I put things off sometimes. They call that procrastination. And by “sometimes” I mean all the time.
Obviously I don’t procrastinate on everything. I’m kind of lucky in that I love to write. And writing and editing is a large part of what I do for a living.
The problem with procrastination for people with ADHD is that we often make a mess of our lives with it.
Some things get so backed up that if we think about them it’s enough to make us ill. So we don’t bother thinking about them at all.
Take, for instance …
Yeah, I’m always talking about this, income tax filing. Are you American? Are you Canadian? It doesn’t matter, you’re supposed to file your income tax on time.
I’ve been seven years in arrears at one point in my life. I remember a time in my thirties and forties when I would let it go for three years or so and then do three years worth at once.
That time when I was seven years behind I did five years worth all at once. Then I waited two years and did another four years worth, it was awesome.
The thing is
I’ve heard it described as formophobia, the fear of having to fill out forms. It isn’t a fear. Well, okay, it is, sort of.
It’s painful. It’s mind numbing. It’s very difficult to force myself to get started.
True, once I’m started I can go for a while. In fact, don’t try to distract me, I’ll snap at you like a turtle, quick and vicious.
Numbers make me number
That’s right, numbers make me number, as in more numb. I mean, I’m okay with numbers and what they represent, but the arbitrary, made up relationships between the ones they are asking for and the ones they require me to calculate are exquisitely discordant in my brain.
So, I put it off. And off. And off still longer.
Additionally, before starting taxes, or many other things, they all appear to be intimidating, insurmountable objects that … well, quite frankly they kind of scare me.
If we might leave income tax and think about other things that get put off ’til the last moment, I often find that the things I’m required to do take such a small percentage of the time that I’ve been allowed for them, that putting them off doesn’t mean I won’t get them done.
I’ll just do them in the last couple of hours of the evening before that project I was given two weeks ago to do is due.
The fact that I procrastinate and still get the job done is the reason I still procrastinate.
I am aware that if I took more of the time I was allowed I could do a much better job. Especially since I’m the guy who can start after everyone else has started and still hand in a effort consistent with what everyone else does.
But I’m not wired that way.
I can’t work ahead just because I want to do a stellar job of it, that would be almost like cheating.
And as far as cheating is concerned, I know it feels that way, ’cause I wrote this two days before it was due.
I know. Weird, right?