ADHD Productivity Tip: How To Stop Waiting For The 11th Hour To Get Things Done

How To Stop Waiting For The 11th Hour To Get Things DoneAs an adult with ADHD you probably wait till the 11th hour to start working on a project. Then with the deadline so close, you have no choice, but to sit down, focus and work on it. There is no time to procrastinate, get distracted, or wait till  you feel inspired, you just have to get it done. There’s a sense of urgency, you are racing against the clock, and you are doing what needs to be done. Even though you are pleased with your progress it is stressful. You aren’t totally sure you will  make the deadline; (even though you do) you work through the night, cancel social arrangements, and barely have time to eat. When you hand in the project, you breathe a sigh of relief, feel victorious and vow never to let that happen  again. You really mean it! However, when the next project is assigned to you, you feel it hanging over you, but just can’t bring yourself work on it…until the 11th hour.

This is very common when you have ADHD, and it happens whatever age you are, from students to 60 year old CEO’s.

One strategy (that rarely works) is to break the project down and give yourself little deadlines along the way. In theory, this is great; you definitely work well when you have a deadline. In practice, it doesn’t work; you know those deadlines  you made for yourself are not ‘real’ and don’t count.

However, there is a help, and it comes from Jerry Seinfeld.

Jerry realized he came up with his best jokes when he spent time writing every day. However, forcing himself to write every day wasn’t easy. So he created a simple system that would motivate him to spend 1 hour a day writing. On days he  wrote, he put red cross on a wall calendar. After a few crosses he became motivated to see the calendar fill with red. He didn’t want to break the chain of crosses so he kept writing. This strategy now has a life of its own its called ‘Don’t break the chain’.

‘Don’t break the chain’ is very effective for ADHD adults because takes emphasis off deadlines, that you might forget or procrastinate over. Instead it focuses on consistent daily effort. This might feel strange at first, but it really helps in   11th hour panic. It also gives self confidence because you know will be able to get the important things done.

Below are some tips to get started:

1) What one action a day would make a huge difference in your life? Jerry’s was writing, what is yours?

2) Print out your calendar

3) Post it on your wall and put a red pen nearby.

4) You can use this method for more than one area of your life. However, for the best success rate start with one and you can add another after a month.

5) Good luck…and remember don’t break the chain!


  1. Avanti says:

    This is exactly what happens with me! like every word of it! thanks for this brilliant piece of advice. I will apply it starting tomorrow morning, since it is midnight right now and I can’t really do much.

  2. Josée Rocheleau says:

    Good morning,

    I’m 49 years old with ADD, without hyperactivity, but really without it. I mean I could stay in front of the TV or painting, sculpting, for hours, from dawn till dusk…

    Since 5-6 years, I suffer from post-traumatic syndrome (an ex-boyfriend wanted to kill me after the break-up) and depression. I took a lot of weight (100lbs) since I did not move during my depression. I was lying on sofa during the day, sleeping during the night (or not able to sleep at all). I’ve been on medicine and now feel good, except for my weight witch is a big problem for me.

    I’m not working outside since these evenements so I do not have a lot of money to invest in a gym, to loose weight. But guess what!…I won on Facebook an enrollment of ONE FULL year for a gym near of my place! I tell myself…well, no excuses not to go isn’t!?…I went twice in 3 weeks..:-(

    I disappointed myself, I feel like a looser, my kids are not proud of me, neither myself, don’t know how to “talk” to myself to feel like I want to go.
    The time I went there, well after the training I was feeling good, proud…and I feelt like I did lost some pounds(!!!) (ya, in one hour, sure)…but these were good feeling. How come I feel “afraid” of going out to go there another time since is a good feeling and it’s…free!

    Since, I’m writing to you, make me feel better and maybe I’ll go today…it’s better than “I won’t”, no? 🙂

    Thanks for your time reading my complains…:-)

    And by the way, I’m on Vyvanse : 50 mg in the morning and 40 mg during afternoon. Also I’m taking pills for the depression because my doctor said I could “go back” if I stop those pills….

    Thanks ,


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