Sometimes I am like an old engine… I have so much trouble getting started. Even when it is important/urgent. But my brain is like: nahhhhh… and I can hardly get myself going to clean the house. When I get visitors it was easier. It used to be the only way to get into the right ‘vibe’ and I cleaned/decluttered more in one hour than in one week. I feel so guilty.
Why in the world do I need so much motivation/adrenaline to get started?
Maybe I am just lazy. But I don’t want a messy house and I am always trying thing that will work… sometimes they do… for like a week.

Somehow I don’t want to blame it to my brain, especially when I am not even diagnosed… but I really struggle with it. I want my house to be a home and not a storage with stuff…
How do you get yourself started? Without getting into overdrive and end up exhausted? Thats what also happens when I finally start cleaning



Our house had got so bad I had stopped visitors coming. Then last December we had two lots of visitors in a row, which meant you could at least see the floor downstairs.

At this point we got a cleaner to come in once a week, and slowly but surely started the mammoth task of tidying, sorting, cleaning and chucking out stuff. There have been a couple of times that we were without a cleaner for six weeks (one left to go and study, the other one was ill but is back now). In the weeks that no one came, not much happened.

When some one does come, that’s my cleaning day. We pay someone to keep things ticking over and I attack a bigger sorting job at the same time. Some weeks this works brilliantly, other weeks I don’t do very much and then I feel bad.

But the progress since January is huge. If someone wanted to visit, they can now. Although there is a lot of stuff that still needs sorting, and it will probably take another year to finish, the areas (eg cupboards, surfaces) that have been done are still looking ok.

If you can’t afford a cleaner, a cleaning buddy would work, but that would mean one week at their place and one week at mine. I nearly found someone to agree to this but it didn’t come off. It was years before I knew I had adhd and I was too embarrassed to pursue this.

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I have trouble when someone else helps me and touches my stuff or doesn’t do it like I usually (would) do it… I tried it once but I really didn’t feel good to continue.
I wonder if meds could help? Just to get stuff done easier…



When some concerned relative or friend starts giving advice about what I need to do, I have to tell them that their advice doesn’t work and it is annoying because I already know what I need to do! And they typically respond “In that case why aren’t you doing it?”!

They don’t get it. But neither do we. Or for that matter experts.. They seem to know the underlying neuro-chemical cause but are at a loss to explain why we don’t have starting problems in things that interest us or how really to control it.

“an old engine” is a good analogy! I say something similar - our starter motor refuses to start. We need an external deadline and a sense of danger to get going. But once we start we keep going.

Some strategies work. Such as starting small. Just wash one dish. Or clean one small area. Or read one page. Or walk 100 steps. Etc. Another thing that is to buddy. Have a friend help you get started or share the task you have difficulty starting with someone and later return the favor. But often we don’t want other people help getting us organized for fear that we won’t find things but they can get us started and then read a book and periodically check in with us.

Or inviting people over :slight_smile: That can bring its own anxiety. But at some point I resolved that I’d rather have friends over than be embarrassed about clutter. This decision has had the curious side-effect of a cleaner house!

If you can afford it, getting in a cleaner is a good idea. Think of it as similar to putting recurring payments on auto-pay!

Practicing self-compassion helps. Labeling myself lazy can make me feel even worse and less motivated. Instead of saying I’m lazy, I can say how I cope with this condition? What will get me started in this specific situation?

It is frustrating that strategies don’t always work but we have to keep trying!



One method that I found really helpful was working for 20 minutes straight on a timer, then taking a 5 minute break. The timer acts like a deadline, adding pressure and making your brain want to work harder. This works for me when writing reports, so maybe it will work for cleaning! If you decide to use this technique, let me know how it goes!



I does help. More in the way that I don’t get into overdrive mode and end up exhausted. I just catch myself cheating with it when using it daily. Maybe I should just do this a few times a week



Meds definitely seem to be helping me to get started with stuff.

And I think a cleaning buddy would work better than a cleaner for you, if you want absolute control over your stuff amd how it’s done. The buddy just has to keep reminding you what you were doing!

(cough, don’t suppose you live in Amsterdam, do you?!)



I live in the other ‘dam’ Rotterdam :wink:
I got my ‘official’ label today ADD and I will have a appointment for meds in a while. They don’t give it fast, but I think they could help me.
Cleaning buddy… well maybe. I just dont have many people I trust and feel comfy enough



Shame you’re not nearer! I found it so hard to admit to anyone how things were with a) my house and b) me. Now I realise it was/is all massively related to the ADD. I think I would trust a fellow adhd’er more easily than someone else with this. It was a big step to allow a cleaner in at all, because of the embarrassment factor.

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After the 5 minute break, do you have problems getting started again?

I tried that pomodoro timer thing last week and it was great for twenty minutes… :sweat_smile:



Once or twice I can continue. But than… well I’ll call it a day :blush: better than hanging around or doing way to much. But I wouldn’t recommend doing it daily.

I have trouble being honest as well… It doesn’t help when people get angry or think they know it all…



I have difficulty starting just about everything.

Why do we need more motivation to get started with things? From what I know, where neurotypical brains would get a natural boost of motivation by reward chemicals in the brain, ADHDers have fewer receptors for those chemicals and don’t get as much of a boost, meaning that more motivation has to come from other sources, or by upping the reward chemical dosage by a lot.
Why don’t we have as much of a problem getting started on stuff that interests us more? We’ve got a higher dosage of those reward chemicals giving us that boost.

I struggle a lot with getting myself started on tasks, and I really wish I had tips I could give. I’ve tried many things, and though sometimes those things work, I forget about their existence pretty quickly and it’s back to problems.
The ideas others have said, breaking things into small, manageable bits and involving others to keep us on task, are good. I have no experience in ADHD medication, so I can’t really say anything about that.
The self-compassion thing is a pretty important one that I definitely need to work on. If you use words that make stuff seem hopeless, you’ll lose motivation.
At this stage, I’m just repeating what others have said. :laughing:

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Sometimes I do have issues getting started again, but setting the timer gives me a rush of adrenaline again to get started! I try to limit the break to 5 minutes, but I do tend to get off track.



It’s a great baloney detector that way. For me at least, whenever I have to do something I’m not convinced has purpose or anything else going for it, my brain just goes on strike.

Too bad that’s not always a choice.

One thing I noticed about dull tasks with in-the-future payoffs: People often recommend imagining the outcome of that effort to motivate yourself. This never worked for me, even if the outcome would indeed be nice. The task itself needs to be the project for me to even be able to attempt it. In the example above, while having a clean house should be a good motivator, I’d have to make the cleaning a goal in itself. Or rather, getting it done. Make plans for it and all.

Or, how I noticed it: job applications. I don’t picture the job. I picture the application as an end in itself.



I want to visit the 'Dams. Op de dam of Rotterdam. :slight_smile:

But as for procrastination … I really feel like the “Wall of Awful” is an excellent concept. That video by Jessica on the YouTube channel has changed my approach a great deal. Just learned about it, hope it’s going to be a major help, still implementing and investigating it.



Transitions are the wooorst. It’s so easy for me to sit down and then just… SIT DOWN, telling myself the whole time, “gotta get up and do the thing! Gotta get up and…” Recently, I started counting down from 5 and then standing up. This seems like sketchy advice, but idk it’s been working. I also have an alarm clock that I’ll put ex. by the sink/by the broom, so that I HAVE to walk into that room at a certain time. And then I use the pomodoro technique: how much can I clean in 25 minutes??

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I am so embarrassed to have anyone near my house. I have had ADHD since I was a kid but no one would listen to me. I was just diagnosed a few weeks ago and after talking with the behavioral therapist I realized that all of these things that I was doing, or was failing to do, was not because I was lazy. I knew what I had to do. I would make out a daily chore list that would include two things per day, picking up clutter in a small area and a keep-up chore like vacuuming. Those usually lasted about a week. I have so much trouble figuring out where I need to start. It’s so overwhelming. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the meds that I am going to be put on tomorrow will start to help me with this as I really do want a clean house and want to have people over. It would be nice not to have to make random excuses as to why they can’t come up and use my bathroom, or come hang out and watch TV.



The meds, the coaching, the therapy: it’s all good! My house still doesn’t look like a show home and there are a few people I still wouldn’t want to see it yet, but I’m getting there!

And I am able to find it ok that I work on paid work, studying and cleaning at a given time now, and if something didn’t get done, it’ll have to wait until the next block of time I can give to that category.

Although now we just trailed cat poo everywhere and I have to decide how much of cleaning that up has to be done right now, when actually I should be doing some marking and then working on an essay.

Maybe if I just go out with my work bag, and face the cleaning when I get back??

None of these options include being online though…