Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often perceived as a childhood disorder and as such can be baffling to many adult sufferers. However, where the diagnosis of ADHD is accurate, the difficulties almost always continue into adulthood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, “It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors.” Especially if you did not receive a diagnosis of ADHD during childhood, then the attendant behaviors may be frustrating, disruptive and utterly confusing in adulthood. Luckily, coping skills and lifestyle changes are often very effective in managing the symptoms of ADHD, especially if you do not wish to be dependent on medications. Here are five ways to maintain focus with ADHD every day.
De-clutter your work area. Whether it’s for employment, school, housework or any other task you’re trying to accomplish, get everything out of the way that’s not part of what you’re trying to accomplish. A bare workspace that only has the items you need will help improve focus on the task at hand and give less fodder for the mind to wander.
Break down tasks into written steps. First thing in the morning, sit down and consider what you need to accomplish throughout the day. Make a list of these tasks, and then break each of them down into a number of simple steps that can be accomplished quickly. Check off or cross out each step as it’s accomplished, giving yourself that moment of gratification for a job well done regularly throughout the day.
Keep it engaging and fun. It’s always difficult to keep your attention on something if you’re bored, but nearly impossible once ADHD is figured into the equation. No matter your age or what you're trying to accomplish, it’s important to keep things interesting and fun. If you catch yourself getting bored with a task, break it up into smaller pieces or allow yourself to alternate tasks after a set amount of time in order to keep yourself engaged.
Allow for adequate breaks. For most ADHD sufferers, sitting down and toiling away at a given task for hours is just out of the question. Even if you’re given to hyper-focusing, it’s neither efficient nor effective to allow yourself to continue working on something without breaks. Set up your schedule to allow for time to get up, refocus, wander around and clear your mind. Try giving yourself 50 minutes to focus on a given task every hour, then make yourself take a break for 10 minutes as soon as that 50 comes to an end.
Exercise always comes first. Exercise improves brain function of all types, including the ability to focus. Start off your productive day by getting adequate exercise to raise your pulse rate and improve blood circulation. You may need additional exercise breaks throughout the day in order to maintain the focus and the ability to complete tasks quickly.