I have six orchid plants growing on my windowsill and every year for eight years they have produced beautiful flowers but this year only one of them flowered. Other than noticing the lack of flowers, missing them and feeling a little sad, I didn’t do anything about it. Whenever I watered them, I would think, I should repot these orchids, and sometimes I’d put it on my to-do list for a day or two but nothing happened. I realized I would have to get past my inertia if I wanted to revive my orchids.

The Law of Inertia asserts that a body at rest will remain at rest until a force acts upon it and a body in motion will remain in motion until something acts against it. It sounds like Sir Isaac Newton knew a thing or two about ADHD.

Getting my body in motion, prying my butt off the couch and getting my ass in gear is always the hardest part of any task or project. On the other hand stopping something that has my attention can be challenging. It has been this way for as long as I can remember and over the years I have built up an arsenal or toolkit of external forces to counteract my inertia and get things done.

When I noticed, repot orchids on my to-do list again I crossed it out and I replaced it with repot one orchid plant. To get started I knew I had to make that first step smaller.

I found the potting soil, spread out some newspaper and started the process. Once I got going it was easy to keep going and I repotted all five of them. The process took about six months and thirty minutes, six months thinking about it and 30 minutes doing it.

Here’s a few tips to help you manage your inertia:

  • Stand up.
  • Stretch.
  • State your intention, I am going to……….
  • Start small.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • Take the first step, then take another.

Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: or email Kathy at

One thought on “Inertia

  1. Great article, Kathy! Even those us not having ADHD have this inertia issue! It really is all about starting in small doable steps and I find it amazing, too how once I get going, I’m usually engaged enough to keep going–of course it depends on the project and other things needing my attention…but that is the general pattern for me, too.

    Small, digestible steps allows for our minds to recognize we can do this. Bigger huge initial steps naturally has our minds go into that OMG mode, which is paralyzing and non productive.

    Thanks for writing such a great article!


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