We often hear people say in passing “I must have ADHD” when they do something that they think is an ADHD tendency. The reality is that ADHD is different for everyone who has it. Some people with ADHD will have a hard time focusing, some will have a hard time stopping their focus, and most will have both situations happening to them constantly.
Below are five ADHD tips that we find very helpful for our clients. Regardless of whether or not you have ADHD, you will benefit from choosing one or two of these to try.
1. Fight hyperfocus by setting a timer or alarm to remind yourself when it is time to change tasks.
Hyperfocus is when you lose track of time because you are so engaged in your current activity. By setting a timer, you no longer have to worry about how long you’ve spent or how long you have left. Use whatever timer or alarm is easiest for you – one that you will consistently use. Examples are an egg timer, phone alarm, timer built into your web browser, calendar reminders or anything else that will remind you to change tasks.
2. Take time at the start and end of each work day to clear your desk and eliminate distracting visual clutter.
Visual clutter can be overwhelming for adults with ADHD. Don’t let the idea of clearing your desk overwhelm you, too. The key word here is “distracting.” This doesn’t mean you have to clear everything off of your desk – only the distracting clutter. It is okay if you work with paper piles, as long as they are used in a way that isn’t distracting to you.
3. Keep a master list of all of your tasks and ideas.
Instead of shifting gears every time you think of a task or idea, write it down in a dedicated notebook so that you can come back to it later. This will keep you focused on the task at hand, and it will allow your brain to know that the additional task or idea is not forgotten.
4. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Perfect is not just the enemy of good … it is the enemy of done.
If you are struggling to get started on a project because you are overwhelmed by perfectionism, try setting aside 30 minutes and diving in. You will appreciate your progress even if it is far from perfect.
For those unfamiliar, the Pomodoro Technique® is ridiculously simple. The idea is to break your work down into 25 minute intervals with a 5 minute break between. This technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo, who used a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato (or in Italian, a Pomodoro) to time his intervals.