Stepping out of the car, the crisp spring air caressed my skin. Taking a deep breath, I reveled in a moment of satisfaction, proud of myself for finally returning the impulse garbage can purchase from the week before.
Sure, I had other plans for the day. But instead, I chose to leave the confines of my home office, where I’d been holed up for days, to enjoy a bit of the outside world. My spirits were high, and I walked with a bounce in my step.
Remembering an article I read, caused a shift in my mood though. Now, instead of congratulating myself for actually returning this within the 14 day window though, I realized I had just succumbed to “procrastivity.”
“Procrastivity” is a newer term. It describes when we bypass high-priority tasks by engaging in other, perhaps less urgent, activities. Though these tasks have value, they can become counterproductive by diverting our attention and energy away from more pressing matters.
The Interplay of Procrastivity, Procrastination, and ADHD
To the casual observer, it may seem like ADHD’ers are just procrastinating and dodging important tasks for something more fun. But for those of us with ADHD, sometimes this is essential for our well-being AND productivity.
Forcing ourselves to do things we don’t want to do can make it even harder to do, a fact backed by SPECT scans.
And let’s be real: when else would we tackle the laundry or the 10 million other tasks on our to-do lists?
In all seriousness though, I don’t think “procrastivity” isn’t inherently bad for those of us with ADHD. To be honest, I’m not even convinced that full-on procrastination is totally negative for us either!
And actually, I wonder if it might even be a necessary coping strategy?
But, if it is, I think that it is probably important to approach it with intention.
For instance, if I’m struggling to begin a blog post, what alternatives do I have if I can’t seem to get into it?
I could sit, stare at the screen, and lose myself in unending Google searches or social media scrolls. Or, I could:
- Return an impulsive purchase, then settle in a coffee shop to work on my post.
- Choose a “not-urgent yet” task from my long-term goals list and make some progress on it.
- Phone a friend or family member where the conversation might provide the dopamine kick needed to jumpstart that blog post.
Recognizing our “purposeful procrastination” helps us choose tasks wisely, giving us a feeling of achievement. This success can then motivate us to tackle our original, less enticing task.
“Procrastivity” is when we tackle other tasks instead of the big ones we planned. Especially for those with ADHD, this isn’t necessarily a negative detour.
The trick is picking tasks thoughtfully.
While it’s important to focus on major to-dos, occasionally diving into smaller or ore interesting tasks can give our minds a refreshing pause. And for the ADHD crew, mixing it up like this can lead to some unexpected wins—like suddenly conquering that waiting laundry pile.