Coaches’ Corner: Boredom, an ADHDer’s Greatest Enemy

When we are bored, it can be difficult to muster up the energy and motivation to get anything accomplished. To make matters worse, the bored ADHD mind desperately seeks out stimulation, which can lead to impulsive behavior or getting stuck in negative thinking patterns. In short, boredom often leads to trouble.

The ADHD brain seeks out stimulation, and it doesn’t differentiate between positive and negative. This is why it is so important to avoid falling into the boredom rut, where thoughts and distractability can run amok! While it’s impossible (and maybe not even preferable) to avoid boredom completely, there are a few things you can do to keep it to a minimum in order to avoid those ADHD pitfalls.

  1. Focus on your passion. Spend time each day doing what you love! It will activate your mind, fight stress, and help you get boring tasks done. On top of that, spending some quality time doing something you love will make you more productive when it’s time to buckle down.
  2. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, do some investigating. What did you love to do when you were a child? What would you do if you didn’t have any responsibilities? What have you always wanted to try but keep putting off? The ADHD brain loves an adventure and novelty, after all!
  3. Create a list of interesting activities. ADHDers often struggle to access this basic information, especially when they are faced with boredom, overwhelm, or stress. If you are not a list person, find some other way of reminding yourself of the things you enjoy doing. Consider making a box of index cards with different activities and blindly pick one when you’re struggling to decide what to do.
  4. Keep a busy (but not too busy) schedule. While you don’t want to over-schedule yourself, it is important to stay just busy enough to avoid boredom setting in. It’s easier to keep the ball rolling than to get it moving in the first place.
  5. Get active. Take a walk, dance around, play outside, do laundry. It doesn’t matter what you do, just move! This will activate both your mind and your body and improve energy levels, mood, concentration, and motivation.

Spending time having fun and enjoying life is not selfish, it’s an important part of self-care and makes you more productive in the long run. Next time you feel bored, use it as a cue that your brain needs attention. Give it what it needs and you’ll be pleasantly and enjoyably surprised!

Ally Martin is an ADHD Coach in Hilton Head, South Carolina. She helps people bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Using a strengths-based approach, she can help you identify your goals, overcome obstacles, and create strategies to minimize ADHD symptoms. Visit her website


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      • Allison
      • March 27, 2020

      Cheesy music helps me getting myself out of the anxious mood. I have a list of songs that work for me. For example Light Up the World (Glee Version), Stay by Zedd and Alessia Cara, Inside Out by Eve 6, Rush is a good group that has a lot of songs (Free Will, 2112, Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Fly by Night). I’ve learned that music is a great avenue for changing my mood, when I need to get out of “it”. Music can help with dishes, cleaning ect… anything that would drive me to boredom. Usually, it’s the pace of the music that works for me, it needs to be fast. I try to look for music that has a good beat for running, or a great drumming in the background.

      • Elise
      • December 3, 2019

      So difficult at times. My 16-year-old boy with adhd often gets bored and needs me to suggest an endless list of ideas of things for him to do. I’ve learned from experience with this that there will not be a single thing he will agree to, not because he’s stubborn but because he’s in that anxious mode. When he is in that mode, he is completely frustrated and upset with himself, then me when he can’t pull himself out of it. I have tried so many typical suggestions but they’re not typical kids. I’ve yet to find a solution for preventing these times or responding to him in a way that gets him out of “it.”

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