by Lillian Csernica on October 28, 2013
I was just over on Facebook grumbling about my total lack of nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic. Today I simply Can NOT make myself work on my Japanese historical romance novel. I’m down to editing the last forty pages of this draft. This is the home stretch! What’s the problem? One friend popped up with permission to go to something mindless. Housework. I hate housework. I’m so bored I can’t help but process my fictional problems and I often do come up with solutions. Then another friend sent me the list you see below, ways for folks with ADHD to cope with their concentration difficulties. Whether or not you have ADHD, I think these strategies can come in very handy when you need help to focus.
1. Make a list. To get a great start on your work, nothing helps you organize and prioritize your tasks like writing them down. But don’t try to do too much. If you have a long list, pick out the items that must be done today and work from that shorter list. Also, writing your list on a whiteboard makes it easy to change things if priorities shift.
2. Use the Buddy System. Make friends with a well-organized manager or co-worker who can guide you through projects from beginning to end by helping you stay organized and focused and giving you feedback and support.
3. Just say no to multitasking. Juggling is for circus performers. The rest of us do our best work by focusing on one task at a time. Break down big jobs into small, manageable steps and focus on them one at a time too.
4. Beat the clock. Does it feel like time is your enemy? If you’re prone to run late or forget meetings or deadlines, set your smartphone or computer to remind you automatically. And if you’re spending too much time working on daily tasks, do the same thing you’d do if you were spending too much money every day: put yourself on a budget. Give yourself a limited amount of time for each job on your list.
5. Interrupt those interruptions. Interruptions will happen, but you can reduce or eliminate many of them. Ask to work in a quiet space where noise and conversations won’t distract. And instead of frequently checking your email and voicemail, set aside one or two times each day to respond.
6. Write it down. If you’ll need to remember it later, give your memory a break: write down everything you can, from verbal instructions to meeting notes, deadlines, details, whatever you may find yourself struggling to remember. Even better, review your notes with the person you were listening to make sure they are correct and complete.
7. Take a break. Simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can work wonders for your concentration. And if you sit all day, getting up once an hour for a brief walk or visit with a colleague may improve your alertness and focus.
8. Can’t sit still? Then don’t! In times when you can’t leave your seat, there are simple ways to help relieve restlessness that won’t disturb people around you. Try chewing gum, sipping water, flexing muscles, clicking a pen, fingering your hair, your imagination will find something that works for you.
9. Treat yourself. A little reward goes a long way with ADHD. Set goals and reward yourself for reaching them. Remember, rewards don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Completing a project might mean treating yourself to something as simple as a favorite dessert, or an afternoon of “me time” at home to read that great novel you haven’t had time for.
10. Pick the best and forget the rest. Just as ADHD symptoms vary from person to person, so do solutions. You are the best judge of what your own challenges are and which techniques work best for you. Try a variety of the approaches we’ve shown you. Be mindful of what helps and what doesn’t, learn from your experiences, and above all have confidence that your efforts will improve your abilities to cope with ADHD on the job and in every facet of your life.
- ADHD And Women: The Hidden Disorder (jewishpress.com)
- How do I know if my students are using ADHD as an excuse? (thedeezone.com)
- Anxiety & ADHD (somethingshimmeringandwhite.wordpress.com)