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Figuring Out How to Get Things Done

Often individuals with ADHD know “what to do” and “how to do it” but “don’t do it”. Regulating daily activities, including beginning and finishing assignments or completing tasks, simply does not happen.

“Self-regulation” is the term being explored by researchers in the field of ADHD who are searching for solutions and ways to help individuals with ADHD and weak executive-functioning skills to thrive in their daily lives. These skills are the ones that help us plan our day, set goals, and accomplish tasks – otherwise known simply as “figuring out how to get things done”.

Figuring out how to get things done involves knowing that some goals are much easier for an individual than others, depending on one’s interest in the task and the level of confidence one has in doing it. It also involves a certain level of commitment to see the task through to the end, regardless of the obstacles one encounters or the setbacks that might occur.  After the task has been completed, it is important to reflect on “was that the best way or were the results what I had hoped for?”  Based on that reflection, one can then decide to keep doing the task the same way or to try a different tactic.

Barry Zimmerman, Educational Psychologist of City University of NY, has developed a model for becoming a self-regulated learner.  The cycle includes planning, performance, and self-reflection. The difference happens when one practices this cycle on a regular basis until it becomes second nature, particularly since this is a skill and not an innate ability. His research is proving that such change can happen.

Self-Regulation Diagram

Check out this article on how to help an individual with ADHD become a self-regulated learner.