The basic description of ADHD is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder that is marked by an ongoing pattern of chronic inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development in several areas of a person’s life. We can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.
One of the misconceptions is that we cannot focus or concentrate, but it’s more that we cannot seem to regulate our executive functions of working memory, mental flexibility, self-control. We can procrastinate to a harmful degree, avoid tasks that we dislike, and have consequences from these behaviors in several areas of life like at home and work and socially. Telling someone with ADHD to “Just pay attention” or “Just do these tasks” is like telling a clinically depressed person to “Just cheer up”. If we could, many of us would!
Internally, our brains, OF THEIR OWN ACCORD, seem unable to regulate attention, organize thoughts or steps in projects, manage time. We often have “time blindness” which is where we lose track of time to an inordinate degree so an hour feels like 5 minutes. There is something about the biology or physiology of our brains that makes us this way.
The three major areas that I, and many other ADHD sufferers, struggle with are:
1. Attention and focus on one thing, one task, one activity at a time
2. Organize and prioritize my thoughts, projects, tasks, days, goals into doable chunks in the proper order of importance
3. Time management and meeting deadlines
Medication can help a lot, and really needs evaluated by your doctor and maybe a psychologist. Also, because these problems are because of issues in my brain, the solution to them needs to be OUTSIDE my brain! So for me the three biggest solutions to my ADHD struggles are:
1. Reduce distractions by limiting when and how often I check things like social media, The Washington Post, and email. Including time for those in mystartup and shutdown rituals, plus at lunch, has helped me stay focused better.
2. Breaking down goals and projects into manageable chunks. The Full FocusPlanner really helps me do that by ensuring I’m working on things that use my highest and best use. When my goals and projects are broken down into quarterly then monthly then weekly then daily chunks, I do much better at actually reaching them.
3. Use external tools to manage time. I have a hexagonal timer that I use in a fashion that some might recognize as the “Pomodoro Technique” – 25 minutes on a task, 5 minute break. “Time Boxing” is also something that limits what I work on for only a certain number of minutes or hours. External deadlines are helpful to actually complete tasks and projects.
The thing I love about the Full Focus Planner is it provides me the scaffolding my brain needs in order to function and get anything done. It encompasses the three main tools that help manage ADHD: reduces distractions, breaks down goals and projects into manageable chunks, and it’s an external tool that with a timer, helps me manage my time and time blindness.
GREAT GENERAL RESOURCES: https://www.additudemag.com
MY COACHING PROGRAM: https://www.CleaningUp.co
Any work I decide to do in the future helping coach those with ADHD will have links here