Help with Procrastination - and an alternative to medication for ADHD!

OK, if procrastination is a big part of your ADHD, start by going to this web site: There you will find a product called The MotiAider. Several years ago I notice this and similar products were endorsed by Dr. Russell Barkley, the leading researcher in ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sometimes called ADD). There you are going to find a simple, inexpensive and useful device called the MotiAider. It's a simple reminder system that can help with staying on task, changing behaviours, and avoiding procrastination. Why would I suggest this device. Because it simply makes sense. It does what I always asks parents and teachers to do: Provides a positive prompt or cue - an EXTERNAL CUE - to you, your child or student, about a simple skill, task or behaviour they should engage in. It doesn't step in AFTER a mistake and correct - instead, at a steady rate -in preloads you or your student to be successful. Lately I've been emailing back and forth with Steve Levinson, PhD, President at Behavioral Dynamics, Inc. who makes this device (there are several other similar ones, including wrist watches) and want to share some of what he has given me permission to put on the website: "Let’s face it, procrastination sucks. It’s exhausting, stressful, and it can do a number on your self-esteem and career. Even though you eventually finish most of the unpleasant tasks you put off, you pay dearly for having postponed them. It takes lots of extra energy to avoid doing something you know you must do. One of the world’s most famous psychologists, William James, put it best when he said, “Nothing is as fatiguing as the hanging on of an uncompleted task.” "If you’re a chronic procrastinator, learning time management techniques can be, well, a waste of time. That’s because time management is like dieting. It’s not enough to know what you really should do. To get results, you have to actually do it. You probably already know that it makes sense to tackle unpleasant tasks right away. But when a truly unpleasant task is staring you right in the face, doing what makes sense is no match for the powerful urge to put it off." "To avoid procrastination, you must first understand the psychology of procrastination. Although chronic procrastinators may assume that their brains are wired entirely differently from the brains of people who make a habit of jumping in right away and doing whatever needs to be done, I disagree. Procrastinators and non-procrastinators are more alike than they are different. We all do what we’ve decided we should do only when we actually feel like we must do it." "When faced with an unpleasant task, we don’t get moving until we reach the point where leaving the unpleasant task undone actually feels worse than doing it. In other words, we all wait until the last minute. The only difference between non-procrastinators and procrastinators is that for non-procrastinators, the last minute comes sooner!" "If you’re willing to think about procrastination as the result of being slow to reach the “Get Moving” point, I have good news for you. There is a solution. The way to stop procrastinating is to make the last minute come sooner. By making the last minute come sooner, you can dramatically reduce the amount of time and energy you’d otherwise waste avoiding an unpleasant task that you’ll eventually have to do anyway." "Suppose there’s a report that you absolutely dread working on that’s due in a month. You estimate that the report will take several extremely unpleasant hours to complete. You have the time available, and you tell yourself that you really should just tackle the task right away and get it off your back instead of letting it nibble away at you for the next few weeks." "Yes, that’s what should happen. But you know yourself well enough to know what actually will happen. Despite your good intentions, you’ll end up putting off the unpleasant task until the very last minute − maybe a couple of days before its due − and in a panic, with the clock feeling like a knife in your back, you’ll get the report done on time − like you always do." "But suppose this time, instead of just relying on your good intentions, you deliberately change the situation to make the last minute come sooner. You do it in a way that at first glance seems nearly insane. You write out a check for $5,000 to a political party you absolutely despise. Then you give the check to your assistant with strict orders to mail it next Tuesday unless you show up with the finished report before then." "Now that you’re in the new situation you created, you still dread doing the report. In fact, you still put it off until the last minute. But this time, the last minute comes much sooner! Because you reach the “Get Moving” point sooner, you won’t have to wait so long or suffer so much to get the pesky job done and off your back. And you’ll have a delightfully smooth ride through the rest of the month. To conquer procrastination: Realize that what eventually gets you in gear is the pressure of the last minute. Treat pressure as your friend rather than your enemy − as the solution rather than the problem. Be willing to deliberately create situations that make the last minute come sooner." I think this is all GREAT advice, and working with the MotiAider it's something that we have a much, much better chance at succeeding in. Theres an excellent book for adults available on using this system, and a FREE downloadable book for using it with children and teens. (Some may want to use a less conspicuous device such as the wrist watch system ...that should be discussed and decided before you make any purchases). Now clearly this is just one step in helping those with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADD). Medication is also highly effective, especially with issues of hyperactivity, impulse control, managing emotions, focusing attention and transitioning from one task or activity to another (switching mental sets). And neither medication nor the Motiaider is going to help you work with complex problems, large issues, planning, picking out what is important or developing study skills. Addressing ADHD is a multi-phased problem, and most people need a therapist or professionally trained coach (who has a background in behavioural psychology). But just as the Cogmed System can help with working memory issues -which are often a hugh stumbling block for individuals with ADHD, finding a way to get positive, external prompts and cues out there in the environment is critical to successfully treating all of the components of ADHD. (We also need to remember that nearly 50% of individuals with ADHD/ADD also have a comorbid condition such as a specific learning disability, depression, anxiety or mood disorder. These need to be assessed and treated as well.) If your interested, take a look at the website above. I don't think this is a one step cure all for ADHD. But it's a good and smart component of a total program. Feel free to call me, and look at my web page at or We can set up an appointment, review your history, arrange any testing or assessment that might be necessary and start you on a comprehensive program to deal with ADHD.
Posted on July 24, 2012 and filed under "ADHD", "Burnaby", "Procrastination", "Vancouver", "add", "adolescent", "adult", "child".