Many people with ADHD also report struggling with perfectionism, especially in women. Women are more likely to be late diagnosed or have been told all of their life that they're fine they "just need to work harder."
The high rate of perfectionism in women with ADHD could be due to this idea. Girls from a young age aren't seen as having ADHD, often because they don't display the same symptoms of a 5 year old boy running laps around the classroom. So the girls grow up believing they just have to work harder.
But that leads to feeling pressured to work extra hard to overcompensate for their struggles. They need to perform higher. So they push themselves harder and hold themselves to higher standards. They become people pleasers and perfectionists.
Believe it or not, perfectionists often struggle with procrastination. Striving for a high level of flawlessness that is unattainable - and knowing it is unattainable - often leads to a fear around actually doing the work, or completing the work, you need to do.
This ends up being a vicious circle. Struggling with things, memory, performance, learning, getting tasks done, etc. due to ADHD, leads to high rates of perfectionism causing fear around doing or completing work which leads to procrastination. When something is completed in a reasonable amount of time or to the standard you hope for you end up feeling overwhelmed and struggle to overcome that due to many of your ADHD traits.
Do you see the circle?
ADHD can make certain things harder in general. Particular tasks can be more difficult depending on the type of learning difficulties one experiences. Furthermore, people with perfectionism often report spending quite a bit longer on tasks than most people due to the tasks never feeling good enough to submit or mark complete.
Procrastination can often look like staring at the task for a long time.
Business owners are often required to do a lot of different tasks in a short amount of time. Being able to go from task to task quickly and orderly is essential for the daily running of a business. When things aren't done in an efficient amount of time the tasks can pile up creating a mass amount of overwhelm. If you're a solopreneur this can often lead to leaving work on the table and therefore money.
People with ADHD and perfectionism experience higher rates of burnout than most people which is exacerbated by many of the common symptoms of ADHD. Many people with ADHD (including yourself) often report struggling with organization, staying focused and time management. When those symptoms are at play along with a tendency to "hyperfocus" it can take a huge mental toll to overcome those, every single day.
Burnout often comes when your mind and body are extremely over-taxed. Every person is different. The load that one person can handle can differ dramatically from another. But people with ADHD and perfectionism are often more sensitive than others.
When you are procrastinating, you often want to do your work but your mind is holding you back. But that doesn't mean you're not thinking about it. You're probably thinking about it more since it's not done. For a person with ADHD, your mind is always working on overdrive, even when you're "resting." This leads to a high mental load and, yup you guessed it, burnout.
People with ADHD have something called Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. RSD is where a person experiences "extreme emotional sensitivity and pain triggered by the perception that a person has been rejected or criticized by important people in their life. It may also be triggered by a sense of falling short - failing to meet their own high standards or others' expectations." (ADDitude Online Magazine).
Perfectionists often experience similar things. Since they hold themselves to a high standard if and when they inevitably don't meet their expectations they often have a difficult time recovering from the "rejection" they face.
When someone procrastinates due to perfectionism or a neurodiversity they often can't shake the feeling of failing and therefore rejection.
In business, you often experience literal rejection. Someone says no to your offer or chooses not to buy. If you work with clients and submit a piece of work and they provide feedback it can also feel like rejection. Rejection and "failure" are a part of business, an inevitable part. Not everything we put out will be gold, not everything will be perfect on the first submission, not every person we pitch to will say yes.
Take it from an expert, one rejection can really throw you back. It can be hard to recover and move on from. Next time you can also be more hesitant to do the same thing or something similar even if it's a must do.
ADHD, Perfectionism and Procrastination are a deadly trifecta which can really impact the way your work and run your business.
But don't worry, you can work on these things and find great hacks to help you overcompensate (without increasing your mental load) and effectively run your business and its day-to-day tasks.
If you're looking for a way to get started on the perfectionist-free life grab your copy of my zero-dollar Perfection Busting Solution guide for an easy way to get started. You can take back your control and kick perfectionism to the curb. Get started today!