ADHD and Procrastination: A Lesson from the Land
I accidentally spent the whole day gardening and landscaping today.
As I worked, I thought about ADHD and procrastination. Am I procrastinating? I thought, knowing I had many other projects lined up, none of which had to do with spending the day in the dirt.
Then I realized some things can’t wait. Like Mother Nature.
If I wait to pull out weeds, the things I want to live, will die; the things I want to die, will live.
Did our ancestors procrastinate?
As I worked the land, I thought about our ancestors. Our pioneering forefathers and foremothers spent their days in hard physical labour just to survive.
Can you imagine Clem telling Martha, “Sorry honey, I don’t feel like planting the crops today”?
Maybe that’s why the simple but demanding farm life is so good for people with ADHD. It’s do or die.
Is ADHD a product of modern lifestyles?
Think about life today. How many ways can you find to procrastinate? Plenty. But no matter what happens, chances are, nobody’s going to keel over if you’re late with your project.
There’s nothing like survival (yours, the crops’, or the animals’) to get you to get it done.
Yesterday’s pioneering families had to work hard. They couldn’t put off for tomorrow what had to be done today. They also got tons of physical exercise – which happens to be one of the best treatments for ADHD.
All this work and fresh air meant they slept well, while today’s ADHD adults struggle with out-of-sync sleep patterns.
Back to the future
It’s said that one reason people with ADHD procrastinate so much is that our ADHD brains don’t hold a picture of the future as easily as others. Lately, as the weather has warmed up, I’ve been walking around the house to see what’s growing and to plan what I’d like to plant.
During my daily lawn inspections, I’ve watched anxiously as the weeds run rampant, overtaking the daffodils, and choking out the hostas before they’ve had a chance to emerge. All I could think about was the future and how much more work it will be if I don’t tackle the weed problem now.
I’ve also been keenly aware of my next-door neighbour. When I first moved in he made a pointed remark about the previous owner who didn’t do any gardening or lawn maintenance. I got the point.
Envisioning a future with a disgruntled next-door neighbour also inspired me to keep up with my yard work.
Procrastination… or not
So today I spent a glorious day in the sunshine pulling up weeds, planting, building, digging, and reveling in the fresh air and sunshine. I was also ensuring that the future would be less work than it otherwise would have been.
But was I procrastinating? Maybe. Maybe not.
A lesson from the land
The next time I’m tempted to procrastinate, maybe I can think of my plants and my pride and use them as a reminder to think about the future.
What will be choked out of my life if I don’t act now? What projects, relationships, or goals will die if I don’t take action immediately? Who will be annoyed if I don’t take responsibility for what I’m responsible for?
They say we can learn from nature. Today, I thank my yard and Mother Nature for reminding me to think about the future when I’m tempted to procrastinate.