Captain Motivation!

May 2nd, 2016

ADHD has a hard time with procrastination and this is a relatively well known fact. What isn't as well know is why this challenge occurs. Recent research has suggested a factor might be our reward systems. This is a neurophysical term that basically means motivation. Dopamine is a neurochemical that allows the brain (ADHD or not) to sustain motivation.

The ADHD brain produces lower levels of dopamine ordinarily, however it has no trouble working on something fun, because the enjoyment is producing dopamine which allows us to focus. But take away that enjoyment, and the dopamine it produces, and it becomes significantly harder to sustain focus, sometimes to the point of a physical impossibility.

I was faced with a challenge of dopamine production this week. I am working on an extremely boring task and was flagging in attention and motivation. To make matters worse the task was also extremely mentally taxing. When my brain works harder, it requires more dopamine to function, which means the small amount of dopamine I had was being used up faster.

I had been working on the task for several days when one day I saw that Canadian Netflix had added Captain America: Winter Soldier. Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of my top fandoms and I hadn't been able to see the film when it was in theatres, so I was very excited. Due to issues of morality and technological incompetence, I do not stream or pirate media of any kind.

So I decided Captain America would be my reward for finishing my task. The prospect of being able to watch this movie provided me with the dopamine I needed to finish the task in increased mental comfort. I finished in 3 days.

What do you use to leverage your motivation?