ADHD can make staying focused on daily tasks difficult. This is because the brain doesn’t have a filter that allows you to tune out distractions like background noise. ADHD isn’t just about being unable to pay attention – the brain just can’t control where to focus in the same way that somebody without ADHD can. This means that it can be hard to keep your focus on activities when there is external noise, movement, or even when you are thinking about other things.
There’s nothing worse than being told to ‘just focus’ when you have ADHD. For many people, it’s not that simple, and can range from having trouble paying attention to small details, through to forgetting regular tasks such as paying bills.
Here are a few tips for helping concentration with ADHD throughout your day.
Setting a routine
Sticking to a plan is a great way to save time, even if it’s to get a general sense of your priorities in the coming days or weeks. These plans need to be a regular part of your routine to assign deadlines, with the understanding that things change and priorities can shift. By setting aside some time to focus on your targets and how to achieve them, you can help to prevent your mind wandering and increase your productivity.
Deadlines can be really helpful for an ADHD brain, because they help you to remove competing activities from your mental ‘to do’ list, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. Don’t hold yourself accountable for every single task in life, as this can cause more stress than it alleviates! However, giving each of your goals a timescale can increase the likelihood that you’re able to get on with the task, rather than forgetting to do it, or starting it but not finishing it. For example, you could write down the following:
“I will call the dentist on Friday afternoon”
“I need to finish this piece of work by Thursday at 3pm”
“The dog needs to go to the groomer before the 31st August”
By setting yourself reminders for these tasks, you can make sure that you don’t let it slip.
Be kind to yourself
Focusing doesn’t need to be punishing, and it can encourage healthy habits. Speak to a friend or family member to help if you need to prioritise your goals, and celebrate when you have achieved them. Don’t obsess over small details – perfection isn’t as important as your mental health, so make sure that you don’t hold yourself to impossible standards. Breaks between activities can help shift focus from one area to another and make sure that the time spent working on those activities is more productive. Doing some form of physical exercise daily even if it’s just a short walk will help you stay calm and relaxed and lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Avoid negative distractions
Not all distractions are bad! When you need to clear your head, put down the digital devices, and instead try taking a walk or doing something creative. You can make sure that you stick to your set break time by setting a timer, because it’s easy to get carried away. You can identify your ‘trigger points’ that cause a lack of motivation and create a structure that minimises these triggers. For example, you might find that you lose focus when you’re hungry or overwhelmed by lots of different tasks. When helping concentration with ADHD, try to work around your own flow rather than setting times for activities that will be difficult for you.
By following these tips, you can add some structure to your day and achieve your goals in a positive way. If you need further support with dealing with the way your ADHD manifests, please get in touch with our team.