Any advice? Procrastination and Exectuctive Dysfunction

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MindBlind
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08 Apr 2010, 2:09 pm

I am a perfectionist and I often procrastinate because I'm so overwhelmed by the work I have to do. I also struggle with time manegment and organisation which I think has something to do with executive dysfunction which is common for people with ASD to struggle with.

I'm feeling very anxious and overwhelmed by my work at the moment and I have tried to break down my work and I have tried to make a timetable, but it's still not working. I think my main problem is the anxiety I feel when I get overwhelmed which makes me procrastinate. I tend to spend way too long on stuff because I can't get over my fears about it being wrong.

Can anybody here suggest any coping mechanisms? Perhaps even share some experiences and how you overcame your problem? Even if you don't know what to do either, at least it's good to know that I'm not alone in this.

Thank you very much.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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08 Apr 2010, 7:05 pm

Try less hard, but try from a diagonal direction. And I know that might sound paradoxical, but you kind of need to be attune to feel and texture of how an intellectual project is going, and the particular energy you have that time of day and on that particular day, instead of attempting something rigid.

Okay, one summer semester I took Trig, I thought I needed it for Calc II plus I wanted to master a class I had failed in high school. Now, Trig is a lot of boring, tedious work, straight up. But it's important to get it right. Just by sheer luck, I had checked out Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos by Thomas Petzinger Jr. from the school library. And I kind of hit upon, do some trig, read some of the book, do some trig, read some of the book. And it really worked! It's like the two tasks used different parts of my mind, and I stayed freshed, and I felt I was doing two productive tasks.

A little bit lately (thinking about medical journalism), I have been reading The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history by John M. Barry and alternating that with a part in a biology text on breathing and transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide. And that kind of works, too (although not as well, but that's fine, too, all part of it).

And just today, needing to do some yard work, I took out the tools for both a weeding project and a clipping project. The weeding project involved my knees getting sore from being on the ground, the clipping project involved my arms getting sore from holding my arms up. So, I alternated between the tasks and it really worked!

College students often take a whole backpack of books to the library, I'm assuming to alternate projects. Ask around and/or just casually observe people. Now, just because something works for someone else doesn't mean it will necessarily work for you, but it might give you ideas for experimentation. And just keep experimenting.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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08 Apr 2010, 8:19 pm

Previewing classes can help a lot. And I mean, maybe just leaf through the next chapter for like three minutes. And you can do this ever so casually, even while listening to music. You're looking for one key fact, or hinge point, so that when the professor mentions it in lecture, it kind of peaks your interest.

I take a lot of notes during class. It's like I'm thinking on paper, but the purpose is primarily to keep me alert. Maybe sitting in the auditorium waiting for the next class to start, I might race through them, circle one or two things and that's it.

I can overdo memorizing (think that I should do it this way because I can, and because it's a strength of mine). What works much better is giving myself permission to memorize, like when I memorized the scores of the first fifteen Superbowls my senior year in high school.

I ask myself, Is it really necessary to memorize, or is it the flow of the narrative and it's okay to understand it in a looser way? Usually, this is fine.

Some things, like the table of electronegativity for organic chemistry, okay, I might look at it in the morning, the afternoon, the evening. Then the next morning, I might take out a blank piece of paper and try (light touch, medium energy, acceptance) to re-create it. But those kind of things are few and far between.



MindBlind
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10 Apr 2010, 4:10 am

Thank you for your advice.



VolcanicEruptions
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10 Apr 2010, 2:35 pm

MindBlind wrote:
I am a perfectionist and I often procrastinate because I'm so overwhelmed by the work I have to do. I also struggle with time manegment and organisation which I think has something to do with executive dysfunction which is common for people with ASD to struggle with.

I'm feeling very anxious and overwhelmed by my work at the moment and I have tried to break down my work and I have tried to make a timetable, but it's still not working. I think my main problem is the anxiety I feel when I get overwhelmed which makes me procrastinate. I tend to spend way too long on stuff because I can't get over my fears about it being wrong.

Can anybody here suggest any coping mechanisms? Perhaps even share some experiences and how you overcame your problem? Even if you don't know what to do either, at least it's good to know that I'm not alone in this.

Thank you very much.


I can relate to this - the only additional problem I have is when I have a large amount of schoolwork or homework and I actually attempt to do it, I lose motivation within ten minutes, lose track of time etc and my work ends up being done at last minute - resulting in me becoming anxious about the fact that I haven't done it to my full potential and that I may get a detention as it isn't completed. However, I've done well to not get a single 'official' detention since I began secondary school. On the other hand, being a perfectionist does have advantages - in Year 9 (English school years, would be Grade 8 in America) I achieved full marks in three out of four pieces of my coursework - 3A*s, my English teacher had never came across a student like myself who managed to get those grades at that age and have such high technical accuracy. The fourth piece of coursework was a speaking one - I didn't do as well on that. Basically, the first three pieces of coursework required the deadline to be extended for me, and I done more of the coursework after the deadline. Unfortunately, I still haven't overcome procrastinating and being a perfectionist, a perfect example is that I have only a week to finish my art exam preparation which will take me ages to do - especially the sustained drawing, my french questions and my English Lit coursework. I've spent this week playing Pokemon Heart Gold and watching repeatedly watching 2012, although I have attempted to do my art coursework.



Last edited by VolcanicEruptions on 13 Apr 2010, 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jumla
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10 Apr 2010, 3:44 pm

I’d also describe myself as being much the same.

This is probably not very helpful, but I have a system in place (instigated by my university), whereby I go for half an hour weekly/fortnightly appointments with my tutor/teacher for each of my subjects. The benefit isn’t so much in gaining actual help with my assessments, as it is in gaining reassurance that I’m doing the right thing with my work, and making the targets I need to make to get the work completed. As I’m gaining more confidence in what I’m doing, I’m finding that I don’t require these appointments quite so regularly.



astaut
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10 Apr 2010, 5:02 pm

I don't know if this will be helpful, but I struggle with the same thing as you so I'll leave my input.

I decide which one or two subjects I'm going to work on for the day (what specific tasks too), or else I'll just keep going and going. I need to get all the answers right plus I want to get more done than there is time for. I get more done if I take my stuff to the library. The tables are better (positioning wise) than at home, and it's quiet and cool. I work on one thing until I'm done with it, then walk around and find a book I want (not fun to some people, fun to me).

It's only really a good plan if you like to library. I'm so into books that I can use getting up to go look at books as a reward :nerdy: