While ADHD doesn’t have to be a diagnosis that ruins your life, it certainly causes certain challenges in productivity and the ability to focus on things that aren’t interesting to you. Of course, your job and/or schoolwork might be among the things that you find less-than-interesting and are often an area of difficulty for people who have ADHD.
Though some people will assume their ADHD can’t be helped, others know that there are certain proven techniques that can help you to maintain focus and get things done.
What is ADHD?
ADHD stands for “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder,” and it is considered a mental disorder. According to the CDC: ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental (having to do with the way the brain grows and develops) disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.
The CDC adds that kids who have ADHD tend to “have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.”
Typical symptoms of ADHD include but are not limited to difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.
ADHD and Boredom
A lot of people aren’t aware of how ADHD can cause you to get bored easily – and they might not know that people with ADHD also tend to be able to hyperfocus on things that they do find interesting. In fact, according to VeryWellMind.com, “adults with ADHD are always looking for things that are new or stimulating because when they are interested in something, the executive functions of the brain click into gear and the brain works well.”
Does ADHD end after childhood?
As it turns out, ADHD can persist into adulthood, and many adults may have ADHD but they’re not diagnosed with it. Adults who have ADHD might struggle with focus at work, and they may also find difficulties in their personal relationships or with keeping their homes in order. They might also find that they struggle with low self-esteem and a variety of other related problems. Interestingly, adult symptoms may appear a little different than they would in childhood. For example, they might appear restless as an adult while they appeared more hyperactive as kids. And when life gets stressful or difficult for an adult with ADHD, the symptoms can actually get more pronounced.
Managing ADHD at Work and School: My Tips for Maintaining Focus and Productivity
As someone diagnosed with ADHD and has struggled with it throughout my elementary and secondary school years, I understand the challenges that come with sitting still, working, learning, and trying to focus for long periods. Here are five tips that have helped me focus in school and which can help you focus at work, too.
Tip 1: Clear your workspace.
Clearing your workspace, meaning putting away paper or other things on your desk that doesn’t need to be there, can help you pay attention in class or at work because there is nothing else to focus on in front of you.
Tip 2: Get something to fidget with.
If you have difficulties sitting still for long periods, it may be helpful to have something to fidget with, such as a small hand-held object or a piece of clay to squeeze so that it gives your body something to do. At the same time, your brain can focus on what the teacher is saying. Or, if you’re an adult, it can help you to stay focused during meetings and phone calls.
Tip 3: Put away your phone.
Although it may feel hard to do, putting away your phone will help increase your attention span. This way, you won’t be continually looking at your screen or worrying about getting notifications. It will be easier to focus on what is happening in class. And if you’re an adult, you can try scheduling time to check your phone if you use it for work. If you don’t, you can just check it at lunch or on your breaks.
Tip 4: Go for a walk.
If you’re a student, try this: Before your lesson starts, it is a good idea to ask your teacher if you can go for a walk to get most of your energy out before you come back into class and have to focus and sit still for a certain amount of time. As an adult, you probably won’t need to ask anyone, but going for a walk can help you to build up some focused, creative energy while letting go of the unfocused energy that makes you feel confused or overwhelmed.
Tip 5: Consider your position.
If you’re a student who is trying to focus during a lesson, you might try sitting in the classroom’s front row. That way, there will be no windows or posters on the wall to distract you while the teacher is talking. If you’re an adult, you can place your desk or choose a desk that is in an area that will reduce distractions in your home or office.
More Help with Staying Focused and Getting Things Done with ADHD
This video from How to ADHD on YouTube offers some really useful additional tips to help you get things done when you have ADHD.
Do you struggle with ADHD?
Have you had a hard time finding focus? What has worked for you? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comment section below, and let’s discuss it!