How to complete a to-do list for people with ADHD

Why are things so difficult to get started? For people with ADHD, the tasks that need to be completed seem very onerous-a pile of laundry, dust removal and mopping, and cabinet reorganization. Doing nothing usually feels easier. As these unfinished tasks increase, dealing with any of them seems to be an impossible chore.

What is needed to complete the work?

Dr. Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist and founder of Hallowell’s Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health, and co-author of the book Driven to Distraction, as well as the author of many other books on mental health, explained that starting and finishing one This task requires:

  1. An organized (usually hierarchical) understanding of task steps.
  2. The ability to successfully transition from one step to one step.
  3. Be able to stay focused long enough to complete all steps.
  4. The ability to complete the project and move on.

How ADHD hinders task completion

“Three of these areas—organization, transition, and focus—are particularly difficult for people with ADHD,” said Dr. Hallowell. “In fact, these characteristics are used to help diagnose whether someone has ADHD on the DSM-5 and World Health Organization ADHD screening tests.”

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Dr. Hallowell explained that it is the way the brain is wired that makes starting a new task so difficult, especially a boring task. “ADHD is a way of being in the world. It is produced by complex interactions in the brain (imaging of the brain shows that the brain responds in different regions and at different intensities compared to the brain without ADHD), and the brain How do the neurotransmitters in the brain send (or don’t send) dopamine and other important chemicals in response to certain stimuli.” In other words, an ordinary and boring task will not stimulate your ADHD brain at all.

A spoonful of sugar makes boring work fun

Fortunately, there are some ways to solve this problem. “The best way is to find a way to make the task interesting,” said Dr. Hallowell. “If you have to wash clothes, maybe you can practice free throws with rolled up socks, or plug in your iPod while washing clothes and dance. If you can’t make the whole task interesting, then break it down into smaller ones Part, and interspersed with rewards. For example, pay the first 50% or your bill, then stop for a latte, complete the second half and reward yourself with something you really like! (Don’t cheat! Don’t give yourself until you finish prize!)”

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Dr. Hallowell emphasized the importance of a positive approach. “Let yourself be proud of starting (and completing) a task. The ability to feel good about your accomplishments makes the next similar task easier. Some people find that reminding themselves to start a task is important to another person, such as a spouse, It also helps them get started. Anything you can do can make the task feel less burdensome because you expect it to be helpful. Although everyone’s specific solutions are different, the best way is to make you playful Shine.”

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