There have been countless moments when I’ve struggled with something and sought help or suggestions from others, but I often found myself unable to follow through. When saying “I really just can’t,” they’d call me lazy, stubborn, or too quick to give up.
Those situations always left me confused; sometimes in tears, and torn between feeling, “But I really can’t,” and reluctantly promising that I’d try harder.
Spoiler alert: trying harder didn’t help.
Then, I discovered I had ADHD and was compelled to learn as much as I could about it, especially “how to focus”. This journey helped me grasp why so much of the advice out there doesn’t work for us, and why it can be detrimental.
While there’s a ton of advice out there that may not work for you, here 5 tips that I’ve found to be especially problematic based on my research and experience.
1. Establish a strict routine
Neurotypicals often benefit from structured routines that provide a clear schedule for tasks and activities. This can help create a predictable environment that supports focus.
Rigid routines, however, may not work as well for some people with ADHD. Many of us thrive in more flexible settings.
2. Minimize distractions
Neurotypical individuals often find it helpful to eliminate distractions like clutter, background noise, or excessive visual stimuli to maintain focus.
ADHD individuals may still find it challenging to focus in, or even because of, distraction-free environments though. As a result it’s essential to explore additional strategies and with an open mind to find the right balance.
3. Set long-term goals
Neurotypical individuals often set and achieve long-term goals, by breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks.
While this approach can help people with ADHD we may need more immediate feedback and shorter-term goals to stay engaged.
4. Use traditional time management techniques
Designating fixed time blocks for certain tasks, often called “time blocking,” is a method praised by many professionals.
However, those with ADHD might struggle with such strict confines and might benefit more from a fluid time structure that accommodates spontaneous shifts in interest or focus.
5. Practice mindfulness and meditation
Neurotypical individuals may use mindfulness and meditation to enhance focus and reduce stress.
While these practices can be beneficial for some people with ADHD, they may require a different approach that integrates movement or sensory strategies to better suit their needs.
My experience, however, might not be the same as yours. So, keep what makes sense to you and let go of the rest. You can also use the comments section to share your own experiences and help others who might relate to your story.
Quick recap: A lot of the standard focus tips don’t really gel with ADHD quirks. Things like super strict routines, cutting out every distraction, and aiming for long-haul goals? Not always a win for us. And those usual time-management strategies and common mindfulness practices? Sometimes, they need a bit of a tweak to fit our ADHD vibe.
But hey, we’re all unique! If something works for you, or even just for you today today, totally roll with it.