Staying Focused

  • Attention regulation differences can mean the ADHD brain may find it harder to maintain focus on a task, due to finding it difficult to filter out distracting elements of the environment.

How can I improve my focus?

  • You may already have strategies to improve your focus without even realising. Think about a time when you really focused on something. Was it something you were really interested in? Were you sitting or standing? Did you have music on in the background?
  • What about a time when you couldn’t concentrate at all? Was it a boring task, like paperwork? Was the room too quiet or too noisy? Was it early or late in the day? Reflecting on what works and what doesn’t can help you identify your unique strategies and triggers that help or deter your focus.
  • Fidget! You can get small, silent fidget gadgets (or get creative with what’s available to you – some adults like to fidget with elastic bands). Doodling can also be a help.
  • Use headphones or earphones to block out noise around you. You can use noise-cancelling headphones for silence or if you prefer, brown noise or music without lyrics can be helpful for filtering out over-stimulating or distracting sounds.
  • With the permission of your employer, supervisor or lecturer, record meetings/lectures. This will allow you to listen back in case you miss anything.
  • Audiobooks and podcasts can mean you learn and study while on the move and don’t have to sit still, which is often helpful for ADHDers to maintain concentration – the multitasking feels more stimulating. Some people find it helpful to double the speed of the podcast – you can do this with videos too.
  • Where possible, visualise! Use diagrams and colour to attract your attention. Some people find that drawing instead of writing can be more helpful.
  • Working with your occupational therapist can help you decide what works best for you. Read more about occupational therapy in the ADHD Clinics here.