If you are here to learn how to focus better with ADHD, this blog is for you!
We’re going to talk about the top 10 tips on how to focus better with ADHD when you just can’t figure out how to do it.
Tip #1: Get ADHD treatment
Anyone with ADHD deserves to get medical treatment and support for it. Everyone’s treatment protocol is going to look different, but none of us benefit from not getting treatment. So, if you want to be able to focus better with ADHD, curb your impulses, manage your emotions, and stop procrastinating, the number one thing you need to do is seek medical treatment.
Tip #2: Take care of your body
If want to be able to focus with ADHD, you have to meet your basic needs.
It’s so easy for us to forget about this, but it is essential. Learning to focus better with ADHD has a lot to do with taking care of yourself. So, I want you to ask yourself, “what does your body need? Is it food? water? a snack? Do you need to go to the bathroom, take a nap, or take a walk?”
Treating your body with respect will lead you on the path to being able to focus.
Tip #3: Figure out how to feel good
This is a tricky one since many of us with ADHD struggle with anxiety, depression, and emotional dysregulation, but if you’re going to be able to focus, you’re going to need to learn how to shift into feeling better.
So ask yourself, “how can I shift into a more balanced state?”
When I’m feeling down, I do a “thought download”, meaning I get all my feelings and frustrations out in one go by venting on paper or to a friend, then I go for a walk to get my body moving. This process helps me accept what I need to do today, gives me the willingness to tackle it and feel a little bit more determined to accomplish it even though I’m not feeling great.
Sometimes we need to feel the yucky stuff and process our feelings before we can move forward. So, my advice is to do what you need to do to get your feelings out, move your body, then focus on accepting what you need to do for the day, cultivate the willingness to tackle it and focus on the determination to accomplish it.
Tip #4: Define your wins!
Ask yourself, what would make today successful? What would make the next hour successful? Asking these questions will help you decide what to prioritize.
Once you bang out the tasks that will make you feel accomplished, you can then move on to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. Just make sure you don’t make a list of 7,000 wins because that will just overwhelm you. Instead, focus on one task at a time.
Tip #5: Define your why
Now, this is super important for ADHD brains. Why do you want to get things done? Why do you want to make progress on your book or spend time organizing your closet, or get that report out to your client?
Having a good reason for why we are doing what we are doing is a great way to counter the resistance our brains feel when it comes to getting things done. When you have reasons for doing things that feel true and right for you, you set yourself up to feel motivated and focused.
So, tip #5 is define your why, and the focus will follow.
Tip #6: Make a doable schedule
Meaning, do not overfill your schedule. Our brains like to underestimate what we can do in the long-term, and overestimate what we can do in the short-term. So, a good rule of thumb when making a schedule is to estimate how long a task will take, then double that time. So, if you’re writing a report and you think it’s going to take an hour, make sure to give yourself two hours.
Tip #7: Set time parameters
Set very specific timeframes for your work, so you don’t procrastinate and get distracted. So for example, estimate the time a project will take you, double that time, set a timer, and make sure the timer is visible so you don’t forget about it. This might look like a countdown timer, schedule blocking, or a timer on your phone.
Setting time parameters for our work is essential because the ADHD brain does not process time the normal way. We have what Dr. Russel Barkley affectionately refers to as “time blindness”, so we need to externalize time through timers, so that we don’t spend hours researching why rabbit tails are an inch and a half long and not five inches…
Tip #8: Plan your day, then trust yourself
One of the sneakiest ways our ADHD brains get us off track is by telling us we shouldn’t be doing what we are doing, and we should do something else. Our brains love the path of least resistance, so it tries to distract us from exerting too much energy.
So, I want you to define your wins, define your why, make a doable schedule, set timers, then trust yourself by believing that you are doing exactly what you need to be doing. Don’t listen to the voice that tells you to stop following your plan! Trust your plan, trust yourself, and stay the course.
Tip #9: Have fun
ADHD brains lack dopamine, so it can be really hard to feel good a lot of the time. So, tip #9 is to manufacture fun! Make your life as fun as you can! Ask yourself, how can I make a task more enjoyable? Should I put on music? Do it standing up? Ask a friend to join me?
My advice is to do whatever it takes to make it your day as fun as possible.
Tip #10 Celebrate partially completed wins
Allow yourself to see the good in what you’re doing, even if you only got through the first couple of steps of your plan.
You don’t have to do a task, project, or chore perfectly in order to feel good about it. Partially completed wins are STILL wins! You get to be in charge of your thoughts and emotions, and if you want to feel good about partially getting something done, you get to.
Tip #10 is all about honoring the work you put in and the effort you made, so you can feel good and inspired tomorrow!
To sum it all up, the top 10 tips to help you focus with ADHD are:
- Get your ADHD treated
- Take care of your body
- Do what it takes to feel good
- Define your wins
- Define your why
- Make a doable schedule
- Set timers
- Plan your day, then trust yourself
- Have fun
- Celebrate partial wins