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Do you have trouble focusing on your work and often find your mind wandering away?
You are not alone. This is a common problem reported by people these days during the pandemic as well as those with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Setting goals, but not being able to achieve them due to poor focus and getting easily distracted is an issue which people with ADHD often struggle with. This lack of focus often interferes with work, school, and home responsibilities. If you have ADHD, you may often have been misjudged as being lazy, thus making you feel frustrated and demotivated. But do not take it to heart. By implementing specific strategies, it is possible to enhance your attention and other abilities despite having ADHD.
ADHD and focus
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder where the person has difficulties with concentration, gets easily distracted, and maybe impulsive and overactive. The primary symptom- poor attention or a lack of focus, often leads to poor work performance, unstable relationships, low self-esteem, and emotional issues.
ADHD Treatment usually includes medications and psychological interventions to help improve attention and manage other issues like disorganization, motivation, impulsivity, and restlessness. Research has pointed to the role of brain chemistry in ADHD. To be able to focus requires the optimum functioning of neurotransmitters Dopamine and Norepinephrine. In people with ADHD, the levels of these two have been found to be low thus affecting their attention span.
However, despite the chemical imbalance contributing to poor focus and other symptoms, it is still possible to prevent it from controlling your life. This can be done by rearranging your internal as well as external environment in order to enhance your ability to focus.
How to focus better with ADHD?
Mental health professionals are trained in helping people with ADHD manage their poor attention and other issues. There are several techniques which when practiced consistently have been shown to cause positive changes in people with poor focus. Here are 7 tips backed by research and professional experience to help you focus better, thereby making it easier to achieve the goals you set:
- Keep a thought organizer: When we sit for a task, we often get distracted by our own thoughts. We remember tasks that need to be completed or think of problems in our life that need sorting out. If this keeps happening to you, it helps to keep a small notepad in which you can jot down these thoughts whenever they arise and address them at a later convenient time. You can even have a set time each day when you can review the notebook and work on the thoughts or worries written down, by coming up with workable solutions for them.
- Aim for clarity: It helps to be clear regarding the tasks you need to complete in order to stay motivated enough to finish the tasks. Asking more questions and understanding the details of the activity will lend clarity to the situation, prevents starting trouble as well as help you plan better.
- Create and complete manageable chunks: To prevent feeling overwhelmed with activities and projects, break them down into smaller tasks and focus on completing them one at a time. After each task is completed, commend your efforts. This helps you stay motivated and prevents procrastination.
- Create short work schedules: Those who struggle with time-management issues arising out of poor focus would benefit from creating structured work schedules. Set short work periods of 30–40-minute duration followed by a ten-minute break. Plan a refreshing activity during your breaks to help you take your mind off the task. A timer proves useful in sticking to the work-break schedules and preventing forgetfulness, another common issue faced by those with ADHD.
- Take energizing breaks: The quality of time spent during breaks is crucial for ensuring adequate focus during work periods. Hence take up activities that help you unwind and feel refreshed. Short bouts of exercise during the breaks, like spot jogging, jumping jacks, etc., act as brain boosters and will improve your efficiency. Similarly, activities like mindfulness meditation, listening to music, mandala coloring, or any artwork during breaks will prove beneficial in improving focus.
- Practice mindfulness: Take time off frequently during the day to pause for a minute and focus on your breathing. As you inhale and exhale, bring your mind to your breath. Most often in ADHD, the brain gets overwhelmed with many ideas, plans, thoughts, and emotions. Periodically focusing on breathing helps energize the mind and get back to the task with enhanced attention. Mindfulness is one of the most effective ADHD focus exercises.
- Find a Buddy: Identify someone who is well organized with whom you can discuss your priorities, goals, and deadlines, either on a weekly or a monthly basis. This will help you stay on track. This buddy can be a family member, colleague, friend, or mental health professional taking on the role of an ADHD coach.
Apart from the above, there are several more strategies that can be used to enhance focus and address other issues like procrastination, time management, forgetfulness, planning, etc. in ADHD. One needs to experiment with the many available techniques to understand which one works best for them.
Only through a trial-and-error process would you be able to identify the right strategies to enhance your attention despite distractions. Reaching out to a psychologist trained in cognitive or neuropsychology would prove helpful with regard to learning more ways to improve attention as well as manage the other symptoms of ADHD. We at Cadabams have professionals to help you manage your difficulties. Be it medical or psychological interventions for ADHD, reach out to us for information and support.
How to focus when you have ADHD?
Ans. Setting goals but failing to attain them owing to poor focus and being easily distracted is a problem that many persons with ADHD face. This inability to focus causes problems at work, school, and at home. If you have ADHD, you may have been mistaken for a slacker, leaving you frustrated and unmotivated. But don't take it too seriously. Despite having ADHD, you can improve your attention and other talents by applying particular tactics.
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