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What are Prioritization Issues in People with ADHD and Autism?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Many people with autism and ADHD are aware that they struggle with executive functioning skills such as time management, or organization. But executive functioning skills also include prioritization. What exactly is prioritization and why is it so hard for people with ADHD and autism?

What is Prioritization?

Prioritization is the process of identifying and then ranking the most important tasks or goals you need to achieve. It requires the ability to understand the level of urgency of a task, event, or item. It’s a key part of time management, organization, and planning and something that can be difficult for people with autism and ADHD.

ADHD and Autism and Prioritization Challenges

Do you find yourself constantly struggling to keep up with your to-do list? If so, you're not alone. Many people with autism and ADHD have difficulty with prioritization. This is related to executive functioning issues.

There are a few reasons why people with ADHD and autism may struggle with prioritization. One is that they struggle with executive functioning skills, which includes the ability to plan, organize, and sequence in order to get things done. This can make it hard to see the big picture and figure out what’s most important.

Another reason is that people with ADHD may be more impulsive, easily distracted, or struggle with attention, which can make it hard to focus on one task long enough to get it done. Some people with ADHD and autism may procrastinate or delay their tasks, which can make it difficult to start working on the task in the first place. As such, prioritization and procrastination issues can overlap. They may also have difficulty focusing on one task long enough to complete it. This can make it hard to start and finish projects, which can make it difficult to know what is most important. Processing difficulties can also play a part, as well as time management issues. Finally, they may overfocus on one task and neglect others, which can also lead to difficulty with seeing the whole picture and trouble with prioritization.

Tips and Strategies

While prioritization can be challenging, there are a few things that can help. First, it can help to break down tasks into smaller steps that can be completed more easily. This can help stay focused and on track. Colour coding can be helpful when used to differentiate the importance or significance of a task. Additionally, setting deadlines can help ensure that tasks are on track. It can be hard to focus on what's most important when there are so many things competing for your attention. It can help to make a list of your items and then rate them each from a scale of 1-10 based on level of importance, and then number them in order of priority.

If you’ve been struggling with procrastination or executive functioning, you can click on the contact page and book a FREE 15-minute consultation with me and see if my coaching or counselling services may be a good fit.

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