Executive Functions 101: Activation For Women with ADHD

This is the first in a series of Executive  Function 101: Activation for Women with ADHD. Like I stated in the first of this series Executive Functions are the cognitive management of our brains and this system is completely impaired you have ADHD.  The reason being EF impacts every part of a women’s life such as maintaining our homes to work and everything in between. 

According to Dr. Thomas Brown, he describes EF Activation as  “organizing tasks and materials, estimating time, prioritizing tasks, and getting started on work tasks. Patients with ADD describe chronic difficulty with excessive procrastination. Often they will put off getting started on a task, even a task they recognize as very important to them, until the very last minute. It is as though they cannot get themselves started until the point where they perceive the task as an acute emergency.” Activation or getting started is topic that i deal with personally and  on a consistent basis in my coaching and group coaching sessions especially if we are trying to complete a task that we dislike or is boring. It is like pulling out a tooth without an novacaine. 

So why is activation so hard for a women with ADHD? The answer is women with ADHD have a difficult time figuring out how to sequence a task. In other words, when we start a huge project/task we can not picture the steps to complete it or even what the first step should be. This leads women to feel overwhelmed even before we start that task which leads to procrastination and sometimes self-sabotage. 

Like I mentioned earlier EF activation can seriously impact a women impacts every part of a women’s life such as maintaining our homes to work and everything in between. However there are tips that you can take to improve you EF Activation. Here are some tips for activating yourself. 

-Picture the end result of the project you are trying to start. Ask yourself, “is there value in me doing this?”

-Write down all of the steps you need to take to complete the task.

-Try to organize the steps in a linear way so that you can see the path in front of you.

-Determine if you need to gather any materials or supplies.

-Decide on a half-way point.

-Set a timer, work for 10 minutes and see how you feel.

-Body doubling session with a friend or virtually 

Activation is one of those things you can exercise, like a muscle. The better you become at analyzing why getting started is so hard, the easier it will be to form a plan.  And like i tell my clients dont be so hard on yourself. Understanding executive functions is vitally important to living our best lives with ADHD.

Next  time we’ll talk about Executive Function focus and concentration.