ADHD and Motivation

ADHD and motivation


You find it hard to get started on a project, hard to finish up and tough to stay on task.  ADHD and executive function deficits create challenges for motivation. It can feel discouraging, frustrating and overwhelming.  At a recent conference for the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, speakers shared ways to get motivated despite the obstacles. There are lots of small ways ADHD and motivation can make a daily difference for you.


Russell Barkley is author of  Taking Charge of Adult ADHD.  This speaker suggested using external cues to help you get motivated and stay on track.  External cues can include post it notes or check lists with tasks spelled out.  Social accountability like a study buddy or coach can help you lower or eliminate distractions as well as keep you positive about your work.  These external cues help you become more successful at any task.



Denslow Brown and Karen Boutelle shared the value of coaching for motivation.  Denslow is the creator of Coach Approach for Organizers, which I have participated in.   Her coach training focuses on the collaborative partnership with the ADHD client and coach.  Karen Boutelle from Landmark College demonstrated using coaching to facilitate motivation for students.  Both speakers shared coaching strategies in helping a client move forward with their goals.


Struggling with getting started?  Here are a few practical ways to get going.

  • Set a timer for 15 minutes.  For 5 minutes, assess what you have accomplished.  Reset the timer for another 15 minutes, twice more.  You have accomplished a lot!
  • Find an ADHD coach to work with you.
  • Clear your space for clarity.  Keep your desk clear of extra papers and office supplies in order to keep clear about your work.
  • Partner with a colleague or family member. Having someone to help with decisions and work together makes the project get off the ground.  Your partner also acts as a body double to help lend you energy to get going.
  • Find a way to add positive accountability to your day.  Send a quick email sharing what you accomplished that day.  Text someone sharing the news of conquering a difficult task.  Make a phone call on your way home to tell someone about an accomplishment.
  • Add a dash of fun to your work.  It can be a quirky element (like writing with a pink marker), some music (your Pandora work station you create) or something silly (perhaps a crazy hat or fluffy boa).  No one wants to miss out on fun, right?


What are ways you are getting motivated?


Each week on Facebook I share tips and tricks for ADHD.  Like my page and click “get notifications.


Join my newsletter for a monthly dose of productivity and organizing.

2 replies
  1. Tana Formsn
    Tana Formsn says:

    I need all the help I can get when it comes do orgsnization and staying on task. My DD and I both have ADD/ADHD. Life can be a bit of a disaster sometimes!!

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.