FAQs - ADHD Task Initiation
What is Task Initiation?
Task Initiation is, simply put, just getting started. It's an executive functioning skill. It refers to the ability to begin a project or a task in a timely manner, without procrastination. If you're struggling to get started, you might need some help with task initiation!
What is ADHD?
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects a person's focus, hyperactivity and impulsive traits. It usually manifests itself in three ways:
Predominantly inattentive: In such conditions, a person may lack prolonged attention, have trouble understanding and following directions, or be prone to distraction. Inattention can be accompanied by poor working memory.
Predominantly hypersensitive-impulsive: This condition includes restlessness, constant fidgeting, talking fast or physical activity to release nervous energy, and making spur-of-the-moment, impulsive choices.
Combined: Some people with ADHD do not show symptoms dominant to inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive behavior, but rather have mixed traits that affect their overall productivity.
(A note of caution: ADHD is a recognised medical condition that should never be self-diagnosed. Even if any symptoms mentioned here resonate with you, consult a specialized medical professional for a proper understanding)
Who Is This Tool for?
This tool is for anyone who's struggling to get started on a task! Just enter what your task is -- and we'll break it down, and coach you through it step by step!
What's the link between ADHD and Task Initiation?
ADHD symptoms can impair executive function in many ways. Inattention makes it difficult to plan and make a proper working schedule, or to be mindful of time. Hyperactive and impulsive behaviour also brings up problems in focus and keeping distractions at bay. In all, it can make task initiation difficult because the ADHD brain resists using energy to start and complete tasks as they need to be done.
But it is important to break this executive dysfunction because if you are unable to use enough energy to start even one task, you'll never be able to get anything done. It can also let other problems creep up that affect productivity:
Procrastination, or the art of delaying things endlessly, is the bane of productivity. When people with ADHD struggle with task initiation constantly, it can lead to them putting off tasks for long periods, so much so that deadlines pass by frequently, or the original goal itself does not make sense and needs to be changed.
And if you're not careful, procrastination can become a habit, and soon all important tasks are derailed because you're unable to simply get them started.
Goals become too big and intimidating
The more you wait to initiate tasks, the bigger they seem, so much so that you're intimidated just thinking about it. This gives rise to low self esteem and doubt, and the once simple goal appears out of reach. While the ideal way to avoid it is breaking tasks into manageable chunks, this itself becomes too tedious and you start to avoid tasks or abandon the big goal altogether.
Fear of imperfection
When a goal is important to you, there is a lot of pressure in getting it right. Most of it is self-inflicted --you want everything to be perfect so you can get the best possible reward you've always dreamed of. But this also brings up the tendency to waiting for all the stars to align, and time that could actually be spent productively is wasted worrying about the little imperfections.
Lack of organization while starting tasks
Even if you can muster up the courage to start tasks, it is often in a haphazard manner, where you just begin activities without really thinking about how you want to approach things, make a to-do list, and set yourself up for success. Such disorganization also makes it difficult to reduce distractions, and you're more likely to abandon what you're doing in favor of other things.
Lack of motivation and stimulation
Internal motivation is so important to not just start, but also finish tasks. The momentum you gain with consistency and progress is what gets you to the end line. But if you start without zeal, you'll have nothing encouraging you to keep going, and simple tasks will seem like another chore you need to avoid.
Overreliance on the urgency of deadlines
The brain often looks for short bursts of adrenaline to get working. So, people with ADHD often put off things to the last minute, to rely on that sense of urgency to find a new gear and get work done. But this can be counterproductive because if you keep delaying a new task to the point where you reach an acute emergency, you could make real trouble for yourself and others.
How to make sure you can complete tasks?
Now we've seen the difficulties in managing task initiation with ADHD, but don't let these discourage you. There are ways to get started on goals in an organized, efficient way and make sure you follow through:
Break tasks down with our ADHD Task Initiation Tool!
Most of the time, you avoid a goal because your brain deems it too big and unwieldy, or you simply don't know how to get started. The best way is to break down this big goal into smaller tasks with manageable steps and take each one as it comes. Task completion is easy when you take it one small bite at a time!
Try Crunch, our Task Initiation Tool! Crunch helps break down any goal into the tiniest possible steps so you can make progress little by little, gain momentum and maybe even have fun doing it!
Set your your deadline
Instead of waiting for the last-minute scramble or simply watching deadlines pass by, set your own milestones. This is not to pressure you but to help improve your time management skills so you can get organized and start working.
Make a schedule and stick to it
Once you have your steps ready, make a schedule to create a routine to help you establish consistency. Try to make it so that you approach the various steps of the goal at the same time every day, so you can set an internal clock and subconsciously start looking forward to it when you begin work.
You can also break your schedule using the pomodoro technique (for example, 20 minutes of work and a 5-minute break). This will keep your mind fresh and alert so you can give yourself time to switch gears when the break timer rings.
Set a reward system
Positive reinforcement is always a great motivator. Set up a rewards system so you can treat yourself with every step you finish. Make these rewards realistic and proportionate to the task you're taking up, so as you go bigger, you get more treats.
Let go of the perfection pursuit
Nothing is truly perfect, so stop waiting for the "right time and place" to get things done. Sometimes it is important to just finish something so you can finetune it, so just buckle up and get started.
If you feel the need to have someone support task initiation strategies you try now, get an accountability buddy! It could be a coach, an accountability buddy, an app, or a body doubling partner who is with you every step of the way to encourage, advise and even set you straight, when needed.
How does BaaS help in task initiation?
Speaking of accountability partners, why not try Boss as a Service? We only have one agenda -- to help you get productive and meet all your goals. With daily check-ins, we make sure you're not just initiating tasks but also completing them.