Trying to focus with ADHD can feel like you’re watching TV with a broken remote control.
The channels keep flipping at random! And sometimes, the TV gets stuck – that’s when you lose half a day to hyperfocusing on shark documentaries.
Of course, this does not mean an adult with ADHD cannot concentrate. In fact, ADHDers have an abundance of attention rather than a deficit!
The tricky part is directing this extra attention to the right channel.
Read on to explore tried-and-true tips to create a physical environment and mental headspace that will help you direct your focus effectively.
The Link Between ADHD and a Lack of Focus
If you can’t focus with ADHD, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most well-known and common symptoms of ADHD.
Dopamine is an essential chemical messenger linked to motivation, pleasure, and attention regulation.
On the flip side, the brain quickly latches onto engaging or exciting activities. When the brain’s ability to hyperfocus kicks in, winning the marathon of focus becomes a breeze.
How Can ADHD Affect Focus?
The focus-related challenges you struggle with may differ from those of another person with ADHD.
In general, ADHD can lead to various challenges related to inattention as follows:
- Hyperfocusing or hyperfixating on an unimportant task for too long
- Trouble organizing work materials and documents
- Being easily distracted by unrelated thoughts
- Avoiding tasks that require sustained focus
- Struggling to follow through on instructions
- Failing to pay close attention to details
- Getting sidetracked in conversations
- Difficulty maintaining focus on a task
- Making careless mistakes
Understanding the way this disorder impacts your ability to focus is crucial.
Different challenges call for different solutions. This awareness can help you devise highly targeted focus strategies that work.
9 Focus Tricks for Those With ADHD
Are you looking to improve your focus during meetings or organize your tasks better? Maybe you want to prevent yourself from getting distracted by unrelated thoughts.
Or you might just be tired of fighting an uphill battle every day at work or school.
With the following tips for focusing with ADHD, you can learn to overcome different challenges and distractions in daily life and thrive.
1. Make Overwhelming Tasks Less Daunting
Large and complex projects can feel overwhelming. Because of this, many ADHDers procrastinate and avoid taking them on until the last minute, which gets stressful.
One tip for focusing with ADHD is to break down big and complex tasks into smaller goals.
Identify the small steps involved in completing the project and list them out. Then, set personal deadlines for each of these subtasks.
If you have several ongoing projects, learning how to prioritize them is also crucial. Arrange them based on their deadlines and complexity.
You can also use the traffic light system to organize your to-do list, where the most urgent tasks are color-coded as red and the least urgent as green.
2. Schedule Breaks
Giving yourself time to rest and recharge can improve focus and decrease exhaustion and physical symptoms, such as headaches and eye strain.
Some great ways to take a purposeful break include the following:
- Listening to your favorite music playlist
- Taking a quick stroll around the block
- Carrying out breathing exercises
- Doing simple and light stretches
- Getting a drink or a snack
You can also time your breaks to ensure you don’t get too caught up with them.
3. Create a Thought Dump
Keeping a thought dump might be helpful if you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of unrelated thoughts a bit too often.
You can keep a notepad close as you work. If an unrelated thought pops up, write it down on the notepad. Then, revisit this list at the end of the day or after finishing your task.
If you suddenly recall an important chore or errand to run, writing it down helps you acknowledge the thought without getting distracted from your work. At the same time, it ensures you remember to do it.
4. Try Body Doubling
Another trick for concentrating with ADHD involves the productivity hack called body doubling.
You’ll have another person sit down with you – physically or virtually – while you both do your own things.
Their calm presence can help to deter hyperactivity linked to ADHD and provide motivation for you to stay focused.
5. Leverage Organizational Tools
The following organizational techniques may be helpful:
- Use your smartphone to set reminders for tasks and keep these notifications on screen until you process them.
- Place sticky notes with reminders on your work desk, mirror, fridge, and other places.
- Log important dates and deadlines into your calendar and set reminders.
- Have a bulletin board or whiteboard in your living room for reminders.
- Create alarms and timers for focused blocks of work and breaks.
- Have a daily to-do list of all your important tasks.
Staying organized allows you to dedicate all your mental bandwidth to the tasks you want to accomplish without worrying about the next activity or forgetting something.
6. Fidget or Doodle
Science suggests that fidgeting helps ADHDers boost their focus, functioning, and productivity.
If you’re in a meeting, lecture, or reading through long documents, fidgeting increases stimulation and keeps your brain better engaged.
Of course, you’ll have to find a method of fidgeting that doesn’t distract you from the main task or disturb those around you. Examples include doodling, knitting, chewing gum, playing with stretchy bands, or using fidget toys.
7. Gamify Your Chores and Tasks
Another way to make chores and tasks less of a drag is to turn them into mini-games.
A range of apps can increase motivation and keep your brain stimulated and engaged by offering in-game incentives when you complete tasks. Examples include Habitica and Forest App.
Alternatively, you can do this on your own. For instance, you can race the clock when doing the dishes or create a point system with different rewards for completing work and chores.
8. Optimize Your Environment
You can’t control your brain’s chemistry, but you can certainly have a say in determining your work surroundings.
The following tips may help you optimize your environment for focused work:
- Use noise-canceling headphones or find a quiet spot away from noise and distraction.
- Use an app blocker or mute unnecessary notifications if you need your phone.
- Only keep the materials you need for that specific task on your desk.
- Put your phones and devices out of reach when you work.
- Declutter your workspace from time to time.
You’ll need to experiment to find what works best for you.
9. Prioritize Self-Care
If you notice you’re always groggy and mentally exhausted, it might be time to look at your lifestyle.
For instance, you might need to speak to a professional about sleep problems or insomnia, which are common in ADHD. Scheduling exercise into your routine could be another way to increase your mental alertness and productivity.
Your mind and body deserve great care, and this will allow them to function at their best!
Professional Help Is a Game Changer
Getting the proper treatment and support gives many adult ADHDers the edge they need to concentrate longer and manage their responsibilities better.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of ADHD therapy that empowers you to identify unhelpful thoughts and habits, such as task avoidance, and find ways to overcome them.
You can also work with an ADHD coach to devise personalized strategies to sharpen your focus and boost your productivity.
Your management plan may also include medications to improve your ADHD symptoms.
Looking for expert-backed resources to help you improve your concentration? ADDA+ is a resource hub that equips you with the knowledge and tools to enhance your focus, productivity, and motivation and achieve your goals!
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