View Full Version : I am the Queen of Procrastination


pamkay414
02-01-09, 07:24 AM
I am having a really hard time getting things done, finished, started etc. I am a work at home single mother of 3 and am completely overwhelmed with a lot of stuff. I hate to say it but I am a slob and I never used to be. I used to be the opposite but then the depression came and then the self-hatred and everything else piled on top of it. So now I am trying to get this taken care of. I am on ritalin 20 mg 3 times a day and it does its job but I am still just having a hard time getting started.

Any ideas out there? I want to be able to not be embarassed by how I am living and also not have to have a last minute cleaning session because someone is coming over the next day. It's killing me to live like this. It's not just messy, it's actually gross sometimes.

Thanks.

orangesky
02-01-09, 08:12 AM
I struggled with this all through raising my children. I am also a single Mom with 3 children. I was just diagnosed with ADHD and so I'm going that explains a lot. My children are grown, happy and well adjusted. I have a much better relationship with my kids than most parents, even married neat ones. I don't think we ever had a clean house. I don't SEE messes. It's like I see it but I don't. So bottom line, unless social service steps in and takes your kids, the mess probably won't hurt them. Also, include your kids in the picking up and cleaning process, even little kids can help. Take advantage of your focused times and create the crises to clean up, like invite someone over periodically. Be gentle with yourself. And kind to yourself, there are so many people who are ready to put us down. We must be kind to ourselves and to our children and do what works for us. Make lists and check them off. Set a timer for 15 minutes and make yourself work at a task for this amount of time. If your are like me, you will be amazed at the number of times your mind will tell you to do somethng else. But if you pick one thing, like the dishes or cleaning a certain corner and set a timer, you will get at least one thing done and feel good about that. After the timer goes off, if you are not quite finished, set it again. It is a coping stategy that I am trying. It's kind of helping, but it is exhausting for me to try to stay focused when my mind is telling me to do other things.

smerila_6
02-01-09, 08:34 AM
You say you work from home. Do you get that done ok? I am the opposite I get my house work done but not my online school work. I am 6 mo behind and can't get motivated now that I have stopped studying I just can't get motivated again.

smerila

pamkay414
02-01-09, 11:30 AM
I don't get anything done that I am supposed to do. I struggle with everything it seems. I can't do anything that I am supposed to do. I put it off until it gets SO gross that it just has to be done which isn't good at all. It's getting to that point again. I know I have to do something so I will try the timer idea and the lists too although I never was good about lists. But I'll try it. I used to be spotless but now I'm horrible. My car, everything. I just have too much self-hatred maybe. I'm not happy with me so maybe that is something I have to work on too.

Thanks so much.

Pam

ADHDTigger
02-01-09, 06:09 PM
Pamkay, I know lots of people with and without ADHD that procrastinate. I think we may be better at it than most but it isn't unique to us.

One of the ways I manage it and get house stuff done is to enlist the help of another person who I give permission to set me tasks. I try to avoid saying that I will clean the living room. I make a commitment to dusting. If I can do that, I am done for the day or the time period or whatever. The second person is there to help me to know what I overlooked in completing that task. You can take this idea to another level and sit down with that person and ask them to help you define the steps to completing the task.

Regardless of how you go about house cleaning, it may be helpful to you to try talking to yourself about it differently. Changing your perspective can often change how you feel and therefore what you do. If it were me in what you describe, I might refocus it like this: "I've been so busy with other things that I have chosen to not let housework be a priority. But now I think it should be. I realize that it will be a really big job so I will decide what thing I will do first, then second, and so on, so if I need to do other things, I can and still be able to pick this task up again. I will make a conscious effort to remember that having a dirty house does not make me a bad person, it makes me a person with a task that is in my control."

My mother did not have ADHD. She had a messy house. She would make the most beautiful porcelain dolls and dress them beautifully, but if you asked her about doing housework she would say that she didn't have time. What I remember about my mother isn't the messy house. What I remember is that she was incredibly talented and artistic.

I often think that a trait (possibly learned) of ADHD is perfectionism. It is possible to hold yourself to such an impossible standard that you become incapable of doing anything because it will not reach the level of perfection that you demand of yourself. I do that all the time. I get so self critical that I just don't turn anything in, even though I have worked for hours on it. Even when I do manage to turn something in, I will be the first to tell you what is wrong with it. I hate being in that place.

Overwhelmed by "stuff" is a hard place to be. Give yourself permission to see one task at a time. Try not to blame yourself for not being perfect. Don't forget to breathe.

sloppitty-sue
02-02-09, 11:48 AM
I don't get anything done that I am supposed to do. I struggle with everything it seems. I can't do anything that I am supposed to do. I put it off until it gets SO gross that it just has to be done which isn't good at all.


Pamkay - I haven't got any advice, but just wanted to let you know that I am right there with you. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that mine is coming from some deep-seated emotional reaction to something. (Yes! I am working on this in therapy.) I am also a single mother and have 2 kids from 2 fathers.

I don't know how your life has been, but - at the risk of sounding immature, pathetic, and like I'm blaming everyone else for my problems (which I'm not) - sometimes it seems I've experienced one heartbreak after another starting in childhood and more currently in my romantic relationships.

Finally, I wanted to share a little of my history to show you how I used to feel about such things and where I'm at today:
After getting pregnant with my first and then having that relationship pretty much end on the spot, I stopped drinking (had a drinking & drug problem before), got my own apartment, went back to school, got a "good job" etc. And I remember my advisors, therapists, counselors, etc. would always say to me (often when I was feeling down): "Sue - you're a Survivor!"

I guess being a "survivor" is supposed to be a good thing, a noble thing, something to sing, shout, and dance about. (Wasn't there a popular Destiny's Child song a few years back about being a survivor? "I'm a survivor. I'm gonna make it. I'm a survivor . . . blah . blah . blah .")

Well - after experiencing my most recent downpour of stressful events (loss of job, loss of relationship, potential loss of house), I've been struck by how much I've changed (for the worse). Before - the expression, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" described me to a "t." This time, however, at 42-years-of-age, the voice inside me seems to be saying (screaming, really), "I'm no longer interested in being a survivor." "Uncle." "Game over." "See the white flag I'm waving already!"

Anyway . . . just sharing. Wishing you a speedy exit from the funk you're in. I know how it sucks.

Sincerely,
Sue

ADHDTigger
02-02-09, 03:31 PM
Pamkay - I haven't got any advice, but just wanted to let you know that I am right there with you. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that mine is coming from some deep-seated emotional reaction to something. (Yes! I am working on this in therapy.) I am also a single mother and have 2 kids from 2 fathers.

I don't know how your life has been, but - at the risk of sounding immature, pathetic, and like I'm blaming everyone else for my problems (which I'm not) - sometimes it seems I've experienced one heartbreak after another starting in childhood and more currently in my romantic relationships.

Finally, I wanted to share a little of my history to show you how I used to feel about such things and where I'm at today:
After getting pregnant with my first and then having that relationship pretty much end on the spot, I stopped drinking (had a drinking & drug problem before), got my own apartment, went back to school, got a "good job" etc. And I remember my advisors, therapists, counselors, etc. would always say to me (often when I was feeling down): "Sue - you're a Survivor!"

I guess being a "survivor" is supposed to be a good thing, a noble thing, something to sing, shout, and dance about. (Wasn't there a popular Destiny's Child song a few years back about being a survivor? "I'm a survivor. I'm gonna make it. I'm a survivor . . . blah . blah . blah .")

Well - after experiencing my most recent downpour of stressful events (loss of job, loss of relationship, potential loss of house), I've been struck by how much I've changed (for the worse). Before - the expression, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" described me to a "t." This time, however, at 42-years-of-age, the voice inside me seems to be saying (screaming, really), "I'm no longer interested in being a survivor." "Uncle." "Game over." "See the white flag I'm waving already!"

Anyway . . . just sharing. Wishing you a speedy exit from the funk you're in. I know how it sucks.

Sincerely,
Sue

Sue- you could have written that by reading my heart. I am SOOOOO with you.

I get so tired of being told "but you're so strong". Obviously I should be able to do everything, be everything, manage everything. "I'm so strong" that I should never need help, support, a shoulder. Whatever.

I learned that sometimes it is okay to challenge that perception. I also learned that it is okay to tell God off every now and again. Lightning won't strike you.

There is nothing in the world wrong with crying Uncle. Frankly, I don't know who decided that we should all be Wonder Woman. I certainly don't know why we buy into that. All it does for us is make us crazy.

The real killer is that I know so many great women who judge themselves by the Wonder Woman yardstick and are truly distressed that they fall short. Why would we WANT to torture ourselves by trying to live up to expectations that we never agreed to or never should have agreed to? Why isn't it okay that I live up to MY expectations and call it good?

And yes, I still do it too. I try not to. Maybe it is in the DNA.

kettish
02-02-09, 11:46 PM
Awww, I'd give you a hug right now if I could (and if it wouldn't freak you out) (and if it wouldn't freak me out!). This is a tough place to be in. I don't have kids, and so don't have a very similar comparison, but here is how I handle it with my husband and animals.

If someone can eat it and get sick/choke/die, it goes off the floor.

If it will cause health problems (mold, fungi, bugs, whatever) it gets moved up to first priority on my list.

I write out what I want to do for the week one day at a time. Sundays or Mondays I get out my planner, break out my favorite pen, and make a plan for the week. If I'm feeling lazy for a while I write in more easy days; if I'm feeling motivated and good I write in tasks that take a little more effort. The key here is to write ONLY what you can stand to think about doing in a day!!! If you're looking at your list and get exhausted, it's too long! And that's ok.

We plan meals for the week (but rarely stick by them).

I turn on really loud music and sing my freaking heart out while scrubbing (if I'm having to concentrate on lyrics, it distracts me from the ick factor of what I'm doing-I have issues with stuff that has particular textures so this helps a lot!)

Sometimes I let myself do half of a chore, like only taking the clothes downstairs and then not making myself put them into the washer, as on bad days it's all I can convince myself to do. Once I get that small part done, I generally can fool myself into feeling a little more productive, and it gets the ball rolling.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DO to start the day out right with productive, cheerful, positive thoughts: I saved up and bought myself an iPod alarm clock, so I can wake up to whatever songs I want to instead of whatever happens to be playing on the radio (or worse, that ANNOYING beeping!). I'm always in a better place for the entire day if I wake up right, as opposed to feeling like I'm being dragged out of bed kicking and screaming by Life.


Not all totally related to getting things done, but I hope they help!! The best thing you can do to improve 'performance' is to feel good by eating well, getting the right amount of sleep for YOU, waking up in a good way in the morning and (oh yes, here it comes!) getting some exercise! Alone time is very useful for me as well-I need a quiet place to decompress at the end of the day by myself without ANYONE or ANYTHING around, or I go to sleep stressed and wake up stiff and sore.

pamkay414
02-07-09, 07:20 PM
I just came back here since I wrote the last post and I wanted to thank you all for your support and helpful posts.

When I was living at home and growing up as a child my parents always had a clean house and I kept my room clean too. In fact it was spotless and my mother had a cleaning lady once a week. When she came and cleaned my room I had to rearrange things back to how they were before she moved them or I couldn't sleep. Maybe a little OCD but I miss that. I struggled to keep a clean apartment when I moved out but then after I had my daughter who is 14 I got to be spotless again but would let the place get messy on my days off but would clean it up the day before I had to go back to work. Now I am stuck in trash, disgusting and embarassing place mode. I can't stand it and it is getting me depressed or I am already depressed I should say because of that and everything else.

I really have been through so much and really have no one except my kids in my life. My parents don't speak to me, and I wish that were different but I have tried and failed so I quit trying. I do know that my depression decreased when I stopped having contact with my mother so maybe it is good for me not to although I miss her and wish it were different as I said. My daughter who is 14 is not living with me because of her behavior and our relationship really is pretty bad. She has been violent and I feel she uses me for "things", but when I don't get her things she turns on me. Plus I am a survivor of domestic violence and the guy just got sentenced to 3 years yesterday, the father of my 2 boys. I am just going through so many emotions and am cranky as hell and I think I honestly don't deserve to live in a nice clean place but it isn't fair to my children so as much as I think I don't deserve it I need to clean and will start tonight after I am done with my work which I am struggling to get done too. That was the first (and hopefully last) DV relationship I was ever in. I knew him for 3-1/2 years and everyone warned me about him but I refused to listen, and even though he hit me in the past this past July on the weekend of the 4th was the worst I could ever imagine happening to me. The cops in my city said they "never saw bruises like that in their lives..." and I am just relieved to know he is gone. I never want to see him again. I know he won't change and I am sad about that but I have to heal and move on.

I am going to go to the psych Thursday and am planning on asking him for some xanax and possibly an antidepressant, maybe Cymbalta or wellbutrin but I am not really too happy about going back on the antidepressants. I don't need to be tired but with the ritalin maybe I won't be. I could get used to the tiredness I'm sure and it just may help with my moods so I am going to consider asking him for it. I need to get my mood in order as I am a very angry person and that has to stop. Counseling never helped me and I have been to so many counselors in my 42, almost 43 years. I am not one of the people that it works for and it's not as though I didn't want it to work because I did and I tried so hard to make it work but it didn't.

But anyway, I will get through this and hopefully my moods will improve. My baby is sick with a virus but he seems to be okay so far after having stomach upset all night and into the morning. I just gave him some water and then he was able to hold it down and then he had a piece of bread and now he is back in bed. Hopefully the other baby won't get it and I hope I don't. They both had their flu shots but not me and I always get mine every year. I just didn't bother this year.

I also think I just need time for me and that time will be most likely spent cleaning and maybe taking myself out to lunch and doing laundry. I also think I am just really lonely for some human contact, as in man contact. HA but I am actually too scared to get involved with anyone right now. I got hurt too badly in July. Maybe the mood and the procrastination is all tied up in all of the stress and trauma I have had in my life since I was a child.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend. I am going to try to get some work done and then work on the mess. Thank you so much for reading this post and my other ones. I know it's a long post here so forgive me. I didn't mean to ramble. I don't have many people to talk to but maybe it's a good thing with this mood I have been in.

ADHDTigger
02-07-09, 08:53 PM
Pam- you have been managing so much and wonder why you are depressed and withdrawn? Holy smoke, woman! You have a right to be where you are- you have a right to feel hurt, overwhelmed, confused, angry, sorrowful! You've been through h*ll. You have every right and reason to feel exactly what you feel.

I've done the DV thing. No fun. At least you are safe. And you're worried over a messy house?

Pam, we come to this place so that we CAN discuss the unpretty parts of our lives in the full knowledge that there is someone here who really does know where we're at, regardless of shared experience. Perhaps traditional talk therapy isn't the right thing for you. I know lots of people it isn't helpful for. But everyone needs to vent sometimes. This is a safe place to do that.

Reach out safely and find a partner that you can work with to do the things that to your mind will make you happy- or at least less distracted. I "meet" with two other women and we discuss what things in our lives we need to take action on. Or just vent about the relationships we're in. We use an IM program and set aside an hour every week for this. My biggest bugbear is organizing. So I set myself goals with these two friends. They know that I will bite off way too much and will get overwhelmed so they look at my goals and let me know when I am setting myself up. Although I know that neither of them would tear me down if I didn't finish the tasks I set, I feel a sense of accountability- in a very positive sense- to complete the tasks by our next conversation. It isn't always perfect but it IS helpful.

My editor and I do something similar. We chat for about ten minutes at the beginning of the day. Usually about the things that we have set out to work on. Just that few minutes is enough to get me onto task and stay there. When I find that, meds and all, I still can't focus, I can send her a quick message and get a quick one in return. Encouragement is a great and wonderful thing!

If you aren't in a place where you can give yourself positive acknowledgement when you complete a task, find someone who can. If you would like, I will send you my Yahoo ID. I would be happy to tell you that you are doing a good job.

Sometimes it is important to change the yardstick we are using to define success. The fact that you are reaching out at all, still working, still trying, in the face of all you have been through is nothing short of amazing. Right now, maybe you need a different yardstick.

My prayers are with you. I am hoping your baby is feeling better in the morning and that you are able to find an island of peace. Choose a task that seems to be most important. Laundry? Get one load working (assuming you have a washer and dryer in the house). Congratulate yourself. See the accomplishment. Let yourself be successful, one task at a time. Give yourself small rewards for completing tasks as you do them. Plan for and give yourself a large reward at the end of the day- regardless of what you think you have or haven't done. I find that when I deliberately define successes, it is easier to build on them.

You never "deserved" to be hit. You never "deserved" to be abused. You DO deserve love and warmth and kindness. If you were next to me, I would hug you. Since this is as close as I can get, please accept my hug- (((((((hug!)))))))

pamkay414
02-08-09, 01:23 AM
Wow, I don't know what to say. I am sitting here in tears. Maybe happy tears if there is such a thing. I guess it might be because I really never hear anything positive from my "friends" (and I use that term loosely as I always thought I was a better friend to them than they are to me. I make myself available for them if they need a few bucks, or a ride etc. but when I need something, and I rarely ask unlike them, one in particular, they always have some kind of excuse or just sort of mumble and sound as if they are stuttering and I get the impression they want nothing to do with helping me so I just say forget it...) I have gotten through so much on my own and really have such a low trust level as far as so-called professionals go. When I was in the DV shelter when I first met the guy in 2005 I was told it was all confidential, the location, the name of my abuser, etc but then found out last year that one of the workers who was also a court advocate breached my confidentiality to his other girlfriend when the worker was going to court with that woman after she was hit by him. My now ex would mention every once in a while that I used his name when I went to the shelter and that got me beat up by him more than once so I am so leary of working with the so called advocates or crime victim services etc. But I got through a lot of the stuff on my own, even gave my first baby up for adoption when I was 21 (in 1987) without having anyone by my side to help me through it. My parents ran and hid because they didn't want to fall in love with the baby when I had him. They forced me to give him up and I was miserable for years until I had my daughter in 1994. But I am still miserable. I think I will eventually be happy though because I have so much faith in my ability to survive. I am a very hard worker (not at house work) and work every chance I get. I just need to calm my mood and stop yelling at my little boys. I worry I will make them afraid of me all the time and that is not how to get their respect. I know I need a break and I am going to try to find day care to put them in a few days a week to give me some time for me to go to the gym, go shopping, out to lunch, to the doctor etc. Also knowing that I am not making much in my job lately is a big stressor. So I guess I need to get off the board and get back to the medical report I was typing.

Thanks so much. My yahoo IM is pamkay414 with the yahoo dot com and that is my email too. Thanks again.

LittleD1981
02-10-09, 07:47 AM
pamkay414: I've never been in a DV situation, I don't have any children, nor do I work, so first off, I have to say what a strong and couragous person you are! I procrastinate, perhaps even worse than you do, and I don't even have any of those other stressors on top of it!

I won't repeat my whole situation here in this thread, but I'll refer you to a thread I started back in 2006 in hopes that it may help you some in regards to your procrastination and messy/dirty house and what not: http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33260

I wish you much luck in overcoming this very daunting situation. I still struggle everyday, but I have hope that one day, SOME day, it will get better.

LostInTheStars
02-13-09, 09:22 PM
Pam, I have read your story and have been touched by it. I just wanted to know how are you? Did your psyc visit go well?

I hope you are hanging in there. :)

tamdesjar
02-14-09, 07:26 AM
Hey girl I feel your pain and totally relate.It does get better just focus on the positive and realize you can't do everything and worrying about it won't change it. First and foremost enjoy your children they make everything worthwhile,we all make mistakes its what we take away from them that counts. I am a walking disaster and hate how messy I am,no matter how hard I try I just cant keep up and always get sidetracked and never finish what I start.It took me 6 months to finally put my books on the shelf properly did it yesterday and trust me I looked at that shelf everyday and said to myself man I have to fix that it looks really bad and DUST oh how I have dust. I have a pile of cleaned laundry that is as tall as my 8 year old that needs to be put away but I garauntee you it wont move for a couple of weeks because i have to write a paper, buy groceries,attend school on time,of course feed my shopping addiction,take care of a 21 months old and feed all 3 children and my boyfriend,(who really only gets meals when my other 2 kids are here I suck at being a domestic engineer/student.) I am also a single mother.I share custody with my very bad exhusband for the 2 older children 8 and 10 years old.I too come from a long line of abusive men and make continuosly bad choices ,have been lit on fire 2nd 3rd degree 35% of my body (2004)by one and it cost me so much but I am so stubborn I fight everything and everyone at the cost of my own happiness. I am estranged from my parents also ,as according to them I have been the one who was the problem. Counselling and lots of reading has helped it gave me courage to see it is not "ME" it is my choices and my parents have their own issues which causes them to behave the way they do.It is nice to have support and someone pointing out what is right with you even if you cant see it,I personally get uncomfortable when people compliment me I guess I dont really feel I deserve it.But realistically we all need to feel special and should take the compliments. You know if that is what other people see in me, than why the heck cant I take the time and see it in myself(also meaning you). Loving who you are is the biggest hurdle in anyone who has suffered alot in life, and it takes alot of practice. I still dont really love myself enough to take care of me but I do try to count my blessings and value the important people around me (ie..My children.)Sorry I rambled about me so much it was just that I was trying to give you some insight that your not alone and you are worthwhile and you have so much to offer and your little peanuts love you unconditionally even your 14 year old she is a teen and is working out her own demons you just happen to be the target of her teenage turmoil.Remember we always lash out at the closest people to us because we feel safest with them and know subconsciously they will always be there.She will come around someday it will be when she goes through something herself.
My friend has a bumper sticker on his car that says "Screw Guilt" and it is so true we cant change our past nor can we live in it, live for today and worry about tommorow ,tommorow!PROCRASTINATE worrying haha!!! :0)
From a fellow procrastinator, oops I have an unfinished paper that was due last week I guess I better at least look at it! hmm maybe later ;0p
Take Care and Dont Worry be Happy!!!