn’t choose to write about that. So we can have some compassion for the brain when there’s that resistance too, of like, “Oh gosh, I have to do this.” And I’m like, “I know. I really appreciate you for showing up and putting these different concepts together and paragraphs that make sense. You’re doing a really good job. ‘Cause I know this is demanding and you don’t love it. Thank you for showing up.”

0:43:27.3 Client: I love that. I like that idea a lot.

0:43:32.6 Paula: Awesome.

0:43:35.0 Client: Thank you.

0:43:36.1 Paula: Thanks for sharing that. That’s amazing. Anyone else have questions? Go ahead. Yeah.

0:43:42.2 Client: Do you have some routine or a practice in the morning to remind you of what your goals and your why are? I’m just… My memory is… [chuckle] Like I said this week it’s just “What goal?” [laughter] It’s like, oh my god. You know? And that’s where the procrastiwork like really kicks into high gear.

0:44:09.7 Paula: Yeah. So I do. And I have kind of different iterations of it. So my book is so wrinkly from when I spilled all over it. But in the daily planning pages, like I have the focus time that I want to do, and then I have that space of “This is important to me because”. And to complete this thing, I’m willing to feel. And when I step into that, this is what I’m doing. This is really important to me because of this and I’m willing to feel the tightness in my chest, the restlessness in my arms, the boredom, the frustration, the annoyance, the vulnerability, whatever, that helps me recenter. And then if I’m still feeling a lot of resistance, then I will do a self coaching with curiosity, “Why don’t I want to do this right now? What’s in the way?” Just as if I was talking to a client, like “What do we think’s in the way here?”

0:45:01.9 Paula: And I just treat myself as a client and coach my brain on it. And so I might run a model, do a thought download, run a model, see what’s going on. So again, first with just the planner, reminding myself of the goal, why it’s important, what I’m willing to feel. And then if I’m still in a lot of resistance, I get a little more curious and do that. And then sometimes my thinking brain is offline, and I need to get more somatic into it. And so I might do the focused tapping or something like that to help me get clarity in that way, or the alternate nostril breathing that we talked about last week. Something like that to help bring some clarity, bringing me back and focusing. So those are kind of the things that I tend to do.

0:45:43.9 Client: Okay. Thanks for all the tips today. Thank you so much.

0:45:47.4 Paula: Oh yeah, absolutely. Thank you all for sharing. You are all such rock stars. I so appreciate you. If you have any other questions throughout the week, drop them in the Facebook group, and we’ll connect there. And otherwise, I will see you all next week. Bye.

0:46:06.7 Paula: What did I tell you? There is so much wrapped up in this week’s episode in regard to procrastiworking, and getting to bed on time, and keeping our projects front and center, and navigating transition, doing those things that we just don’t want to do. How do we get started on them? And I hope that you were able to take away a few key concepts that are going to help you move forward in this world of task initiation and working with your ADHD brain. And again, if you would like to join us in the next cohort, do head to imbusybeingawesome.com/group. We are open for enrollment right now for the February group and I’d love to have you join us.


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