In the last article on Priming the Pump I talked about using play as a way to get the dopamine flowing to your brain when you are feeling unmotivated, disinterested, or overwhelmed by the task in front of you.
There are six key characteristics of play and other activities that really turn your ADHD brain “on.” By incorporating these into your activities, you can increase the feeling of motivation you have by increasing the dopamine in your brain.
I know you can see the fantastic image above–but here is a description of what each of these motivators looks like:
Novelty–Doing things differently or engaging in a new task you have never done before. Wrestling alligators in my bathtub would be novel–but doing my taxes in the bathtub would be too!
Competition–Most people think of competing against another person. But you can also compete against yourself or a timer. Try to beat the clock or get a task done faster than you ever have before. And of course, you can also try to best another person!
Urgency–When something has to get done “now” it can be extremely motivating. This is why procrastination–when it’s done right–can be an extremely effective motivator.
Interest–This may not be as sexy as the other motivators, but plain old interest can get your brain motivated. Incorporating aspects of tasks that you naturally gravitate to into a seemingly less interesting task, can pique your interest. Keep in mind, what interests you may not float another person’s boat. So if you are working on a team project, try to take everyone’s interests into account.
Humor–When something is amusing or funny, it can seem more attractive. Sometimes just imagining a funny outcome to a task can be enough to get me interested. Having a round robin of telling jokes among your team can also make you feel more motivated to participate.
PLAY!!–I hope I don’t really need to explain to you what play is…. But I will. “Play is a state of mind, rather than an activity. It is an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time. It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again.” Hmm…. If you are feeling motivated, interested, focused and like you are having fun, you are playing!
When your brain feels like it needs a major jump start; when you feel like it’s difficult to get your interest focused on a task that has to be completed, use these keys to start your engine and win the race in true ADHD style!