Battling ADHD Inertia

Jesse J. Anderson

— 3 min read

Battling ADHD Inertia

Hey friend,

Do you ever just feel stuck? You know what you want to do, but can't seem to move into action?

Even a simple task you know should only takes a few minutes feels out of reach. Every little bit of friction adds up, making a small task like cleaning some books and papers off your desk feel impossible.

Not only do you have to convince yourself to get up off of the couch—no easy feat—you also have to deal with all the little questions with no great answers:

  • Where will I put the books so I don't forget I'm reading them?
  • Should I save this piece of mail that is sort of important but not critical?
  • Where would I look for this if I was trying to find it later?
  • How will I remember to do the tasks I've mentally associated with that one specific book?
  • If I put this paper in the desk drawer, will I forget about it completely?

All of these unanswered questions create a wall of fog that feels impossible to see through.

When I can't envision what a task looks like when it's complete, I get stuck. So I stay on the couch instead, tell myself I'll take care of it later, and lean into the infinite scroll of whichever app is providing the dopamine du jour.

So what can you do when you get stuck?

Strategies for Getting Unstuck

  • Do the easiest thing first. What is the ONE THING in the pile that you can easily put away? Just focus on that. Maybe it's a paper you can quickly take a photo of (just in case) and then toss in the recycling bin. Do it! Feel accomplished and pat yourself on the back. If you're up for it, what's the next easiest thing you could tackle?
  • Embrace imperfection. This can be tough for a lot of us, but try to just "do it crappy" or rather "do the easiest version". Rather than coming up with the perfect solution, just come up with something that creates positive forward momentum. Maybe there's five books to put away—choose the three you're really, definitely still reading and don't want to hide yet and then put the other two in a box (or bookcase if there's room), and move on.
  • Ask for help. An outside perspective can help decisions feel a lot easier. Ask someone else for advice and see if their suggestion helps, or at least unlocks some sort of forward action. Plus, body-doubling can often be an effective way to build up momentum, so just the presence of someone else might be enough to help you get stuff done.

Remember that feeling stuck is normal, especially with ADHD. But you don't have to stay there.

Just take find any way to make progress, and celebrate forward momentum—whatever it looks like.

Don't forget to write down anything that works so you can try it again next time.

Keep a running list of "Things that actually worked!" in your Notes app, and refer to it for ideas next time you get stuck!

Stay focused,
Jesse J. Anderson

PS: If you've been thinking about grabbing a copy of my book Extra Focus for yourself or someone else, right now is a great time to do it! (Unfortunately, I don't have any control over pricing at retailers so I don't know how long deals will last)

You can currently get the book for 40% off in the US.


ADHD is like 50% not working, 50% working frantically to make up for the not working part, 50% thinking about the work I should be doing (but not actually working), and 50% not sleeping (but trying to).
ADHD is never wanting to start, and never wanting to stop.