How to start a task? Strategies to get active and not procrastinate

In one session Kevin explicitly asked about how to go about starting work when he sets out to do so. He is a freelancer, just like many people who suffer from ADHD. She works from home, offering solutions in digital marketing. He suffers from "wake-up latency". 

Activation latency is the time it takes for a person to start with a task from the moment he thinks about starting it until you actually start it. 

It can be measured also, in relation to the schedule that had been set.  

For example, if the first step is to check Trello (application task management), latency activation would be 1 hour if the check had been scheduled at 10:00 am and finally opened Trello at 11:00 am. 

Go to the article on coaching for productivity for people suffering ADHD

La activation latency can be extremely variable:




-Infinite: when the person knows that he has to do something but never does it. 

An example is Tom who knows that he has had a dental implant for 3 years, and has not yet made an appointment with the dentis 

It is not so easy to determine why a person has difficulty initiating an action. 

The common pattern is usually some deficit in what we call executive functions. 

These functions are used to solve medium or long-term problems. That is, settings in which the gratification would be deferred and not immediate. 

In the case of ADHD, fails inhibition and emotional regulation.

Inhibition allows Kevin to pause, assess his behavior, remember his goals and imagine how rewarding it could be the payment received to the end the task described in Trello. 

Emotional regulation serves to modulate and calibrate the emotions to be consistent with the task that Kevin needs to do. If Kevin is afraid of the potential difficulty of the task, he will tend to avoid that task. Emotional regulation serves to modulate and reduce that fear or anxiety and begin the task despite that unpleasant feeling. 

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder do the best they can. The deficit is in the executive funcionts: activation latency is not a choice but a limitation. 

There are multiple strategies to deal with excessive activation latency. 

The first step is to receive a proper diagnosis. 

Certain psychotropic drugs can help with inhibition and / or emotional regulation. 

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Here are some tips you can try:

  1. Measure activation latency
  • Schedule a block time to perform "the task". 
  • At the moment the task begins, put a chronometer. 
  • Take the latency time and write it down. 
  1. Use a to-do list activation. 
  • Take a sheet, write down the micro steps necessary to activate. 
  • Order the steps. 
  • Highlight the first step. 
  • Start that first step.  
  1. Set an incentive at the end of the task 
  • Choose a reward or punishment that comes immediately upon completion of the task. 

For example, have a coffee, play a game of a video game, watch a music video or go for a walk in the fresh air. 

In a few words: procrastinationcaused by a high activation latency, is a typical difficulty in people with ADHD or ADD.

It is not a whim or a choice, but a symptom of this neuropsychological problem. 

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