Headphones And Music For Focus At Home
My partner and I share a home office and now both of us are working from home, so I use noise-cancelling headphones. I just listen to podcasts on them while I work and then Im not distracted by my partner.
I have been able to be productive and complete tasks at home when I listen to audiobooks. This is helpful when it is a clear & sort type of task only though, not something that requires concentration.
In order to try to be as focused as possible, I control my distractions. Listening to music, usually with earbuds, allows me to tune out other noises that may distract me from focusing.
Give Time Blocking A Whirl
Time blocking is very simple. Itâs just three steps:
Since organization and getting distracted can be problems for people with ADHD, time blocking can help. First, it helps you get organized by having you choose ahead of time, whether thatâs weekly or daily, what you should work on and what can wait or be delegated to someone else.
It also helps you avoid distraction by setting aside time to work on one thing and one thing only. While youâre in your time block for Task X, you agree not to get distracted by Task Y or Website Z.
A pro-tip for time blocking is to pay attention to your energy flows. If youâre better able to hyperfocus in the afternoons, schedule your most brain-intensive activities for then and schedule your mindless tasks for the mornings.
Pro-tip: If you have trouble finding time to address your parking lot items, try adding a block to your calendar with that purpose.
Keep A Running List Of Tangential Thoughts/ Ideas/ Tasks
One of the biggest distractions can be all the thoughts, brilliant ideas, and endless rabbit holes our brains can take us on. Try keeping a notepad beside your computer that you jot those ideas down onto. Then, when you have finished the task at hand, you can look at your list and see what still feels essential. It could be something to research, someone you want to check in with, or something completely random- but if its not the straightforward task at hand, it goes on the list.
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Reading Issues For Adults With Adhd
Adults with ADHD also face some of the same issues with reading. While research on reading issues for adults with ADHD is limited, several issues could be at play.
It is not unusual to become derailed by internal thoughts or external distractions, particularly when reading something uninteresting or downright boring. You may frequently find that you are losing your place or skipping words in longer passages because you are visually distracted by all the words on the page.
You may have trouble identifying and remembering the main points of what you’ve just read. You may simply zone out and become sleepy while reading.
Tips For Staying Focused And Productive At Work
ADHD can create special challenges at work. The things you may find toughestorganization, completion of tasks, sitting still, listening quietlyare the very things youre often asked to do all day long.
Juggling ADHD and a challenging job is no easy task, but by tailoring your workplace environment you can take advantage of your strong points while minimizing the negative impact of your ADHD symptoms.
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Repeat Back And Write Down Instructions
Paying attention can be a serious challenge to those with adult ADHD. Paying attention and retaining a complex set of instructions can seem insurmountable. Its easy to become distracted and miss critical components that will allow you to complete the assigned task.
Repetition helps you retain information and helps to cement instructions in your brain. Repeating back directions makes it less likely that youll forget. In addition, writing the instructions down can act as a safeguard and provide a point of reference if you do lose track.
Tips To Focus At Work With Adhd
There are various strategies that can help you succeed at work despite your ADHD. These tips capitalize on strengths while minimizing the symptoms. Try to establish these tips as part of your daily routine and youll likely have an easier time at work with fewer of the complications that can accompany your condition.
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Find Your Own Way To Motivate Yourself
Typing up the top 10 reasons why a new habit is important to them has worked for some of my clients. They framed the list and put it on their desk or nightstand. It motivates them to keep going when they miss a day. Others need a source of accountability to get started and to stick with a routine. I check in daily with several of my clients via text messages. Knowing they will get a text asking how things are going helps them avoid procrastination. If you dont have a coach, get a buddy to check up on you.
Connect With Positive Coworkers
A supportive co-worker who understands your difficulties with staying on task can be a source of support and encouragement. Some people have found it helpful to share information about ADHD with their employers and develop simple accommodations to make work more successful.
Weight the pros and cons of sharing your diagnosis with your employer. It may be helpful if you would like to request accommodations, but it is also a personal decision.
Not everyone is comfortable having their employer know details about their ADHD, and not all workplaces are neurodiversity-affirming.
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Create A Distraction List
So I first start with having a distraction list at my side any time Im working.
To keep track of your distractions you can record these thoughts on a Post-It note or a notepad.
You can also use the Im Busy Being Awesome planner that I designed for my clients which includes a notes section in the daily planning pages, which is where I capture all of my distracting thoughts.
The Im Busy Being Awesome planner is now available on Amazon check out the planner here! On the first page, youll see a link to access a quick course that walks you through my best practices of using the planner and how you can adjust it to work with your brain.
Throughout the workday, whenever Im at my computer, I have my planner next to me.
Any distracting thoughts that pop into my mind go right in that notes section.
And for reference, as I wrote this podcast script today, I already had one, two, three, four, five, different distracting thoughts about plans for dinner, a newsletter idea, making a haircut, messaging my breathwork teacher, and making a vet appointment for Bruno.
Now if I didnt have this place to capture those thoughts, I probably would have jumped on them all immediately because Id be worried that I wouldnt do them later.
Id be worried that I would forget. But because I wrote them down and I know I have a system to take care of these thoughts so I can stay focused on the task at hand.
Im able to jot down the distraction and then get right back to work.
Make Your Environment Distraction
Creating an environment that promotes focus is especially important if you have ADHD. For some people, eliminating clutter, reducing noise, and removing extra stimuli help with concentration.
In contrast, some people with ADHD find that background music is motivating and helps them stay on task. If this is the case for you, turning up the tunes might be the key to getting things done.
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Look For The Jet Stream
Sometimes what we need most is momentum, which lets us build up our confidence and assures us that were capable of getting sh!t done.
So look for the flow: Is there a task that you already know how to start, are excited to tackle, or utilizes a skill thats in your wheelhouse?
It doesnt have to be the most urgent or important task, either. Just getting something off the back burner and getting into the flow of things can help when its time to shift your attention to the more pressing stuff.
Expect Progress Not Perfection
Alright. Youve set up your space, made your priorities list, and found a friend who is willing to hold you accountable. Youre even trying to use your ADHD to your advantage.
Even when you do everything you can to focus, something is bound to come up. Maybe you still got distracted even after doing everything right. Maybe something that you didnt expect to be a priority ended up being much more important than you thought.
Aiming for perfection actually does the opposite of its intent. We end up feeling defeated and discouraged because we can never make it go exactly the way we think we should.
Rather than expecting yourself to be perfect, aim for healthy progress. The more you work at focusing, the more you will learn about yourself and what does or doesnt help you. Give yourself a break and allow yourself room to grow!
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Tips For Staying Focused When You Have Adult Adhd
If you are one of the roughly 10 million U.S. adults with ADHD, it can be a constant challenge to stay focused and on task. A wandering mind and a tendency to be easily distracted are common for people with ADHD. Whether youre talking to your boss or best friend, you might easily lose track of conversations or forget what you were working on. Or fail to pay attention to important details and make mistakes. But this isnt an oversight on your part. An inability to focus is a prominent symptom of ADHD. While you may not always be able to fully control your capability to pay attention, you can find strategies that help you sustain it.
How to Get Stuff Done When You Have ADHD
Want To Join Our Group Coaching Program
I will be opening the doors for the next cohort of Were Busy Being Awesome in a couple of weeks!
Add your name to the waitlist so youll be the first to know about program dates and times, plus how you can sign up if its a great fit for you.
Also, if you know someone who would love to learn more about staying focused and capturing their brilliant ideas, would you be a rockstar and share this episode with them?
Each time you do, you help me get these tools to even more people, and I really appreciate it.
Until next time, keep being awesome.
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Stretch Your Attention Span
As an adult with ADHD, you are capable of focusingits just that you may have a hard time keeping that focus, especially when the activity isnt one that you find particularly engaging. Boring meetings or lectures are hard on anyone, but for adults with ADHD, they may pose a special challenge. Similarly, following multiple directions can also be difficult for those with ADHD. Use these tips to improve your focus and ability to follow instructions:
Get it in writing. If youre attending a meeting, lecture, workshop, or another gathering that requires close attention, ask for an advance copy of the relevant materialssuch as a meeting agenda or lecture outline. At the meeting, use the written notes to guide your active listening and note taking. Writing as you listen will help you stay focused on the speakers words.
Echo directions. After someone gives verbal instructions, say them aloud to make sure you got it right.
Move around. To prevent restlessness and fidgeting, go ahead and move aroundat the appropriate times in the right places. As long as you are not disturbing others, try squeezing a stress ball during a meeting, for example. Or taking a walk or even jumping up and down during a meeting break can help you pay attention later on.
Create Set Email/ Call Times In Your Day
Email/ texts/ calls are all one of the biggest distractions and time-takers of our lives, yet they are also essential comments of our work. But if youre constantly being barraged by notifications or even if just having the email tab open constantly takes you off track, try setting up 2-3 times in your day when you address emails/messages. This assures important messages are addressed but keeps them contained and keeps your focus free during the rest of the day.
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Set Aside Planning Time
Lack of planning is one of the biggest focus drains its hard to stay in the zone when you dont know exactly what youre supposed to be doing! Even one minute of planning can save you as much as 40 minutes of work, so its important that you schedule regular, short planning sessions to sketch out priorities and deadlines for the upcoming days or weeks. Of course, nothing is set in stone priorities can shift and emergencies can arise. But having even a general sense of your goals and how to plan to achieve them even if you get thrown off course works wonders for retrieving your focus from La-La Land.
Use Your Device To Stay On Track
Cellphones and tablets are more than just devices for communication and surfing the web. These electronics can also be an excellent tool for managing tasks.
For example, if you have trouble remembering what you have on your to-do list or appointment times, you can use calendar apps with alert functions to set reminders.
On the other hand, you might find that you become hyperfocused on projects you enjoy. This can result in spending too much time on one activity and neglecting other, less desirable projects.
If you experience this, you could try setting a timer while doing a project you enjoy so you dont lose track and forget to do other tasks.
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Work With Your Adhd Instead Of Against It
One symptom of ADHD includes difficulty staying focused on one task for an extended period. Consider working with this tendency by choosing two tasks you need to accomplish and switch between them throughout the day.
Having the option to change tasks when your attention begins to diminish may help boost productivity.
Know Your Personal Distractions Ahead Of Time
In order to support yourself is to make yourself aware ahead of time of the common distractions for you.
Also, follow through with what that distraction often creates for you.
- What does that experience look like when it unfolds?
- How can you make yourself aware of this pattern ahead of time?
Example 1: Youre Bored. Maybe you are working on something and youre feeling incredibly bored. And youre thinking to yourself, this data entry is so tedious. You feel bored. And your brains goto reaction is, lets see whats happening on Instagram. Or lets see whats happening on Facebook.
Now, remember, we are looking with curiosity, not with judgment. Because by gathering this data, we know that often when our brain experiences boredom, it tries to escape that emotion by going to social media.
Example 2: Youve Hit a Roadblock. Or on the other side of the spectrum, maybe you are working on a project and you get to a part that seems particularly challenging. Maybe you hit a roadblock and youre feeling really frustrated because you cant figure out a solution. And because the brain is feeling frustrated, it naturally wants to escape that feeling of frustration. So it thinks, lets quickly check email and see if theres anything new. Let me see if theres a message I missed or if theres something I can reply to.
Have you been there before? I know I have.
This is just a handful of potential rabbit holes that your brain might follow.
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Plan Your Day And Tasks Ahead Of Time
Planning out your day and your tasks when your executive functioning battery is fully charged gives you the chance to decide what your priorities are before new shiny things enter the picture. This not only keeps you from having to weigh the importance of your tasks all along the way. But it also allows you to stay in action mode rather than switching from action to plan and back to action again, over and over.
Why Cant I Focus
Being easily distracted when you live with ADHD does not mean youre lazy, have a poor work ethic, or are being rude.
Almost all of us have days when we find it hard to stay focused. Distractions are everywhere. Barking dogs, fighting kids, phone notifications all of these can pull our attention away from what we should be doing.
When you live with ADHD, staying focused can be even more of a challenge. You may tend to procrastinate often.
The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention and lack of focus. The reason for this may lie in your brain chemistry.
Research suggests that people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain associated with attention and focus. They are that nudge in our brain that motivates us to do stuff.
But while focusing might be a challenge, its not impossible.
Improving your focus means learning what works best for you. Not every method will be a good fit for your unique situation.
It might take some trial and error to find the right ones for you.
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