How do you know you have tried hard?

I know this question might sound stupid. But I procrastinate a lot in general and I often wonder if I have put in enough effort to say that it is not me and it’s just the ADHD. I’m not sure if I’m using ADHD as an excuse or if it is really ADHD. How do you even differentiate it? It’s so stressful at times.

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I don’t really understand why the difference is important.

A. If you procrastinate because of the ADHD,
you don’t do something because your mind somehow puts you on hold until you feel real urgency or excitement/interest.
You don’t do the job
-and it is bothering you (or not)
You will probably do it in the last minute and (just) manage

B: If you procrastinate because it is YOU
you don’t do the job because you can’t get yourself to do it. Probably because you don’t feel the urgency, or it doesn’t interest you/isn’t exciting.
You will probably do it last minute and manage (just) in time.
You beat yourself up about it and “suffer” you even write in a forum.

Actually for me it sounds almost the same.
The only thing that for me could be different, is that in the second case you might procrastinate something because it is a task you haven#t chosen yourself. A parents expectation or something you thing it is good for you and you haven’t recognized yet, that it is something you actually don’t want to do. You don’t dare to turn down.
In the first case A. you procrastinate even if it is certain, that you want to do it and it is your kind of thing. Okay you might question that it is necessary, but you are upto or interested in the bigger goal your reaching by doing the task.

I really think that is the only question. And if you actually think the task is on your agenda, maybe just stop beating yourself up (just kidding, I cannot do it myself) but ask you what is the next tiny baby step you could do to get started, or how can you gameify it or how long can you actually postpone it.

I personally believe it could be that questioning if you actually have ADHD, is part of the ADHD

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Thank you for your reply. I have always felt that I’m using ADHD as an excuse. I have always felt guilty about it due to my surroundings and the way I wa bought up uk. Even though I understand that it is bcoz of my ADHD I have difficulty in accepting it and I sometimes feel guilty about it.

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Let’s take the judgement away from the behavior of procrastination for a minute.

I was just following a conversation on another site, and the concept came up about children that “(their) behavior is communication.”

Procrastination is a behavior. Let’s not assume that the reasons for procrastinating are “bad”. Let’s just assume that, like a young child’s behavior, the reasons are simply an honest expression of something.

I often don’t know why I procrastinate, but I’m my current job I have had to do some new things that I’ve never done before, and I came to realize clearly one reason I procrastinate: I feel like I’m not prepared to do that task.

Other times that I procrastinate something, like waiting to pay a bill, it’s because I feel uncomfortable with what I have to do. (I will feel, rather than think, something like: “If I pay this bill now, then my bank account will be low, and I might overdraft… But if I wait until next paycheck, I’ll have to pay the late fee.”)

Indecisiveness can also cause my to procrastinate, like simply not knowing where to start.

Feeling overwhelmed can also be the reason, which causes a kind of indecisiveness in me.

Of course, there are other times I feel like something has been dumped on me, and so the procrastination is actually an expression of disliking that, or even feeling resentment. I’m this case, procrastinating is expressing the only control I have in the situation… choosing when I get started. Maybe this is an unconscious effort to exert influence on the situation or another person involved.

But having Inattentive ADHD, for me the usual reason behind procrastination is the simplest reason of them all…I got distracted by something else.


Why do I believe people procrastinate? Different reasons: distraction, unpreparedness, uncertainty, indecision, overwhelm, to exercise influence/control, … I’m sure there’s more.

So, when you find yourself to be procrastinating, do a “gut check” by asking yourself (nonjudgmentally), “Why is this?”

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when i was a child, i would vow every marking period to try harder in school. i would just end up breaking my pencils because somehow in my head “try harder” meant “press down harder on the paper.”

so, anyway, i think you ask an interesting question.

one thing i’m thinking about is the fact that i often use my feelings to gauge whether i have tried hard. how difficult did something feel? but just because i felt a lot of strain, doesn’t mean i was moving in the right direction. i could expend a lot of effort but to little effect.

and if i am not using my energies in the best way i am able, i don’t know that that is trying hard — even if it is very difficult.

my procrastination can sometimes feel very effortful. it can feel a lot like working hard. but if i am not employing my skills, asking for help, being strategic…i am not really trying hard. sometimes i am not-trying hard. that is, i’m dumping lots of effort into not trying.

it’s like if i need to swim a mile and choose to doggy paddle in a snowsuit instead of use freestyle in a swimsuit. when i fail to finish, i can rightly say that i exerted myself. but did i actually try very hard to accomplish the goal? no. i didn’t take reasonable steps that are within my power to make this happen.

now if someone only knows doggy paddle, then doggy paddling is trying hard. (but still, lose the snowsuit.)

does this analogy make sense outside of my head?

i guess another thing i’m thinking about is viewing a situation in retrospect – but realistically. when you look back and think about what you could’ve done differently (you, not some magical, perfect, non-existent version of you), do you feel that you did the best you could? do you carry the lessons you learn from this kind of account to the next situation?

i think the concept of “trying hard” is so nebulous. sometimes things going badly can be a chance to think more concretely. if you find yourself thinking “if only i had done xyz” write those things down for next time.

i try to think less about “trying hard” and more about making back up plans, asking for help, responding after mistakes, and so on. operationalize trying hard for your context.

I hope you didn’t#t feel my answer to be lacking empathy. I am struggling right now and procrastinating as well I really believe that a short check up might help, but to much thinking about the why doesn’t help at all. Because it can be the start of a long journey of analysis of either your life, or the people involved, or…
For me right now once I get started I spent days on a train of thought. So I try just to check: Is it good for me if I do it? How can I break it down in super duper mini tasks, when is the last moment to start…

:slight_smile: