For most of my life, the direction and intensity of my focus has felt mostly out of my control.
I’ve always known that when something drew me in, I could spend hours and hours hyperfocusing on it (hobbies, video games, etc). Yet when something important-but-boring needed my attention, it seemed impossible to focus for more than even a few seconds.
There seemed to be some magic element—often just out of grasp—that was required to ignite my brain and unlock that focus.
Once focused, motivation seems to show up and drive me to do some incredible things! Those shiny moments that impress teachers, parents, and peers and show off what I’m truly capable of.
Sometimes that energy helps me push through some of the more difficult tasks in my life. You know, the literally impossible tasks, like folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or just about any kind of paperwork.
Normally, those are non-starters, but if I’m mentally engaged in something exciting, I can often use that energy to do the dishes without even thinking about it. Warning: this doesn’t always work, so I’m not suggesting there’s a magic solution!
But when I am able to do that difficult-for-my-brain task, like the dishes, it’s often because it was paired with something else that activated my brain.
This will likely look different for you.
Try to notice when you are able to do that difficult task, and write down any related factors that may have helped make it easier to do.
For me, these are some of the activities that seem to ignite my brain in a way that helps me get through the mundane (but not “easy”) tasks like dishes, laundry, or paperwork:
- Play an interesting or humorous podcast, especially if it’s about my latest hobby
- brainstorm ideas for new project I’m excited about
- listen to my current favorite song on repeat—the one I’m currently obsessed with and is the only thing I want to listen to for weeks on end (until suddenly it bores me and I’m done with it for a year or more)
Maybe you hate listening to podcasts or music? Here are some other examples that might be your brand of momentum igniter:
- work with a friend present (aka body doubling)
- just do one small step (fold one shirt, put away one dish, etc)
- come up with a creative or novel approach (do a task while dancing, or in order of most-to-least-favorite color)
- something else creative
What are some momentum igniters that sometimes help get you moving into action? Why do you think it works, and how can you use that in the future?
Jesse J. Anderson
P.S. I’m super excited to be launching the next cohort for my Refocus Your ADHD cohort course, partnering with my friend and fellow ADHD advocate, Trina Haynes!
This will be a six-week cohort course and community where we’ll partner together to learn more about living with ADHD with other ADHDers. We’re both really excited to offer this course which will teach more about the things we wish we’d known when we were first diagnosed, and to spend time with fellow ADHDers who really understand the struggle we’re going through. Check it out!