Sharon Saline Psy.D.

ADHD, Engaged and Motivated

How to embrace the grit method and get stuff done..

Posted September 3, 2020

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Do you wonder why you struggle with starting things, sticking with them and finishing up?

Initiation, sustained attention , focus and goal-directed persistence are executive functioning skills that are naturally impacted by ADHD . Many emerging adults just like you struggle with these capacities because of how the ADHD brain is wired. Sometimes there are tasks you begin quickly and complete easily. At other moments, things appear so complicated that you avoid getting started altogether. Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

We know that interest fosters motivation . There are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic (also known as external) motivation means doing something to get something: it refers to an outside reward. You have to turn in your forms for a class trip to the museum or you can’t go. Intrinsic (also known as internal) motivation refers to goals that we set for ourselves. You want to reach the next level on your computer game or run a mile in eight minutes.

Intrinsic (also known as internal) motivation—doing something because it feels good—fully matures in neurotypical brains in the early twenties and in ADHD brains, about three years later. So, you’ve got to set external goals and rewards for yourself to foster the growth of internal satisfaction later. Do the dishes and then watch television; finish studying and reward yourself with an hour of gaming. Put the "have-tos" before the "want-tos."

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Many older teens and emerging adults think that the ultimate goal of any task is completion, getting a good end product. While that’s important, what’s even more critical for people with ADHD is focusing on efforting: how you’re applying yourself to a situation, whether you can come back to it after a break and if you are engaged solidly in the process of doing it. In other words, what will it take for you to feel good about your efforts, even if the outcome takes longer to reach or doesn’t turn out exactly as you’ve imagined it?

Part of feeling proud of your efforts means confronting and reducing procrastination . Procrastination usually occurs because the task seems too big and overwhelms you. There are three types of procrastination: perfection (“If I can’t do it exactly right, I’m not going to try”), avoidance (“This is impossible; I’d rather do anything else”), and productive (“I’ll do something else that needs to get done so I feel productive even though I’m not doing the thing I have to accomplish”).

To reduce procrastination, you have to break stuff down into smaller pieces—small enough that you can actually begin without feeling overwhelmed. No size is too little if you’re having trouble starting. Once you get going, you’ll gain some momentum to counteract the negative chatter in your head.

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The GRIT Method will help you create a map for success so you stay engaged and motivated to do what needs to be done. Grit is the steadfastness and persistence that enables you to begin, stick with, and finish something. Some people with ADHD think they don’t have grit but I disagree. I am often so impressed by the many things they do each day that rely on an ability to overcome distractions, disinterest, and fatigue in spite of significant executive functioning challenges.

I know that you’ve got GRIT and here’s how I recommend that you use it:

G is for: Get situated, get goals in order, and give yourself tools. Set up for success by collecting the supplies you need and making your space conducive to working. Think about your goals, write down a list of up to four items, and order them by priority. Keep your goals realistic and make sure you consider deadlines. Don’t expect to do all of the research for a 10-page paper in one sitting. Break it down into a few study blocks. You want to feel a sense of progress and accomplishment when you stop for the day.

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R is for: Resist distraction and set reminders. Take a minute and list what things typically distract you and remove or reduce them. Ask yourself how long you can do something before you get bored . Then set up timed work periods with timed breaks. For example, if you can work for 30 minutes, set your alarm for 30 minutes. When it goes off, write yourself a note of where you left off, set the timer for 5 to 10 minutes and take a short break. When the alert goes off, return to what you were doing. Do this for an hour or two (if you like to hyperfocus) and then take a longer break with a meaningful reward.

I is for: Identify incentives and inquire about support. You have to set up your own incentives to get you through. Make a list of small incentives for shorter tasks or breaks (getting a snack, drink, fresh air, checking your phone, etc.) and larger incentives for bigger ones. Keep this handy so you can refer to it quickly. It’s tough to do this on your own so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Talk to your friends, family, learning support personnel at your school to assist you in setting up for success. Try finding a partner to work with so you can motivate each other.

how to get motivated to do school work adhd

T is for: Time management , take small steps, and talk to yourself. Figuring out how to use your time wisely is essential for successful motivation and follow-through. Many people with ADHD have time blindness: They struggle to understand what time feels like and how to manage it. Using alarms and alerts helps but you may benefit from more direct support so seek out the assistance you need. Progress means taking small steps and feeling good about them. Instead of saying “Why can’t I do this or that?” notice what you are able to do. Look back at whatever progress you’ve made with positivity instead of judgment. This validating self-talk builds your resilience and confidence .

Motivation and persistence depend on nurturing growth mindsets . When you follow this GRIT method, you’ll be on your way to engaging more in the process of doing things and believing that you can get stuff done!

Sharon Saline Psy.D.

Sharon Saline, Psy.D. , is a clinical psychologist and an expert in how ADHD, LD, and mental health affect children, teens and families. She is the author of What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew .

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7 Tips for College Students With ADHD

Shaheen Lakhan, MD, PhD, is an award-winning physician-scientist and clinical development specialist.

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Every autumn, thousands of students move away from the structure and safety of home to the freedoms of college life. While it's an exciting time filled with many possibilities for learning and growth, it can also be challenging academically and socially—especially for college students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Learn some of the challenges that college students with ADHD face, as well as strategies that can be used to overcome these obstacles. This includes learning how to study with ADHD and taking certain actions to foster friendships with other students.

Sarah D. Wright , ADHD coach and author of "Fidget to Focus: Outwit Your Boredom—Sensory Strategies for Living with ADD," explains that successful students usually have four qualities that help them achieve their goals:

  • Sticking with things even when the going gets tough (perseverance)
  • Ability to delay gratification and focus on the big picture
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Striking the right balance between fun and work

These particular skills, however, don’t come easily to people with ADHD. One of the hallmarks of this mental health condition is impaired executive functioning . This means that students with ADHD may struggle with staying organized, sticking to a plan, and managing time effectively.

How ADHD Affects College Students

College students often face more responsibilities, less structured time, increased distractions, and new social situations—all while lacking access to many of the support systems they had in high school. Impaired executive functioning can make handling these changes a bit harder for students with ADHD, resulting in:

  • Poor academic performance and achievement : Students with ADHD frequently report feeling dissatisfied with their grades. They may struggle in their classes due to difficulties starting and completing tasks, disorganization, problems remembering assignments, difficulty memorizing facts, and trouble working on lengthy papers or complex math problems .
  • Troubles with time management : Students with ADHD often have irregular lifestyles that result from poor time management. This can create problems with being on time, preparing and planning for the future, and prioritizing tasks.
  • Difficulty regulating and managing emotions : Students with ADHD also often struggle with social issues, negative thoughts, and poor self-esteem. Some ADHD symptoms can make friendships and other relationships more challenging while worrying about these issues contributes to poor self-image.

The good news is that these areas of executive function can be improved. For most college students with ADHD, the problem isn’t in knowing what to do, it's getting it done. Developing strategies that focus on this goal can lead to positive academic and social effects.

Tips for Succeeding in College With ADHD

There are several strategies you can use to help stay on track if you are a college student with ADHD. Here are seven that Wright suggests.

1. Take Steps to Start the Day on Time

There are three main factors that contribute to being late in the morning: Getting up late, getting sidetracked, and being disorganized.

If Getting Up Late Is an Issue

Set two alarms to go off in sequence. Put the first alarm across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Put the second where you know it will bother your roommates, increasing the consequences if you don’t get out of bed and turn it off. Set both alarms to go off early so you can take your time getting ready.

If Getting Sidetracked Is an Issue

If certain actions tend to derail you, like checking your email or reading the news, make it a rule that those activities must wait until later in the day so you can stay on task . Also, figure out how much time you need to dress, eat, and get organized, then set alarms or other reminders to cue these tasks.

Three options are:

  • Use a music mix as a timer . If you have 30 minutes to get ready, the schedule might look like this: wash and dress to songs 1 to 3, eat breakfast to songs 4 to 6, get your stuff together during song 7, and walk out the door by song 8. This option works best if you use the same mix every morning.
  • Use your phone or buy a programmable reminder watch so your alarms are always nearby.
  • Put a big wall clock in your room where you can easily see it . If your room is part of a suite with a common room and bathroom, put wall clocks in those spaces as well.

If Being Disorganized Is the Issue

Create a "launch pad" by your door. Collect all of the things you’ll need the next day the night before (like your backpack and keys), and put them on the pad so you can grab them and go. Include a note to help you remember important events for the day, such as an appointment or quiz.

2. Work With Your Urge to Procrastinate

Though it may sound counterproductive, if you feel the urge to procrastinate , go with it. When you have ADHD, sometimes things only get done right before they're due. At that point, nothing has higher priority, increasing the urgency and consequences if you don’t do them now. These qualities are what can finally make a task doable, so work with them.

If you plan to procrastinate, it's important to stack the deck so you can pull it off. For example, if you have to write a paper, make sure you’ve done the reading or research in advance and have some idea of what you want to write. Next, figure out how many hours you’ll need, block those hours out in your schedule, and then, with the deadline in sight, sit down and do it.

Understanding your tendency to procrastinate with ADHD can help you plan ahead so you won't be left scrambling to finish projects at the last minute.

3. Study Smarter, Not Harder

Boredom and working memory issues can make studying a bit more challenging for students with ADHD. Rather than trying harder to force the information into your head, get creative with the learning process.

If you're wondering how to study with ADHD, research shows that multi-modal learning or learning via a variety of different methods can be helpful. Ideas include:

  • Highlight text with different-colored pens.
  • Make doodles when taking notes.
  • Record notes as voice memos and listen to them as you walk across campus.
  • Use mnemonics to create funny ways to remember facts.
  • Stand up while you study.
  • Read assignments aloud using an expressive (not boring) voice.
  • If you can, get the audio version of a book you need to read and listen to it while you take notes and/or exercise.
  • Work with a study buddy.

These won't all work for every person, but try mixing up your strategies and see what happens. Taking study breaks every couple of hours and getting enough sleep are also part of studying smarter, not harder.

Sleep impacts learning in two main ways. First, sleep deprivation has a negative impact on  short-term memory , which is what you use to learn the materials when you study. Second, sleep is needed to move short-term memories into long-term memory, which is what you rely on when it's time to take the test.

Sleep is important for both short- and long-term memory, making it critical for both learning new material and recalling what you've learned.

4. Schedule Your Study Time

Many students with ADHD are highly intelligent. They can pull off a passing grade, or even a good one, in high school by cramming their studies in the night before a test.

This strategy doesn't work as well in college since cramming reduces your ability to retain what you've learned long-term . This can make it harder to remember what you need to know once you enter your field of choice.

One good rule of thumb for college students is to study two to two-and-a-half hours per week for every course credit hour. Put this time into your schedule to make sure you have it.

5. Plan and Prioritize Your Time

It may sound strange, but it's important to plan time to plan. If you don’t develop this habit, you may find yourself always being reactive with your day rather than proactive—the latter of which can help you take more control over your schedule .

Set aside time on Monday mornings to develop a high-level plan for the week, using Friday mornings to plan for the weekend. In addition, do a daily review of your plan over breakfast—possibly adding pertinent details—to make sure you know what’s coming your way that day.

When making your plans, differentiate between what you need to do and everything that can or should be done. Prioritize what needs to be done first, taking care of these items before moving on to lower-priority tasks on your list.

6. Implement Strategies to Stick to Your Plan

With ADHD, sticking to a plan is often difficult. If you like rewards, use them to assist with this. For instance, you might tell yourself, "I’ll read for two hours, then go to the coffee house." Having something to look forward to can make it easier to muster through your studies.

If you’re competitive, use this personality trait instead. Pick another student in your class whom you want to do better than and go for it. If you know that you respond to social pressure, make plans to study with classmates so you won’t let them down. Or hire a tutor so you have structured study time.

Research suggests that focusing on skills related to time management , target planning, goal setting, organization, and problem-solving can all be helpful for students with ADHD.

Hiring a coach can also be beneficial. There is growing evidence, both research-based and anecdotal, that supports ADHD coaching as a vital strategy in helping students learn to plan, prioritize, and persist in following their plans.

This type of coaching is sometimes described as a form of life coaching influenced by cognitive behavioral-type therapy , which helps people develop behaviors, skills, and strategies to better deal with ADHD symptoms. It can lead to greater self-determination and direction, reduced feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, and increased self-confidence and self-sufficiency.

7. Manage Your Medication

One study found that only around 53% of college students with ADHD adhere to their medication plan. Poor medication adherence can have serious consequences, contributing to poor academic performance and decreased graduation rates. 

Steps you can take to stay on top of your ADHD medications include:

  • Find a local healthcare provider : Regularly monitoring your medications helps ensure that you are at the best dosage for you. If you're going to school a long way from home, find a local healthcare provider to meet with regularly. You can also schedule regular visits with your university's health services.
  • Find a local pharmacy : Determine where you'll order and pick up your medication. Set reminders on your phone so you know when to refill your prescription. You may also be able to sign up for text reminders.
  • Store medications safely : Abuse of ADHD medications is on the rise on college campuses, even though this can result in high blood pressure, increased feelings of anger and distrust, trouble sleeping, and even strokes. Keep your ADHD medications in a safe location and never share them with others. 
  • Set reminders to take your medication : If you are struggling to take your medication as prescribed, consider using a reminder app or setting reminders on your phone.

Research points to medication as the most effective and available ADHD treatment option. However, it's important to talk to your care provider to decide the best treatment approach for your individual situation and needs.

Social Strategies for Students With ADHD

Interpersonal challenges are also common for college students with ADHD. While being out on your own for the first time can be exciting, this mental health condition can lead to difficulties in building and maintaining friendships .

CHADD—which stands for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, an organization funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—offers these tips:

  • Remember that you aren't the only one who feels the way you do . Other students may be feeling just as excited (and overwhelmed) as you. During orientation, help them feel more comfortable by being friendly and listening when they share their concerns.
  • Look for opportunities to meet and interact with others . You might make new friends in class, in your dorm, at the school cafeteria, or at other places on campus. View each of these locations as an opportunity to expand your social network .
  • Find activities or clubs to join. Colleges and universities are great places to explore hobbies and meet people who share your interests. Check out bulletin boards on campus or look at your school's website to learn more about the options that are available. 
  • Stay in contact with your current friends . Don't let your high school friendships fade into the background just because you're at college. While you're busy with new things and might not see each other every day, stay in touch by phone, text, social media, or email. Your current friends can be great sources of social support .

A Word From Verywell

Being proactive and getting strategies in place early on can increase your success as a college student with ADHD, both academically and socially. This can help make your transition to college life a happy, successful, and productive time.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. College students with ADHD .

Pineda-Alhucema W, Aristizabal E, Escudero-Cabarcas J, Acosta-López JE, Vélez JI. Executive function and theory of mind in children with ADHD: a systematic review . Neuropsychol Rev . 2018;28:341-358. doi:10.1007/s11065-018-9381-9

Kwon SJ, Kim Y, Kwak Y. Difficulties faced by university students with self-reported symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A qualitative study . Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health . 2018;12(12). doi:10.1186/s13034-018-0218-3

Ward N, Paul E, Watson P, et al. Enhanced learning through multimodal training: Evidence from a comprehensive cognitive, physical fitness, and neuroscience intervention .  Sci Rep . 2017;7(1):5808. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06237-5

Rommelse N, van der Kruijs M, Damhuis J, et al. An evidence-based perspective on the validity of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the context of high intelligence . Neurosci Biobehav Rev . 2016;71:21-47. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.08.032

Walck-Shannon EM, Rowell SF, Frey RF. To what extent do study habits relate to performance? CBE Life Sci Educ . 2021;20(1):ar6. doi:10.1187/cbe.20-05-0091

Wennberg B, Janeslätt G, Kjellberg A, Gustafsson P. Effectiveness of time-related interventions in children with ADHD aged 9-15 years: a randomized controlled study . Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry . 2018;27:329-342. doi:10.1007/s00787-017-1052-5

Prevatt F. Coaching for college students with ADHD .  Curr Psychiatry Rep . 2016;18(12):110. doi:10.1007/s11920-016-0751-9

ADHD medication adherence in college students-a call to action for clinicians and researchers: Commentary on 'transition to college and adherence to prescribed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication': erratum . J Dev Behav Pediatr . 2018;39(3):269. doi:10.1097/DBP.0000000000000568

Hall CL, Valentine AZ, Groom MJ, et al. The clinical utility of the continuous performance test and objective measures of activity for diagnosing and monitoring ADHD in children: a systematic review . Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry . 2016;25:677-699. doi:10.1007/s00787-015-0798-x

Stanford Medicine. Abuse of prescription ADHD medicines rising on college campuses .

Caye A, Swanson JM, Coghill D, Rohde LA. Treatment strategies for ADHD: an evidence-based guide to select optimal treatment . Mol Psychiatry . 2019;24:390-408. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0116-3

McKee TE. Peer relationships in undergraduates with ADHD symptomatology: selection and quality of friendships . J Atten Disord . 2017;21(12):1020-1029. doi:10.1177/1087054714554934

CHADD. Succeeding in college with ADD .

Rotz R, Wright SD. Fidget to focus: Outwit your boredom: Sensory strategies for living with ADD .

By Keath Low  Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD.

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10 Homework & Study Tips for Students with ADHD/ADD

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Every child will likely have trouble with homework at some point. But for children with ADD and ADHD, the problem can go beyond a few assignments. Among other things, children with ADD and ADHD face challenges with focusing, patience, and organizing. These challenges can make it hard for students to perform to the best of their potential in, and out of, the classroom.

Helping Your Child Tackle ADD/ADHD and Homework

Children with ADD and ADHD can be hasty, rushing through their homework and making mistakes. They may lose homework, struggle to organize thoughts and tasks, and fail to plan ahead.

The challenges your child faces can be overcome with practiced habits and proper study skills for ADD/ADHD students. With these 10 ADD/ADHD homework tips, your child can learn how to focus on homework with ADD/ADHD and achieve success in the classroom.

Learn how you can help improve your child’s academic skills with these homework and study tips for kids with ADHD/ADD.

student boy reading book or textbook at home

Study Strategies for ADHD & ADD

1. create a homework-only space.

Children with ADD and ADHD can be easily distracted by their surroundings. Find a comfortable place where your child can work with few distractions. Use this as a quiet study space away from noise and movement where your child can clear his or her mind and focus.

Homework Tip:

Don’t do homework in the bedroom. The bedroom is a place for sleep, rest, and relaxation — not work and stress.

2. Create a consistent schedule

It is important for kids with ADD/ADHD to have a consistent routine. This will help your child start his or her homework and focus. Set a time each day for your child to sit down and complete his or her work.

3. Study in spurts

ADD and ADHD can make it hard to focus, so breaks are a must. Studying in short spurts can help. Give your child regular breaks from homework for a snack or a walk, and let the mind refresh and reset! This will give your child a chance to burn off extra energy and improve concentration when he or she returns.

4. Get the teacher involved

It’s hard to always know what is happening with your child at school. Talking to his or her teacher can help make sure you’re informed. Ask the teacher about sending regular reports on your child and updates on homework assignments. If possible, meet with them every few weeks and for progress reports. Knowing what is going on in the classroom can help you and your child’s teacher make changes to make sure your child is learning effectively.

5. Get Organized

Organize school supplies and make checklists and schedules for homework and assignments. Help your child get his or her bag ready for school the next morning and make sure all homework is complete. You can make organization fun for your child with coloured folders, special pencils, stickers and cool labels that if you want to make yourself, you should read firs this cricut machine reviews to make something better.

6. Show Support

Encourage your child to always try his or her best. Although your child should be completing his or her work independently, it is okay to help when asked. Help your child look at challenges in a positive light to keep him or her motivated. This will show that you are willing to always help him or her do better.

7. Understand how your child learns

Whether it is auditory, kinesthetic or visual, knowing how your child learns is important. Change studying habits to fit his or her learning style with graphs, visuals, music, walking, or talking out loud. Every child learns differently. Studying in a way that works for him or her can help improve understanding and retention.

Read our Complete Study Guide For Every Type Of Learner for more study tips!

8. Know when it’s time to quit

Children with ADD/ADHD can become easily frustrated and overwhelmed. Encourage your child to keep going as long as he or she can, but don’t push your child too much. If he or she has hit his or her limit, stop for the night. If homework hasn’t been completed for the following school day, send the teacher a note to explain.

9. Offer praise and positive feedback

Congratulate your child after he or she finishes his or her homework. You can also do something special, like a small treat or trip to the park. Even if your child was not able to finish his or her work, praise his or her efforts and strive for a new goal the next day.

10. Move around

Sitting for long periods of time can be challenging for students with ADD/ADHD. Letting your child get up to move around can help him or her maintain focus. Try making studying into a physical activity, where your child counts out steps when practicing math problems like addition and subtraction. Having something he or she can fidget with while doing work can also help. Stress balls are a great item your child can take with him or her wherever he or she goes.

Children Can Succeed With The Right ADD/ADHD Study Skills

Children with ADD and ADHD feel at times they cannot control their own actions. They can become easily distracted, which can lead to poor grades, frustration, and disappointment. These ADD/ADHD study tips will help your child conquer these academic challenges, with improved concentration, time management and organizational skills. Most importantly, they will also help boost self esteem and confidence.

Remember, these changes won’t happen overnight. It will take time for your child to adjust to new routines and habits. Once you, and your child, understand how to study and do homework with ADD/ADHD, your child will be on the way to more effective learning.

Does your child struggle with a learning difficulty? Find out more about Oxford Learning’s Learning Disability Tutoring programs.

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Do you find yourself unmotivated to do anything? You might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD )—it impacts many people in different ways, and one of those ways is that it can cause a lack of motivation.

The problem with ADHD is that it’s about more than just the disorder itself—it also causes other problems throughout life. ADHD medication, for example, can reduce your level of motivation because it affects your dopamine levels.

This blog post will discuss ADHD and motivation . We will also discuss what you can do to help motivate someone with ADHD.

Does ADHD cause a lack of motivation?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health disorder . It impacts over three million people in the United States. ADHD is characterized by having trouble with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

People with ADHD often have problems being motivated to do things they know are good for them or beneficial. This can lead to struggles at school, work, or just everyday life tasks.

ADHD medications can also cause a lack of motivation since they affect dopamine levels in the brain.

How do you motivate someone with ADHD?

ADHD can make it difficult for people to motivate themselves when doing things they know are beneficial. ADHD is more than just a lack of motivation. ADHD causes other problems as well.

ADHD can lead to low self-esteem and cause people to feel overwhelmed when trying to do things that they find challenging. Symptoms like impulsivity and hyperactivity can make it difficult for people with ADHD to complete tasks.

When it comes to activities that they don’t like or find exciting, individuals with ADHD may be unmotivated at times. However, this isn’t due to a lack of desire. ADHD can, however, make it difficult for people to motivate themselves when doing things they know are beneficial.

Does ADHD medication help with motivation?

It is often assumed that ADHD medications work by helping people to focus. There is a new study that shows these medications work by directing the brain to fix its attention on the benefits of the task.

These medications work by increasing the patient’s cognitive motivation. When people see that a demanding activity has higher perceived benefits and lower perceived costs, they are more likely to pursue it.

Stimulants like Ritalin boost dopamine production in the striatum. This is a brain region associated with motivation, action, and thought. Dopamine is a “chemical messenger” that transfers information between neurons.

This substance affects the brain and physical behavior. Some studies found that people are more likely to do physical activities when they have higher dopamine levels than usual. It has remained unknown if dopamine has similar motivational effects on cognition.

A study was done on 50 healthy women and men ages 18 to 43. They were given a choice between completing two tasks. An easy task with a higher chance of receiving a small amount of money or a more difficult one with a lower chance of receiving a larger sum.

During the experiment , researchers used a machine that can see inside people’s brains. They watched what happened when people thought about different choices.

The machine measured how much of a chemical called dopamine there was in each part of the brain. During the experiment, participants were given medicine for ADHD if they had it. The medicine increased their motivation by increasing dopamine in their brain. This happened in a brain region called the striatum.

How do I stop being lazy with ADHD?

One of the biggest problems that people with ADHD face is making sure they get things done on time and following through on tasks. This often leads to procrastination or putting off important work until it’s too late.

For many people with ADHD, it is easier to do something fun or enjoyable than go to school or work.

Sometimes, you might not have any motivation. You could have a boring class you don’t want to do homework for or cleaning your room. It takes a lot of effort for someone who has ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity and hyperactivity to focus and get things done.

People with ADHD often avoid doing tasks until the last minute which may result in feeling stressed, anxious or depressed.

Some tips to help you from becoming lazy are:

  • Stay active.
  • Keep a to-do list.
  • Track your progress.
  • Break up tasks into smaller pieces.
  • Focus on the positives.
  • Do ADHD-friendly activities.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep at night.
  • Take breaks when you need them.

The best way to get things done is by creating external motivation that reminds you why completing the task is beneficial in your life. This could come in the form of a checklist, calendar reminder, or even an accountability partner.

People who lack these symptoms are more likely to be able to finish a task without needing any extra help. They can focus on what they need to do for long periods of time.

ADHD and Lack of Motivation

Lack of motivation is part of a lack of executive function in people with ADHD. Executive function affects how well you can start things, keep them organized, or keep working.

It might seem like you want to work on a project, but then you can’t. You don’t know how to start it. This can lead to the person feeling overwhelmed. People who have ADHD often find that it is hard to be consistent. They might not finish tasks. This can make relationships strained.

If you do end up starting a task, you may find yourself having difficulties finishing. This can be because the task is mundane and uninteresting. Symptoms of ADHD often make it hard for you to do boring tasks. Sometimes, ADHD medication can cause symptoms like losing interest in things and having no energy.

ADHD Dopamine Motivation

Dopamine plays a vital role in ADHD due to its effect on executive function. It helps with being able to focus your attention on things for longer periods of time so you can complete something successfully.

People with ADHD are more likely to do things that give rewards right away. We know that the dopamine system is related to reward-seeking behaviors. People with ADHD might have a stronger response because of this.

People with ADHD tend to be impulsive because they lack the patience necessary to wait for future payoff from their actions now. This impulsivity causes ADHD sufferers to often engage in risky behaviors like taking drugs or driving fast. ADHD medication works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain so ADHD sufferers can focus and get things done .

Adults with ADHD had decreased functioning in the brain’s dopamine pathway, according to a 2010 study. They associated ADHD motivation deficit with this deficiency.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes enjoyment and pleasure in people. It makes you feel wonderful. It also aids your brain in recognizing a reward and seeking to obtain it. Adults and children with ADHD have lower dopamine levels, which limits their symptoms to dopamine release.

ADHD and Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation comes from inside of you. It is the motivation that arises when something feels fun, interesting, or satisfying for its own sake.

People with ADHD are less likely to enjoy activities that require a lot of effort without quick results. They do not enjoy studying for an exam months ahead of time. Instead of doing something more immediately rewarding like playing sports games.

ADHD medication helps people who have trouble with tasks. It makes it easier for them to do the tasks and deals with the problems they have. Medication can help you get started with tasks because it increases dopamine levels in your brain. This improves your attention span so you are able to focus on what needs doing instead of distractions around you.

ADHD and Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is when people do something because of outside factors, not because they enjoy it. For example, if there is a reward system set up by their parents or praise given by teachers. Extrinsic motivation can be helpful for ADHD sufferers because it can give them a reason to do something.

However, this is not the best form of motivation in the long run because ADHD sufferers need to be self-motivated. They need motivation that comes from within and not just an outside source like a reward system.

ADHD medication is helpful for people with ADHD because it makes them able to do things that are difficult. It gives people with ADHD rewards by making them feel proud of what they achieve.

ADHD Symptoms

People who have ADHD experience problems with their executive functioning . Executive functions are one of the ways that people work. They affect how a person pays attention, organizes themselves, and completes tasks.

People who don’t have symptoms like impulsivity or restlessness might not need extra help to get motivated. But people who do may need it. Some people would be able to complete tasks without extra help, but others might not be able to. It depends on the person and the situation.

When someone has motivation challenges there are some symptoms of ADHD to look for:

  • A short attention span.
  • Being easily distracted
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Appearing forgetful. Losing things.
  • Not being able to complete chores that are boring or time-consuming
  • Appearing to be unable to listen.
  • Constantly changing activities.
  • Difficulty organizing tasks.
  • Unable to sit still. Even in a calm and quiet environment.
  • Constantly fidgeting
  • Being unable to concentrate.
  • Excessive physical movement.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Unable to wait your turn.
  • Acting out without thinking first.
  • Interrupting conversations.
  • No real sense of danger.
  • Lack of effective time management .

As always you should talk to a doctor about ADHD who can provide medical advice and a proper diagnosis. Sometimes anxiety and stress can be mistaken for ADHD symptoms.

Why do people with ADHD lack motivation?

People who have ADHD are less able to complete their work. This is because they have weaknesses in staying focused, being impulsive, and being hyperactive .

ADHD medications can help make it easier to focus on homework or chores for longer periods of time. People with ADHD are easily distracted. They can’t concentrate on anything for very long, and they can’t sit still.

People with ADHD also cannot stop thinking about what’s going around them, which makes it difficult to focus on one thing for more than a few minutes.

How to instill motivation in a teen with ADHD?

Motivation in teens with ADHD may be challenging. Medication is sometimes beneficial, but psychological effects should also be considered. Teenagers are at a time in their life where they want independence.

Teens with ADHD are often too dependent upon others to finish tasks. Most parents of children with ADHD do more for their kids than the parents of children without ADHD.

As a parent there are a few things you can do to try and help your teen with ADHD:

  • Help your teen find their own reasons to engage.
  • Support their educational goals.
  • Create an engaging home environment.
  • Provide structure without being over-controlling.
  • Stop doing too much for your teen.
  • Don’t rescue your teen from every problem.

How do you create external motivation for adults with ADHD?

Adult ADHD is not always diagnosed. ADHD is often thought to affect children, but ADHD can also cause problems in adulthood. ADHD symptoms are not always obvious or clear. The effects of ADHD can cause ADHD adults to feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

Adults who have ADHD should try setting up a routine schedule including a reminder system to help them stay on task and motivated. Medication may also assist people with ADHD in managing impulsive and restless behavior.

This makes it easier for them to follow through with things that need to get done, such as paying their bills or cleaning. Medications can also help ADHD sufferers to feel less restless which in turn helps them stay motivated so they are able to focus on their work.

ADHD adults can also try to find something that they are passionate about that doesn’t require medication. Adults need to be aware of the ADHD behaviors that are causing them to behave in ways that are not similar to others. They need to realize their behaviors and try not to repeat them again.

Adults with ADHD should only do what brings them joy, even if it makes others uncomfortable or unhappy with their choices. They should also try and do things that bring joy to those around them as well.

ADHD is a disorder with many different characteristics. ADHD adults can find their own path within the rest of society by following what works for them and not what others expect from them.

How do you deal with ADHD meds making you lose motivation to eat?

Some ADHD medications can cause people to be less hungry. This is because ADHD medication works on the neurotransmitters in the brain that control appetite. When ADHD medication is taken, these neurotransmitters are affected. ADHD medications can also cause people to lose weight unintentionally. This is not always caused by medication for ADHD, but it does happen to some people.

Women have a harder time controlling their hunger than men. Women can have ADHD , but not show any symptoms. They also take medicine that affects their brain and they are hungry at different times of the day.

Is a severe lack of motivation for no reason a symptom of ADD or ADHD?

People who have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or ADHD often have trouble starting tasks. This makes everyday life difficult for those living with these disorders. Some people think that having problems motivating yourself means you do not have enough self-control. If you have ADHD, you are supposed to be hyperactive and impulsive, not unmotivated.

Motivation problems usually come from the ADHD symptoms that affect the human brain in its ability to think before it acts. This makes it difficult for people with ADHD to make good decisions.

People with ADHD do not always act impulsively or act against their own will. They are actually dealing with a cognitive disorder, which is different from self-control issues.

ADHD and Motivation: Concluding Thoughts

ADHD is a complex disorder that affects many people in different ways. It can be tough to find motivation when you have this condition, but it’s not impossible!

We want to help provide the knowledge and skills needed for success with or without ADHD. We provide weekly blog posts on topics related to brain health . Feel free to take advantage of our ADHD quiz today !

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ADHD and Motivation: 10 Productivity Hacks for Adults with ADHD

adhd motivation

  • Posted by ADDA Editorial Team
  • Categories Focus & Organization
  • Date October 17, 2022
  • Comments 4 comments

What can you do when your ADHD and motivation are at odds? Sometimes a daily planner isn’t enough to get you started on certain tasks, no matter how important they are!

Because the ADHD brain processes information differently, motivation strategies that work for non-ADHDers may not work well for adults with ADHD. Add boring, repetitive routine tasks to the mix, and any form of motivation becomes harder to find.

As a result, many adults with ADHD tend to over-rely on task urgency to get the ball rolling. But with some experimentation, creativity, and the right resources , it’s possible to build effective strategies to get going without the stress of a looming deadline.

Keep reading to learn 10 valuable tips to help you conquer a lack of motivation from ADHD.

Can ADHD Cause a Lack of Motivation?

Yes! ADHD can lead to a lack of motivation to complete specific tasks.

But this isn’t because you’re lazy or lack willpower.

The ADHD brain is wired uniquely, leading to a possible motivation deficit in the following ways:

  • A disruption in the pathway of a chemical messenger (dopamine) in the brain can limit the brain’s ability to perceive rewards, especially long-term ones. [1]
  • The ADHD brain may favor tasks that offer novelty and stimulation and avoid those considered repetitive and boring. [2]
  • Adults with ADHD tend to get overwhelmed when organizing lots of information.

This doesn’t mean the ADHD brain can’t be motivated. It’s simply motivated differently.

10 Tips to Improve Your Motivation with ADHD

Living with ADHD can be challenging. But meeting deadlines, getting boring tasks done, and completing household chores are all goals within your reach.

Here’s a list of 10 tips to tackle a lack of motivation and accomplish your goals.

Break Tasks into Smaller Goals

Break down a complex or lengthy project into tinier components and milestones to ensure each task feels more manageable. A big project like packing up your apartment for a move can feel too overwhelming to start.

packing house

Instead of leaving it until the day before the truck pulls up, write down every small task involved. You might note things like – order boxes, buy packing tape, pack record collection, or empty the freezer.

Set yourself a small, easy-to-achieve goal of packing one box each day or checking one small task off that list.

You can apply this method to school or work projects too. Break things down into individual tasks as small as emailing a colleague, finding one resource, or writing a single paragraph.

You may couple this with the following strategies:

  • Set a deadline, time, or place of completion for each small task.
  • Make the first small goal of the day a 100% achievable task.
  • Don’t be afraid to set the bar low (i.e., “set up a new document” or “reply to an email” as a task).
  • Visualize the end goal. A massive project may feel less daunting with a clear goal in mind.

Organize Your To-Do List

Putting a to-do list together helps mark the starting line and saves you the stress of missing important things. To put together an effective and motivating to-do list (that works with the ADHD brain) it has to be short, organized, and visually appealing.

Otherwise it will be daunting and discouraging – the opposite of motivating.

Here’s how to put together a valuable to-do list:

  • Be specific with your goals. For instance, list “20 minutes of jogging” instead of “exercise.”
  • Make your tasks small, so they don’t take longer than 30 minutes to complete.
  • Color code or mark three to five of the most important things on your list with numbers.
  • Use visuals or icons to make your goals look more appealing.
  • Keep your to-do list somewhere you’ll look often.

Ask for Help

Support groups are a great place to pick up ADHD motivation tips that have worked for others and could work for you.

A quick Google search can help you discover a list of local and virtual support groups , such as the ADDA productivity support group and the accountability group .

You may also seek the guidance and advice of an adult ADHD coach , who can collaborate with you to build personalized strategies that help boost motivation.

Keep Things Fun and Interesting

The ADHD brain is creative and imaginative.

Take advantage of that by thinking of a few fun and exciting ways to turn monotonous tasks into something you’d more likely enjoy.

cleaning up

Here are some ideas to try out:

  • Gamify – for example, make tasks into a race against time.
  • Turn menial tasks into a competition with someone else to see who can get the task done faster or better.
  • Download apps that turn uninteresting tasks into exciting games or missions.
  • Pair a borning task with something you enjoy, like folding laundry while you want an episode of your favorite show.

Celebrate Milestones with Rewards

Adults with ADHD may struggle to complete routine or repetitive tasks that aren’t inherently rewarding or only offer long-term gratification.

Creating immediate and fun rewards each time you check off a set number of tasks on your list may encourage you to start on them.

The reward can be as simple as having a snack, taking a walk outside, sitting in a bubble bath, or listening to your favorite song.

Try Body Doubling

Body doubling is a practice where you work on tasks, especially frustrating or tedious ones, alongside someone else.

The “body double” helps keep you accountable and focused on your present task.

Body doubling works in a wide range of scenarios. For example, you may have a friend come over to help with finances (budget and pay any necessary bills) or work with your housemates to clean the kitchen.

Don’t Rely on Pressure

The pressure of “should” and “have to” may put you off tasks. Instead, reframe them into “wants” and focus on the outcomes or sections of the task you enjoy most.

doing the dishes

Here’s an example of how you can put this into practice:

Usual way of thinking – “I have to do the dishes.”

New way of thinking – “I want to do the dishes because I like having clean dishes ready to use.” 

Remix Your Routine

The ADHD brain is drawn to new and shiny things. Harness this by introducing novelty into your routine and incorporating new and stimulating elements into repetitive tasks.

For example, you may:

  • Switch up your working environment – visit a café or library to answer emails.
  • Listen to your favorite playlist or podcast while working on a mindless task.
  • Listen to brown noise when you need to tune out your thoughts and focus
  • Go grocery shopping with a friend – socializing keeps things fun!

Find Your Peak Productivity Hours

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Observe when you’re in the best state of mind and hyperfixated on getting things done. Designate time to complete what you can during that period and utilize your ADHD to your advantage.

You’ll set yourself up for success by working on tasks during your most productive hours!

working at night

Limit Distractions

Take note of your biggest distractions and devise strategic ways to limit or remove them.

For instance, you could:

  • Try noise-canceling headphones.
  • Be wise with your choice of music while working. Lyric-less music tends to be the least distracting for many people.
  • Download apps that block social media apps for a set time.
  • Keep your workspace tidy.
  • Write down distracting thoughts as they come, then forget about them until you’ve completed your tasks.

ADHD and Getting Motivated: Discomfort Is Normal

While the above tips and strategies may help you start off on the right foot when tackling your to-do list, you may still experience discomfort and unease.

That’s okay!

Normalize those feelings, and acknowledge that you can put your best foot forward and not be “in the mood” for a particular task. Yet, you can still fully engage with it and complete what you need to.

If you’d like to understand more about adult ADHD,  ADDA+  offers 200+ webinars, peer support groups, work groups, and much more.

[1] Volkow, N. D., Wang, G. J., Newcorn, J. H., Kollins, S. H., Wigal, T. L., Telang, F., Fowler, J. S., Goldstein, R. Z., Klein, N., Logan, J., Wong, C., & Swanson, J. M. (2011). Motivation deficit in ADHD is associated with dysfunction of the dopamine reward pathway. Molecular psychiatry , 16(11), 1147–1154.

[2] Sethi, A., Voon, V., Critchley, H. D., Cercignani, M., & Harrison, N. A. (2018). A neurocomputational account of reward and novelty processing and effects of psychostimulants in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Brain: a journal of neurology , 141(5), 1545–1557.

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This Sucks!

Numbers one and two are about organization, not motivation. Three might work. I’m not sure because I’m autistic and have no friends. Four works sometimes with some tasks. Five is where I began to think this article was written by a non-ADHD person. Self-rewards don’t work if you have poor impulse control, which is very common with ADHD.

Body doubling is the best suggestion in this list!

Number seven is absolute nonsense. No amount of positive thinking actually helps. Eight works sometimes, but isn’t always an option. Nine is also decent, but still, it isn’t always an option. Also, some people work better with certain distractions, like the background noise of a coffee shop. Ten is also horse pucky. I read “The War of Art,” and it wasn’t very helpful. Embracing the suck is a good mental tactic if you’ve got the spoons to do it. But it won’t work unless you’re motivated to begin with.

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“Number seven is absolute nonsense. No amount of positive thinking actually helps.” Wrong, but you’re on the right track.

It’s sort of like saying “I’m going to” instead of “I need to” or “I have to.” There’s science that says the way we approach tasks and goals is important because it changes our emotions around them. But it takes practice and habit-building. Doing it a couple of times, not getting immediate positive results, and giving up is very typical of being ADHD.

The trick is making and KEEPING the commitment to doing something that doesn’t produce results in the near term, which ADHD makes harder. So it’s great advice for non-ADHD people, but especially difficult for people with ADHD.

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“Keep your workspace tidy…” There’s a lot to unpack there.

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I skipped half of these because I knew they wouldn’t work with my ADHD. And I know most of these would not work for my friends/family with ADHD either. The best ones are probably getting an accountability buddy, body doubling, and remixing your routine. Kinda feels like this was not written by someone with ADHD. Because if something feels too overwhelming, too underwhelming, or not stimulating enough, an ADHD brain will not want to do it. Chances are, no amount of breaking down tasks or reframing your mind set will change that. That’s literally just how ADHD works lmao. Pick and choose which ones work for you ig

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How to Increase Motivation With ADHD? 9 Effective Motivation Tips

Those who have adhd may have decreased levels of dopamine, a brain chemical linked to motivation, pleasure, and reward. people with adhd may naturally see motivation differently than those without adhd. discover the techniques you may use to increase your motivation and keep it going, even throughout tedious or protracted jobs..

  • What Is ADHD? How to Increase Motivation With ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that affects the brain. It makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control their behavior. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD affects an estimated 15 million people in America. In addition, it is more common in males than females.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes ADHD as a medically and legally treatable condition. Individuals with ADHD may have a hard time maintaining attention and finishing tasks. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can lead to unstable relationships, poor work performance, depression, and substance abuse. Proper ADHD Treatment is attainable, therefore, early detection is a must.

Even if you struggle to keep interested in some tasks or activities if you have ADHD, there are ways to help you get things done. Our motivation affects both the decisions we make and the likelihood that we will complete a task. It might have an impact on how well we comprehend a topic and how we plan our days.

People with ADHD are more interested in some tasks and activities than others. Due to symptoms, it could be hard to focus and maintain your focus on those tasks. However, there are methods you can employ to maintain your drive throughout difficult or lengthy tasks.

ADHD Symptoms

A person may not be diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood because teachers or family did not recognize the condition at a younger age.

Symptoms can become more severe when the demands of adulthood increase.

  • Difficulty finishing tasks
  • Problems listening to others
  • Struggles with organizing projects or responsibilities
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constant fidgeting
  • Inability to control speech or actions
  • Frequently losing or misplacing personal items

People with ADHD may also be clumsy, unable to sleep, and have temper tantrums, and mood swings. They may find it hard to socialize and make friends. The symptoms and development of ADHD vary from person to person.

Types of ADHD

Adhd fact sheet, adhd statistics.

  • ADHD and Motivation – Motivation ADHD

ADHD Lack of Motivation

  • How to Stay Motivated With ADHD? ADHD Motivation Tips & ADHD Motivators
  • How to Get Motivated With ADHD? ADHD and Motivation Tips & ADHD Motivation Hacks
  • ADHD and Lack of Motivation: How to Motivate a Teenager with ADHD?

ADHD Motivation

Adhd motivation quotes & positive motivational adhd quotes, we level up dual diagnosis treatment, adhd motivation faqs.

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ADHD is a mental disorder that affects many people, and there are different types of this disorder. Types of ADHD can be an inattentive type or a hyperactive-impulsive type.

Inattentive Type

A person with this type often loses focus and thus gets off-topic, people must have at least six of these nine symptoms,

  • Making careless mistakes
  • Failing to pay attention and keep on task
  • Not listening
  • Being unable to follow or understand instructions
  • Avoiding tasks that involve effort
  • Being distracted
  • Being forgetful
  • Losing things that are needed to complete tasks

Hyperactive-Impulsive Type.

The hyperactive-impulsive type must have six or more of these symptoms:

  • Getting up often when seated
  • Running or climbing at inappropriate times
  • Having trouble playing quietly
  • Talking too much
  • Talking out of turn or blurting out
  • Interrupting

Types of ADHD can be an inattentive type or a hyperactive-impulsive type.

Combined Type

The Combined Type means that the person has symptoms from both types, while the Predominantly Inattentive Type means that the person only has symptoms of the first type. People usually go through a series of stages before they receive an accurate diagnosis for either type (Types of ADHD). Someone who is diagnosed with primary inattentiveness might be told they have ADD or some other disorder (Types of ADHD). Since there is still some debate among experts.

Types of ADHD vary in severity. Usually, with medication, most people can adjust to dealing with this disorder. Sometimes there is a possibility that if you don’t take your medication correctly it could cause an overdose with serious consequences. Types of ADHD are different for everyone who has them, but they are all manageable if taken seriously and properly dealt with.

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ADHD Overview

A long-term disorder characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and trouble paying focus. ADHD frequently manifests in early childhood and can last into adulthood. Low self-esteem, problematic relationships, and challenges at school or at work may all be impacted. Limited attention and hyperactivity are symptoms. Talk therapy and medication are used as treatments.

  • Behavioral: Aggression, excitement, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, a lack of self-control, or a pattern of repeatedly repeating words or actions.
  • Cognitive: short attention span, forgetfulness, difficulty focusing, absentmindedness, or other cognitive symptoms.
  • Mood: Feelings of hostility, worry, boredom, enthusiasm, or mood swings
  • Also common: Depression and learning disabilities are also frequent.
  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

The CDC analyzes data from parent surveys and medical claims to comprehend how attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is diagnosed and treated (ADHD). Depending on the source, estimates for diagnosis and therapy can differ.

The estimated number of children aged 3–17 years ever diagnosed with ADHD, according to a national survey of parents, is 6 million (9.8%) using data from 2016-2019. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A national parent survey from 2016 reported on medication and behavior treatment for children 2–17 years of age with current ADHD 62% were taking ADHD medication

ADHD affects an estimated 15 million people in America.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

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ADHD and Motivation

How to Increase Motivation With ADHD? There are strategies to assist you in getting things done even if you struggle to maintain interest in some work or activities if you have ADHD (ADHD no motivation).

Our selections and our likelihood of finishing a task are both influenced by our motivation. It may influence how successfully we understand a concept and how we organize our daily schedule.

A lot of people claim to have ADHD no motivation to do anything. Some tasks and activities pique the interest of people with ADHD, whereas others do not. It could be challenging to concentrate and keep your concentration on those jobs due to symptoms.

However, there are techniques you may use to get your motivation going and keep it going, even throughout tedious or protracted jobs.

How to Increase Motivation With ADHD? Lack of motivation ADHD: Contrary to popular belief, lack of motivation has nothing to do with being lazy.

Most people occasionally have days when they don’t feel like accomplishing much (no motivation ADHD). The stress of home, work, and life, in general, can make it difficult to stay motivated.

Your lack of motivation may be caused by the way your brain is designed if you have ADHD.

According to research, those who have ADHD may have decreased levels of dopamine, a brain chemical linked to motivation, pleasure, and reward. People with ADHD may naturally see motivation differently than those without ADHD, in addition to changes in brain chemistry.

According to a 2017 study, ADHD-affected teenagers frequently lack motivation for tasks that seem to take too long or go too slowly. The same study found that while activities with social support and contact were highly motivating, and predictable, familiar activities were less alluring.

Although the precise causes of these results are unclear, experts suggest that the distinguishing characteristics of ADHD, such as impulsivity and hyperactivity, may determine which tasks are motivating and which are not.

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How to Stay Motivated With ADHD? ADHD Motivation Tips & ADHD Motivators

How to motivate yourself with ADHD? The presence of ADHD does not exclude ever finishing tasks or keeping appointments. It’s possible to increase motivation without drastically altering your lifestyle.

Set smaller goals

How to Increase Motivation With ADHD? Anybody can find a big goal intimidating and it may be simpler to give up before you even start. When you take difficult activities and divide them into smaller, more manageable goals, you can find that your drive is improved. Additionally, it can avoid disinterest in jobs that seem tedious or lengthy.

Create a task list

Lists are a terrific method to identify a starting point and get organized. Additionally, they might offer a visual checklist that can make progress seem more significant.

Involve others

It can be easier to complete chores when you have a partner to hold you accountable. A second person can not only lighten the load but also make time seem to pass more swiftly. Having someone to socialize with could increase your motivation to finish things. According to some studies, assignments having a competitive element may encourage people with ADHD.

Create rewards

How to stay motivated with ADHD? In order to increase your likelihood of finishing the task in the future, don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done. If you’ve set tiny goals, try engaging in enjoyable activities once you’ve completed each one. You might like going outside, having a conversation with a buddy, dancing to music you like, or enjoying a snack. Every day, consider praising your accomplishments, no matter how minor.

Take the pressure off

How to get motivated to clean with ADHD? Your likelihood of taking action may decrease if you feel that you “have to” do anything. Remind yourself that you enjoy the beauty of a clean kitchen or the convenience of having clean dishes on hand rather than reminding yourself that you must do the dishes because it is expected of you.

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How to Get Motivated With ADHD? ADHD and Motivation Tips & ADHD Motivation Hacks

Change the routine.

How to motivate ADHD adults? You might not be easily motivated to do routine, comfortable duties. Try completing those duties a different way in this situation.

How to motivate yourself to clean ADHD? If you typically fold laundry while seated on the couch, consider standing at the dining room table or retiring to the bedroom for a change.

Visualize the result

If you have a specific objective in mind, projects may seem less frightening. This might also make it easier for you to divide a bigger project into smaller parts.

Identify Your Productive Time

How to get motivation to do homework with ADHD? Perhaps you thrive in the morning, or perhaps you feel your best soon after dinner. Setting yourself up for success can involve being aware of when you’re most likely to finish a task.

Start your day with success

ADHD and exercise motivation (ADHD exercise motivation): The dopamine reward system in the brain is intimately related to feelings of accomplishment. By completing a straightforward activity successfully to start your day, you could be more likely to stay motivated, Like going for a hike.

ADHD symptoms that go untreated can significantly affect a person's daily life.

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ADHD and Lack of Motivation: How to Motivate a Teenager with ADHD?

How to motivate someone with adhd cultivate a respectful approach.

It’s important to keep in mind that development with your teen won’t be linear, but rather up, down, backward, and ahead, according to Sprague. It’s “very [normal] to feel impatient with a perceived lack of progress,” she adds.

The following attitudes and behaviors, according to Louisa Brandeis Popkin, a special education administrator for Arlington Massachusetts Public Schools, may be useful to parents:

  • Remember ADHD is a neurological difference. Kids need to learn specific skills to manage this difference.
  • Create systems in your home to help teens, including homework routines and chore charts.
  • Balance helps with promoting independence. You can review homework after it’s done versus along the way.
  • Remember, your teen has strengths too!

Practice collaborative goal setting

Popkin has found that setting goals with teens, and incorporating their interests work best. You might try:

  • linking short-term goals to  their  long-term dreams
  • encouraging “SMART goals” — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely
  • developing an action plan and a check-in schedule
  • enlisting other adults to help
  • asking your teen what they think has — and has not — worked to manage their ADHD
  • linking rewards to their demonstrated use of strategies, applying 1-1 reinforcements.

Keep rewards real

Sprague reminds us that parents are most effective when they’re sincere, since “teens have a ‘radar’ for fake praise and reward.” He recommends:

  • Aiming for frequent positive, simple interactions, like saying “good morning” or “glad to see you”
  • Developing a contract that specifies what rewards are available and when
  • Praising effort (variable) versus characteristics (fixed)

Feeling motivated is not impossible having ADHD. Even though there may be external circumstances that contribute to your lack of motivation, you can still finish duties and projects at home, work, or school. You might be able to locate motivational methods and tips after you comprehend why it’s so hard for you to feel inspired.

Keep in mind that many other people have ADHD or have a family member who does. It’s not just you. When someone with ADHD needs a motivation boost, support groups and forums can be terrific places to find out what has worked for other individuals in a similar situation.

Lack of Motivation ADHD or Depression

Lack of motivation depression or ADHD: Due to their difficulty focusing and paying attention to details, an individual with ADHD who exhibits inattentive symptoms may come across as lacking motivation. A depressed individual could decide not to finish a task because they believe it has no point. Additionally, a person with ADHD may struggle to get started on projects or maintain their professional or academic progress.

ADHD Motivation Medication

The most popular form of medication for attention deficit disorder is a stimulant. They have the greatest studies to support their efficacy and the longest history of treating ADHD. Several commonly used medications fall under the stimulant drug category, including Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin, and Dexedrine. Some research says the best ADHD medication for motivation is Ritalin because it works by increasing the amount of dopamine released in the striatum, a key region in the brain related to motivation, action, and cognition.

These are some ADHD motivational quotes that may help you in your quest for increased motivation levels:

  • “You are imaginative and fun”
  • “You are a high achiever and super smart”
  • “You’re not alone and there’s nothing wrong with you”
  • “Taking medication is not taboo”
  • “You’re the perfect candidate for a job”
  • “You are a creative genius”

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Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse. Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success. 

A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment.

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It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

Dopamine levels are lower in adults and kids with ADHD, which affects their ability to seek out and recognize rewards. Consequently, there is a lack of motivation. The body lacks any motivation to go in any direction if rewards are not recognized.

Do ADHD meds help with motivation: The common belief is that Ritalin and Adderall improve focus. And in a way, they do. However, this study demonstrates that they partly accomplish this through enhancing your cognitive incentive. Your perception of the advantages of completing a difficult activity is enhanced, while your perception of the drawbacks is diminished.

One of the numerous symptoms of ADHD is the occasionally low motivation reported by those who have it.

Search We Level UP ADHD Resources

[1] American Psychiatric Association (APA)

[2]  What is ADHD? – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[3] Treatment of ADHD

[4] ADHD Treatment Recommendations

[5] Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

[6] Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

[7] Dealing with ADHD: What You Need to Know

[8] Adults With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Use Disorders

[9] Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment in Children and Adolescents

[10] Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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5 Simple Ways to Motivate a Child with ADHD

Categories Education

This post was first published on ADHDSupergirls , a site all about girls with ADHD and how to motivate a child with ADHD!

So many tears.

Did my daughter’s pet goldfish just die?

Nope, it’s just homework time.

Every night it’s a battle to get through the homework. My mother used to call this experience as fun as pulling teeth.

With a child who has ADHD, homework time isn’t just hard, it’s torture. Teaching ADHD is a struggle for both child, teacher, and parent.

But all is not lost.

5 easy ways to motivate a child with ADHD! Implement these tips in the classroom or at home with ADHD students and maximize learning potential.

I have ADHD, and so does my daughter. I come from a family with at least 7 people who have ADHD. The struggle is not only recognized, it’s the only thing I know.

Over the years of working with my daughter, I’ve found that there is a good way to try and motivate a child with ADHD, and there are a bunch of really bad ways to motivate that same child. Today, I’m sharing the ADHD motivation tips that work best in our family with you.

If you have a child with ADHD, use these ADHD motivation tips to keep them on track and avoid power struggles.

ADHD Motivation Tips for Teachers and Parents

For the child with ADHD, anything they don’t currently want to do is The Worst Thing Ever. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to teach them a new math problem or telling them to tie their shoe. There will be equal hatred for any unwanted activity.

Most children with ADHD that I know don’t respond well to negative consequences. Many children will consider the consequences worth it to get out of doing what they didn’t want to do.

This list takes a different approach to ADHD motivation and teaching ADHD and offers practical, positive encouragement and motivation tips so you can help your ADHD child learn without power struggles.

ADHD Motivation Tips that Work Without the Battle

Use these ADHD motivation tips to relieve power struggles and facilitate learning throughout the year. These tips work just as well at home as in the classroom!

Let the Child Be in Control

Sometimes I think to have ADHD is to be a control freak. Have you ever tried to get a child with ADHD to do something they don’t want to do? You might as well try to pull a donkey through a doorway.

Pull them aside when they are not emotionally charged (you would do this on a weekend, perhaps, or before the school day starts). Talk about the goals of the week/month/year/whatever and discuss how the child wants to arrange their schedule to fit everything in.

I find that when I discuss the plan with Monkey and she comes to the realization that she will have to devote a certain amount of time to each daily task, she is much less likely to fight me when assignment time comes.

Two girls with ADHD writing in a textbook together.

Brain Breaks

Kids are easily overwhelmed with work if they have ADHD. One simple way to help a kid with ADHD reset is to implement brain breaks. These 60-second or less activities help reset a child’s brain and gets her out of the flight or fight mode. You can use these at home or in the classroom!

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Create a Reward Tracking System

Monkey, my daughter, and most ADHD kids I’ve met, love working toward a goal.

However, if the goal is too far off, or you can’t see the goal or progress, the child will get sidetracked and probably forget what she is working toward.

This is where I like to use visual progress trackers.

When I was a child, I LOVED these sorts of trackers and I would work extra hard to reach the goal sooner. This is probably why Sing Spell Read and Write worked so well as a reading program for my siblings, because they not only could see their progress on the race track, but they also got a small prize at the end of each milestone.

Any sort of daily checklist to reach a reward at the end of the school day, or a slightly longer-term progress tracker to earn a big reward (Monkey likes trips to the frozen yogurt shop) will make a huge difference to the ADHD child.

The ADHD child wants to know WHY she/he is doing something they don’t want to do, and if there is a constant reminder of the goal they are working toward, it will eliminate much of the teacher/student struggle.

Here are some of my favorite reward trackers for kids with ADHD:

  • This hands-on to-do list tracker
  • This paint-themed reward chart
  • This customizable reward chart
  • This super-simple reward chart

Engage in One-on-One Time

I don’t know if all children with ADHD are like this, but Monkey prefers me to sit with her when she is doing her homework. Usually, we go over the lesson and then when she is completing her assignment, she sits next to me while I work.

When I’m not with her, she gets distracted, makes sloppy mistakes, and takes longer to do her lessons. The one-on-one time helps eliminate much of this problem.

Make a Checklist

Monkey and I thrive on checklists. We love seeing everything we have to do and getting it done in a methodical way. We like wipe-away daily to-do lists.

There are a lot of printable to-do lists that you can find. Laminate it and you can re-use it over and over. Checklists are one of my favorite ADHD motivation tips.

A Word on Timers

Some parents love using timers to keep kids on track. This might work with some kids, but for Monkey, it creates high anxiety. If you find your kids reacting poorly to timers, I suggest using other motivational tools. 

adhd brain break cards

More Activities for ADHD

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Little Miss Lionheart

The Key to Getting Motivated When You Have ADHD

July 25, 2019 by Tia Cantrell 4 Comments

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The Key to Getting Motivated When You Have ADHD

Procrastination. Frustrating isn’t it? Especially when you’d like nothing more than to cross this nagging task off your list but you can’t seem to get yourself motivated to do it. And it ends up there indefinitely.

Some people think that having ADHD means you are required to naturally have a lack of motivation. Like the two terms are synonymous or something. Thankfully, they aren’t! We ADHDers have the desire. We have the motivation and the want to.

It’s other problems that lead to our struggle to get motivated with certain tasks and we often aren’t aware that they are lurking in the background of our minds, keeping us from getting things done. So we think we’re just lazy or something.

The key to getting motivated, is figuring out EXACTLY what’s keeping you from starting your task. Once you know what’s causing you trouble, you can put on your problem solving hat and find a solution!

Related: How to be a GREAT Creative Problem Solver

Here are 5 reasons why you may be struggling to get motivated.

And a few tips to help you overcome them! 😉

When you have ADHD, procrastination is a real struggle. Here is how to get motivated when you have ADHD and be more productive. #ADHD #ADHDwomen #ADHDproblems

1. You Don’t Know Where to Start

It’s not secret that having ADHD means also having trouble with planning and prioritizing. When it comes to knowing where to start, you need both in order to identify the right place to begin. It’s no wonder that not knowing where to start derails our attempt to get motivated!

Ask yourself if this feels true of your task? Do you know exactly where to start or does that feel vague or ambiguous? Or do you know 30 places to start and that’s really the problem?

Tips for Getting Motivated

Sometimes, when I realize that this is what’s causing me the lack of motivation, I can spend time writing everything I can think of about the task out on paper and deduce a solid place to start.

Sometimes I can’t. In those times, I’ve found that the most helpful thing I can do is ask someone who’s good at planning (and a generally supportive person) to help me think it through.

Related: How to Get Your To Do List Done When You Have ADHD

2. You Haven’t broken the Task Down into Small Tasks

When you have ADHD, you tend to see tasks as one huge task and miss the smaller tasks that make up your whole project. We see cleaning the entire house and get overwhelmed by it. We tend to miss the smaller tasks like taking out the trash or wiping down the kitchen counters.

When everything is seen as one big tasks, it feels overwhelming and that flood of emotion in the brain, shuts you down. It’s much harder to get motivated to clean the entire house which may, legitimately take days.

It’s easier to get yourself motivated to do a smaller task like cleaning off the dining room table, which takes minutes.

The key to getting motivated with this challenge is breaking your task down into smaller parts and using that to get motivated. If I’m still struggling here, I’ve found it effective to look for the smallest, easiest, fastest task I can find and push myself to do that.

Sometimes that’s as simple as taking a piece of trash to the trash can. Often, once I’m up, I can do another small task.

3. Your Task Takes More Concentration than Your Current Mental State Allows

One of the defining features of ADHD is difficulty sustaining your attention. It takes up a lot of mental energy for us to focus for long periods of time and tends to leave us feeling completely drained once we’re done.

When you’re in that state, trying to get yourself to write an article, read a book, or figure out how to plan or prioritize a task that doesn’t feel 100% obvious can take more energy than you have.

And your poor brain is like “dear God woman, give me a rest!” And while that feels like a lack of motivation, it’s also a pretty understandable one.

Ask yourself if it feels like this task, or some part of it, requires a lot of thinking or focus. Does it feel like too much in this moment? Then it might be.

To help with this, I often give myself a bit of rest. I find that this is often the case when I’m trying to do something after a long day or a day where I’ve already tried too hard to focus. Then I look for a day that’s less likely to be so mentally overwhelming and try to plan it for that day.

If that day comes and my brain is still struggling, I do things that help restore my energy levels. Take a walk. Eat yummy, healthy food. Do something that doesn’t require mental energy but brings me a lot of joy or is super interesting. Take a nap, especially if I’ve gotten little sleep.

I find these things help restore my mental energy and I have a higher reserve of concentration power afterward which helps me get motivated!

Related : Natural Strategies for Improving ADHD Symptoms

4. Your Task is Only One of 500 that All Feel VERY Important

Again with the difficulty that we ADHDers have with planning and prioritizing! When you have a ton of tasks that all feel important, even when you are 90% sure that the task you are struggling with is the place to start, it can still get completely overwhelming.

It starts to feel like they are all swirling around you and you can’t nail anything down. It’s not so much that there’s a lack of motivation as it is your brain is shutting down from all the overwhelm. Though getting motivated when your in this place seems like an impossibility, right?

I’ve definitely been in this place lately and if you are here, I feel your pain! What I’ve found helpful is to list out all of the priorities that are causing the swirl. Sometimes just seeing it written down is enough to help me feel more grounded and prepared.

Other times, it doesn’t. When writing it down doesn’t lead to feeling a little better, that’s usually an indication that I really am trying to do too much. So I start looking to see if there are things on the list that aren’t urgent.

Can some things wait? I look for things that I can delegate. Who else could help with this? And sometimes I ask someone else in my life to look at the list and give me feedback on whether or not each task is as important as it feels like it is.

If these first four struggles are the story of your life and you haven’t yet found help in overcoming them, my Conquer Your To Do List Mini-workbook is exactly what the doctor ordered. Check it out:

5. It’s a REALLY Boring Task

And of course, another defining feature of ADHD is the interest based nervous system. We’ve talked about the difficulty we have with prioritizing things above but the interest based nervous system is another complication to that problem.

The interest based nervous system makes things that are more interesting feel more urgent and important. On the flip side, it makes boring things feels unimportant or at least less important. People rely on the feeling of urgency or importance to accurately prioritize their tasks. That obviously gets pretty complicated for us…

And that’s why, when a task is really boring, it’s like pulling teeth to get motivated to do it.

To get motivated when my task is really boring, I start by asking myself an important question:

What would make this task more interesting?

Sometimes that means I change up where I’m doing it. For instance, if I have to write something really boring, I want to do that task more if I take it to a coffee shop. I love getting coffee so that works for me.

Other times, I’ve found it helpful to look for a novel way of doing the boring task and that has helped me counter my lack of motivation. Ask yourself that question and try what ever comes up!

Along those same lines, I’ve also found that watching videos or reading articles that relate to the task can be helpful. So if I’m trying to motivate myself to exercise, it’s helpful for me to watch a youtube video of a cool dance routine.

Related: How to Get Motivated to Exercise

When I was struggling to clean my house, I watched Tidying up. Even though Marie Kondo methods don’t work for me, watching the show made me more interested in getting my house cleaner.

Related : ADHD Home Organization Tips that Work

It Doesn’t End With This List…

This is far from a comprehensive list of the things that interfere with getting motivated when you have ADHD. You may find that what’s creating your lack of motivation isn’t on this list.

So start with asking yourself the question: What about this task makes me feel resistant to doing it? Pay attention to what you discover. Then you can find strategies that work for you!

Connect with Me

If you’re asking yourself that question and you’ve discovered something creating your struggle to get motivated, leave me a comment with what you find!

And don’t forget to join the Facebook Group for Women with ADHD . We’d love to have you.

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About Tia Cantrell

Tia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, ADHD Woman, and the Brain behind the Little Miss Lionheart Blog. She's a Harry Potter Nerd, Dog Mom, and Coffee Connoisseur with a passion for helping. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and 2 crazy dogs.

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Reader Interactions

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July 26, 2019 at 9:20 pm

Hi Tia! Sorry if I’ll make some mistakes, I’m not an English speaker – I’m Italian! ? All my life I’ve been struggling with inattention, restlessness, forgetfulness. I never cared about school in general, but since my mother was very strict I tried to be “normal” and functional – usually staying all day, and night, on a couple of pages that could be done in half the time – and got good grades. Only when I found an interesting topic I would care and dig it as much as I could, but never with a rigorous method. Same with university. I managed to get a degree with the highest score, but I felt like an imposter since I never studied like my peers (with passion and dedication), never particularly liked the subjects, and forgot everything in the first five minutes after an exam. I forced myself to continue “studying” and get a specialization, cause everyone did it to become a teacher – so I pretended I wanted to become a teacher too. The last year I had my first burn out. I couldn’t even open the books, I cried every day cause I didn’t want to do something I despised, I stopped caring for my hygiene (more than I usually did), I distanced myself from the others, who were living their dream. I developed so many psychosomatic diseases that my life, at 24 years old, was all spent at the hospital. So I went to a psychologist for the first time in my entire life (even if, having had a childhood trauma with my father trying to kill me, my mother should have sent me way before). He diagnosed me with generalized anxiety. I told him about the possibility of having ADHD but he laughed, cause “only hyperactive children have it”. But the more I read the more the symptoms seem to match with my struggles; they probably worsened considering my situation. What do you think I should do with my diagnosis? Moreover, should I pause my university “career” to recover and find my answers or just go with the flow (hurting myself some more)? I cannot continue living like this, it feels like hell 🙁

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September 4, 2019 at 1:57 am

I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. Unfortunately, so many people (mental health professionals included) are stuck insisting on outdated information about ADHD. In terms of finding a professional who’s more versed in ADHD, you might look on social media for an ADHD support group and ask if there’s anyone who’s been diagnosed as an adult in Italy. Finding out who diagnosed them may help you find a professional that’s more knowledgeable. I wish I had more ideas for you but I’m not well versed with mental health professionals or resources in Italy. I can’t really say what you should do about your university career–without knowing you more I’m not confident that my advice would actually be right for you. What I can say is that it sounds like you may know what you feel like you need to do but may be struggle with whether or not you “should.” Do what you need, ignore the “shoulds” they are just shame in disguise.

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September 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm

I use the info in this article so often. It’s probably my go-to reference for dealing with attention (and emotional) dysregulation moments. Thank you for sharing your smarts and experience with the world!

September 19, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Hi Dawn! I’m so happy that this has been helpful to you <3 Thank you so much for letting me know!!

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Small but powerful science-backed hacks for people with ADHD, according to a psychologist

  • Managing ADHD symptoms can be challenging even with medication.
  • A psychologist shared a few ways to cope with ADHD symptoms.
  • Her advice included different forms of therapy as well as physical activity.

Insider Today

Even with medication, managing symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging. For many people with ADHD, developing coping strategies is the key to reducing symptoms like distraction or negative self-talk.

Dr. Lara Honos-Webb , a clinical psychologist specializing in ADHD, told Insider that, "increasingly, emotional regulation is a key part of treatment for both children and adults."

According to her, emotional dysregulation could cause several ADHD symptoms like impulsivity and rejection sensitivity , so coping strategies like identifying your feelings and self-soothing can help reduce these symptoms.

Some of these strategies, like exercising and spending time in nature, can also help with other ADHD symptoms including boosting memory function.

Honos-Webb shared four simple hacks that can be helpful for people with ADHD.

1. Learn to name your emotions

One of the best ways to deal with emotional dysregulation is to calmly label your feelings as they come up, according to Honos-Webb.

"The more precise the emotions, the more we can contain them," she said. For example, feeling "really mad" could actually be "devastated" or "a little bit peeved."

This practice is called emotion-focused therapy (EFT) and is also used to treat other disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Once you understand your own feelings, it becomes easier to know what you actually need in the moment. It might mean changing up your work environment , eating a snack, or calling a friend.

"You're taking care of yourself rather than beating yourself up for these symptoms," Honos-Webb said.

2. Look back on your previous successes

A common side effect of living with ADHD is feeling shame over things like disorganization and zoning out.

"It's hard to get motivated if you lack confidence in yourself," Honos-Webb said. Because people with ADHD can enter a cycle of self-defeat, she said it's crucial to make positive self-talk a habit.

This is a part of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) , which focuses on challenging negative thoughts. CBT is considered one of the best treatments for ADHD outside of medication.

When you're feeling discouraged, Honos-Webb recommends thinking about the last time you were successful, especially if it helps you identify what you can do now.

"It's helping you to shift from a worst-case scenario to 'what are some reasons that I can succeed at this?'" she said.

For some, that might mean shifting how they view their ADHD from a deficit to an asset, whether it's hyperfocusing on a new hobby or understanding your ADHD child better .

She said even comparing your progress in the past two years can be a useful boost when you need it most.

3. Get enough exercise during the week

Honos-Webb said the research on ADHD benefits from exercise is incredibly powerful, with studies showing that working out improves your brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that is crucial for boosting your memory and mood.

Luckily, you don't have to run triathlons to get the benefits of exercise. Experts say the goal is 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, which would break down to about 21 minutes a day.

4. Prioritize outdoor time

Another simple, science-backed solution for improving emotional dysregulation caused by ADHD is making sure you go outside often enough, Honos-Webb said. According to her, being around nature improves our attention and mood. Experts also say it can also boost short-term memory and reduce stress .

Making sure you go for a daily walk or weekly hike "can actually go a long way in maintaining the highest level of success or productivity that we want for ourselves," Honos-Webb said.

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how to get motivated to do school work adhd

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Live Webinar on November 9: Executive Function Strategies to Externalize Time, Memory, Motivation

Register below for this webinar on executive function on thursday, november 9, at 1pm et. sign up and you will receive the free webinar replay link as well.

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Register to reserve your spot for this free webinar and webinar replay ►

Not available November 9? Don’t worry. Register now and we’ll send you the replay link to watch at your convenience.

“Executive function” is used frequently when explaining ADHD, but do you really know what this term means? Do you understand how ADHD fundamentally affects executive functions? Let’s start by getting clear on what executive functions are , what they aren’t, and which approaches are not considered executive functioning strategies.

The better you understand how executive functions operate, the better you will be able to design strategies that will help you get things done more reliably. A lot of this involves externalizing executive functions — creating better work environments, making important tasks or items stand out, pre-emptively reducing distractions , delegating certain tasks to better tools, making consequences quicker and more certain, and staying motivated by focusing on an effective process.

In this webinar, you will learn about:

  • A more useful and sophisticated way of thinking about executive functions
  • Why ADHD makes it harder to consistently convert intentions into actions
  • The treatments and interventions that improve executive functions — and those that don’t
  • How to tweak your environment, choose the right tools, set up the right blockers, consider consequences, and hold onto a resilient mindset


Have a question for our expert? There will be an opportunity to post questions for the presenter during the live webinar.

Meet the Expert Speaker

Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., MBA, is a psychologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. He is the author of More Attention, Less Deficit , and Understand Your Brain, Get More Done . (#CommissionsEarned)  Dr. Tuckman also has a podcast about ADHD that has over six hundred episodes and more than 2 million downloads and speaks about succeeding with ADHD at CHADD each year. He is a former vice president of ADDA and practices in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he works with adults and adolescents with attention challenges.

#CommissionsEarned As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

Certificate of Attendance: For information on how to purchase the certificate of attendance option (cost $10), register for the webinar, then look for instructions in the email you’ll receive one hour after it ends. The certificate of attendance link will also be available here, on the webinar replay page, several hours after the live webinar. ADDitude does not offer CEU credits.

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