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How to Overcome ADHD Distractions

Avoiding DistractionsAre you having trouble focusing? Are there many distractions in your life that keep you from getting things accomplished? People who have ADHD often have difficulty blocking out distractions that are unimportant in order to focus on the issue at hand. Many adults and children who have ADHD simply cannot work if there is even the slightest noise. Others have difficulty focusing when something changes in their visual environment. To put it simply, a person with ADHD does not have the “filters” that others have that enable them to block out distractions in their environment.

The good news for those who suffer from ADHD is that there are several coping methods that can be employed to help you complete your tasks despite distractions.

1. Focus on Problem Solving

Many people who have ADHD will get frustrated because of their issues with focusing and will blame themselves. When this happens it is important to remind yourself that this is simply a symptom of ADHD. Instead of focusing on yourself by being judgmental, use your diminishing attention as a reminder that you need to use one of your focusing tools.

2. Use Background Noise

Having some background noise when you are trying to focus may seem counterintuitive. However, background noise can actually help you drive out distractions. When you are working or studying turn on a white noise machine, some music, or your ceiling fan. This subtle amount of noise can actually help you focus on the task at hand.

3. Clean your Workspace

Many people with ADHD are easily distracted by visual clutter. Having a work environment that is free of clutter can help you complete your tasks more easily. Before you sit down to work make sure that your desk is clear of clutter that could distract you when you are trying to accomplish your work or studies.

4. Break Down Tasks

It is easy to become distracted by the mere thought of a large project that you need to complete. Instead of tackling the large task head on and then becoming upset when you simply cannot complete it, break down the task into several smaller ones. Write down your end goal and then divide it into several smaller goals. If you are trying to write a paper, divide it into three or four categories such as, outline main points, plan the intro, and write a rough draft. Take short breaks after each of the subcategories is completed.

5. Get Support

Relying on others can be extremely beneficial. Having a good support system in place is essential for your success. If you are struggling with completing a task, keep a picture of a loved one nearby to look at when you are feeling down on yourself. This can help you get back to your work as you will know that there are people who are on your side and rooting for you.

6. Accountability Partners

An accountability partner can be extremely beneficial. This is someone that is willing to check in with you to make sure that you are staying on task. Just like a gym buddy, an accountability partner will make sure that you are getting your tasks completed on time. You can text your partner each time you complete a task or send them an email when you finish a project.

7. Concentrated Distractions

There are several things that you can do when you feel your mind start to wander during a meeting or other task. If you are in a meeting, bring a stress relief ball with you to squeeze while you are trying to listen to your boss. You can also try sitting on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair if this is allowed in your office. When you sit on a ball you are forced to focus on your balance as well as your work, which can be a good concentrated distraction when you are trying to get something completed.

8. Visual Reminders

Using a visual reminder for your goals can be extremely beneficial in overcoming distractions. Start each morning with a list of goals and then check them off as they are completed. You can keep this list with you throughout the day as it can help you remain focused on your goals. Even if you need to start with small goals, this visual reminder can be extremely helpful. Getting to check off an item on your list works as a reward system as you will be able to see all that you have accomplished throughout the day. Do not get frustrated if you do not get everything on your list completed, but instead be proud of what you did get done.

9. Positive Self-Talk

Negativity gets you nowhere. When you are feeling negative about yourself for not being able to complete a task think of something positive to repeat to yourself. Positive self-talk should be simple and direct. For example, remind yourself of an accomplishment that you have done in the past, such as “I was able to complete the report on time last week and I can do it again.” A simple, “I can do this, “ can go a long way when you are trying to get something done and are feeling distracted.

10. Write Everything Down

If you need to complete some tasks for someone have them send it to you in an email or text. Having tasks written down in front of you can work as a reminder of what you need to do when you are becoming distracted.

Finally, healthy habits will go a long way in helping you focus on the tasks you need to complete each day. Routine is very important and when you include healthy habits such as exercising, sleeping well, and limiting your intake of caffeine, you will find that you will be able to focus on other areas of your life just as well.

ADHD can be frustrating at times, but if you use the tips above you are well on your way to becoming less distracted and more focused on what you need to accomplish.


8 Ways To Get Organized When You Have ADHD

Get OrganizedOrganization can be difficult for anyone, but for those who have ADHD the mere thought of trying to get it all together can be quite daunting. You will need to push past this because when you have ADHD one of the best ways to manage your symptoms is to become organized. There are several strategies that you can implement in order to become more organized, which will make coping with ADHD much easier for you as well as your loved ones. From decision making to clearing out the clutter, there are several steps that can be taken in order to lead a more organized life even if you have ADHD.

1. Set Time Limits for Making Decisions

People who have ADHD can spend days and even weeks agonizing over making a decision that would take most people a few minutes. In order to speed up the process set a budget cap or time frame for the decision. If you are deciding on a new mobile phone, choose a price cap and ignore options that are above this range. If you are planning a vacation, choose the destination by a set date. When making a decision you should identify what the most important factor is, this could be convenience, price, practicality, aesthetics, or something else. Focus on this factor alone when making the decision.

2. Use a Planner and Personal Journal

A simple planner can be an extremely powerful tool. Using an effective planning system is the top strategy to becoming more organized and better at prioritizing and managing your time. Your planner should include appointments, phone calls that need to be made, bills that need to be paid, as well as errands that you need to complete and other such daily tasks.

The journal can be used to write down your thoughts and ideas, plans, appointments, whatever you want. The idea behind the journal is to help you with organizing your thoughts. If your thoughts are not organized it will be difficult to organize any other area of your life. If you do not have time to write things down or do not like writing, use a digital recorder to record your thoughts. The more you do this the more you will free your mind, which can help you focus on the tasks you need to complete.

3. Get Rid of the Clutter

If you have ADHD it is likely that a large part of your disorder involves clutter. Each item that you own has some type of emotional value and you want to keep it. To get organized choose a time each month to go through your clutter. Set aside about 3 hours once a month to start getting rid of some of these items. If 3 hours is overwhelming, break it down into smaller chunks of time. Work for an hour and then take a break. If an hour is too much, work for 30 minutes and then take a break. Create a schedule that will work for you and get it done.

4. Labeling

Once you have gone through your clutter the next step is to get organized. All of your important items should have a home. This includes your mail, keys, wallet, etc. When you have a good organization system you will be able to get the thing that you need when you need it. You can use color coded labels for different items so that you can get to what you are looking for much easier.

5. Create to do Lists

You should create brief to do lists for each day of the week. On an index card list no more than 5 items on the front of the card. If you have additional items that you need to complete that day write them on the back. Go through each item and cross it off as it is completed. Once you have completed one to do list, start on the next one.

6. Use Timers

One of the hardest things for people with ADHD is the ability to focus. Timers can be a great friend to those who are trying to get organized. If you find yourself getting lost on facebook for hours or distracted by shopping online, set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on the task that you are trying to complete for that amount of time. You can take breaks in between and then go back to the task until you have it completed. Timers and alerts can be extremely beneficial when you are trying to become more organized.

7. Utilize your Time

There is no reason to try to find a long block of uninterrupted time to complete organizational chores. In just a minute you can remove the lint from the dryer, sort through your mail, or water your plants. In just five minutes you can get the dishwasher emptied or write that email. When waiting for the laundry to dry, match socks or gather clothing that needs to be dry cleaned. Ideally, you want to find small tasks to do in those minutes of the day that otherwise would be wasted.

8. Simplify your Wardrobe

When you have a ton of clothes it can be difficult to decide what to wear. Getting rid of extra clothing can help you save time when you are getting ready. Try getting rid of two shirts each time you buy a new one. During the spring and summer months choose 2 colors to coordinate your wardrobe around, plus some white. In the winter choose 2 other colors plus black.

Clothing can be preassembled into outfits in your closet. This will help you get dressed faster in the morning as there will be less time to second guess yourself. This strategy will work for both men and women and is very helpful for organizing business attire. A baggie with matching jewelry can be added to the hanger to make it even easier.


15 Time Management Tips for Adults with ADHD

Time Management ADHDAn adult who has ADHD tends to be impulsive and restless. At times they may have a difficult time paying attention. ADHD can make time management quite hard. Some of the symptoms of adult ADHD can mean that you are not aware of time passing, predicting how long a task will take, monitoring your work and making adjustments. If you have adult ADHD, here are some tips on how to manage your time better.


1. Create a New To Do List Each Day

Every morning you should make a list of the things that you want to accomplish for the day. Make sure that you keep your list realistic so that you have a better chance of getting to each thing. Your tasks should be arranged in order of importance. Each task should be assigned a specific time of the day. As you complete each task mark it off.

2. Check Your Planner 3 Times Each Day

Having too much to remember is a problem for everyone, but can especially be difficult for adults with ADHD. Make it a habit to put each of your activities and appointments on your calendar. You can use a smartphone app, a day planner, or a regular desk calendar. Keep the calendar in one spot and make sure that you check it at least 3 times each day. Make it a habit to check it during the same times every day.

3. Organize Each Room in your Home

Take on one room of your house at a time and begin organizing it. Start with the easiest room and do not become overwhelmed by “getting organized.” Organization time should be scheduled into your planner and use a timer in order to manage each work session. Start out by putting things where they go and throwing out anything that you do not need. When going through items have a keep and toss pile as well as a separate box for items that you want to go through later.

4. Create Daily Organizational Habits

Do not think of becoming organized as cleaning up. Instead, think of it as a plan. If you keep any items they should have a place to go. Every day schedule ten minutes to pick up and return your things to where they belong. If you take something out, put it back. Keep mislaid items and papers in a box and go through this at the end of each day.

5. Create a Rotating Menu

Menu planning may be a bit difficult. To overcome this and better manage your time create a list of 10 dinners or a regular rotating menu for dishes that can be easily cooked. Try to keep the ingredients for each of the menus on hand or list the necessary ingredients on index cards that can be taken with you to the grocery store. Keep a “free” night on your schedule so that you can order carry out or share the cooking responsibilities with other members of the household.

6. Create a Mail Routine

Create a system for sorting your mail each day. A special area for important mail such as bills, bank statements, etc. should be created. Plan a set time each week to sort through the mail to file important documents where they need to go.

7. Create a Budget

People with ADHD often have difficulty managing money. One of the reasons for this is impulse buying. Take an electronic device or notepad with you when you are shopping to write down everything that you spend. Knowing what you spend each month and what you spend it on will help you better manage your money.

8. Electronic Reminders

Forgetting your medication, meetings, deadlines or any of your other responsibilities is common for adults with ADHD and can create problems in both your work and social life. One way to help you remember is to set electronic reminders for your events. You can set your smartphone or computer to alert you 5, 10, or 15 minutes before each event on your calendar to help you stay on top of things.

9. Work Distractions

One of the biggest challenges for adults with ADHD is work distractions. There are several strategies that you can implement to help you better manage your time at work. First, turn your phone off and schedule set times to check your voicemail each day. At work, ask for a cubicle or office that is quiet. If possible use a white noise machine or headphones to drown out all of the other sounds at work. Finally, work on a single task at a time.

10. Fighting Boredom

One of the many problems for adults with ADHD is that they get bored easily. This is especially true when completing routine tasks. One of the ways to help you save time and meet your deadlines is to break up some of your larger tasks into smaller ones. After you complete a small task, take a small walk, even if it is just to the bathroom at work and back. When attending meetings, make sure to take notes to help alleviate boredom.

11. Take on Fewer Tasks

Simplifying your surroundings will help you keep better track of your belongings. It will also help to remove some of the distractions that may keep you from focusing. This can work for your schedule as well. Do not start a new project until you have completed the one that you are working on. Do not overschedule yourself by taking on too many tasks at one time. In order to stay focused you may need to practice saying no to any new tasks.

12. Exercise

Studies have shown that getting regular exercise may help a person with ADHD better manage their symptoms. The movement can help you channel some of your extra energy. Karate and Yoga are great choices for adults with ADHD because they provide the opportunity to memorize movements.

13. Set 15 Minute Blocks for Tasks

If you are struggling to start a project try setting a timer for fifteen minutes. During this time you focus on that single task. When the time expires you can decide if you can go for 15 more minutes. If you can focus and go on, reset the timer. Keep resetting the timer for 15 minute intervals until you can no longer focus. When you can no longer do anymore, try again later in the day.

14. Color Coding

One of the best ways to save time and to help you be better organized is to use color coding. You can color code notes, folders, and files. In your planner, use different colors to highlight different areas of your life such as work, family commitments, and dates with friends, and appointments.

15. Use your To Do Lists as a Guide

Look over your to do lists. Are there a lot of unfinished tasks? Why? Did you try to complete too much at once? Did you commit to too much? Did distractions keep you from completing your tasks? Use this knowledge to help you create new to do lists in the future. These lists can also help you come up with different ways to work more efficiently in the future.