Don’t Get Distracted! Ways to Stay Focused If You Have ADHD
Many adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder can’t combat the symptoms of this disorder without medication, but if the symptoms of ADHD in adults is mild, it’s possible to control them by changing mental strategies and behaviors that increase the ability to concentrate. Whether your ADHD is serious or mild, it’s helpful to have a few strategies to improve concentration. These are some ways to help you stay focused if you have ADHD.
Behaviors to help you stay focused if you have ADHD
While trying to do tasks that require lots of concentration, try moving a little bit, like tapping your foot, moving your leg, or chewing gum. Choose something that’s short and repetitive. It’s been proven that this type of movement may help you concentrate on long tasks without interruptions. Practice these movements as long as it doesn’t bother others around you.
Keep the work area clean and free from distractions. There shouldn’t be any papers or other things that you don’t need that may be distracting. If something is in your field of vision that shouldn’t be, put it somewhere else so you can keep your mind on the task at hand.
Listening to music while you work may help you concentrate, it’s a trick that many people use. Music activates the part of the brain that’s in charge of controlling external stimuli that steal your attention.
Establish a clear schedule. If you follow a schedule consistently, you’ll get used to it and it’ll be easier to keep your mind on the task at hand. Thanks to smartphones, you can have your schedule right in front of you so it’s easier to follow.
Techniques to stay focused if you have ADHD
You have to learn to realize when your attention is lacking or wondering to something else so that you can learn how to regain it. When this happens, you can use one of these techniques to bring your attention back to the task at hand. The sooner you fix it, the easier it’ll be to regain concentration.
Break down long tasks into smaller ones. Long tasks are easier to manage if you go through it gradually. By breaking down the task into smaller projects will help you feel motivated and make you want to keep going. If you have a lot of time to dedicate to the task, this focus will work better: if you have 20 days to turn in a 20 page project, 20 1 page a day. Looking at it this way will seem much easier and more realistic.
Going back and putting the assignment in your own words may also be helpful. Patients with ADHD have problems starting projects because they don’t understand what exactly they have to do. If you take your time to find out what the assignment really is, you’ll understand it better and it will seem easier.
Repeat a mantra to keep yourself focused. If you repeat a simple phrase to yourself, like “finish the project”, over and over again, you’ll have an easier time concentrating. The mantra should be positive and reaffirming.
Figure out when the best time for you to take a break is and take advantage of it. If instead of getting distracted randomly, you previously identify the hardest parts of the task, you can plan accordingly so that you can take a break. Doing this will make it a little easier to get back to when you’re done.
Consult a specialist
ADHD isn’t a problem of mental strength or dedication, it’s a medical condition, and if you have more serious ADHD, the previous tips may not help you. If this is your case, the best we can suggest is that you go to a specialist so that they can give you a diagnosis and tell you the best course of treatment. There are different kinds of medications and therapies that can help the main symptoms of ADHD in adults. Keep looking for new options and don’t throw in the towel.
Alejandra is a clinical and health psychologist. She is a child specialist with a diploma in evaluation and intervention in autism. She has worked in different schools with young children and private practice for over 6 years. She is interested in early childhood intervention, emotional intelligence, and attachment styles. As a brain and human behavior enthusiast, she is more than happy to answer your questions and share her experience.