May 03, 2024

How To Focus with ADHD

Written by Eleanor McKeown

How To Focus with ADHD

May 3, 2024 11:40 AM
How to Focus with ADHD - tips for focusing, including tech tools, pomodoro technique and more
Published on 25th April 2024.
Are you surrounded by half-finished projects and messy clutter? Always multi-tasking but never getting anything done? For those of us living with ADHD, keeping focused can be a real challenge.
It can feel downright impossible to do the simplest task when your brain wanders to something more distracting or interesting.
But don’t worry, help is here. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing ten actionable - and realistic! - tips to help you stay focused. So let’s dive in!

How to Focus with ADHD

1. Routine, routine, routine

ADHDers do well with routine, even though it can be tempting to seek out novelty. Time-block your day and try to get up and go to sleep at roughly the same time every day. Allocate time slots for specific tasks or work, and try to batch tasks together by subject, such as clearing a full afternoon for your work calls or setting aside an hour to answer emails. Stick to your routine as much as possible. Having a predictable schedule helps train your brain to get into ‘focus mode’ during work hours and stay on task.

2. Take a minute to set specific goals

At the start of each day, take a few moments to clarify your goals for the day to keep your focus on what matters. Close your eyes and think through your day and what you want to achieve. You can also do this at night and think through the following day, as you get ready for bed.
It might sound a bit more ‘out there’ than some of our other tips but visualising and being intentional can be super useful for people with focus issues.

3. Set a Timer

It’s an oldie but a good one! The Pomodoro Technique is popular for a reason. Grab your favourite tomato timer (your mobile will do too!) and get working to the clock. You can gameify your activities by seeing how much work you can complete in 25 minutes. Take a couple minutes’ break after each session.
Experiment to see what time length works best for you. Some people find 40 minute chunks works better than 25, for example.

4. Use Distraction Blockers on Your Phone

Distracting sites and apps can easily derail your focus, especially on your mobile. Install an app that allows you to block or limit access to these time-suckers. Set limits for specific online activities to prevent excessive browsing. Forest App is one of our favourites and is available here. By removing potential distractions, you can create a more conducive environment for concentration and productivity.

5. Switch Web Browser

This is a big one. A cluttered online environment can contribute to mental clutter and distract you from focusing on your work and life admin. ADHDers often leave tabs open as visual reminders and then get lost in a sea of Chrome tabs later in the day.
That’s why we recommend switching to Horse Browser, which replaces tabs with a feature called Trails. Every time you click on a link, a new nested page opens on the Trail, merging tabs, bookmarks and history into one minimalist, easy-to-read vertical layout. You’ll never get lost in tab clutter again. Context switching becomes so much easier and you’ll always understand exactly how you got to a particular website. Horse Browser is available here.

6. Adjust Your Sensory Input

Living with ADHD often means you’re stuck in a state of either underwhelm or overwhelm. When you’re trying to focus, try different tactics to find the right level of sensory input. Try noise cancelling headphones, like Loop Earplugs, or listening to brown noise. If you need some more stimulation, choose extra energetic music.
Wear clothes that are comfortable and de-clutter your environment. Try to make your surroundings as focus-friendly as possible.

7. Check-in Alarms

We’re used to setting alarms for events and tasks but we’re going to recommend a lesser known trick. Try setting check-in alarms throughout the day. These alarms remind you to check that you are focusing on the right task at the right time. Getting sidetracked is a huge issue with ADHD and these alarms can give you vital nudges to stay on track.

8. Change Up Your Environment

Allow yourself to take regular breaks to prevent mental fatigue and maintain overall focus. Get away from your desk and get outside (bonus points, for getting in some exercise at the same time). Use these moments to clear your mind and rejuvenate, so you can return to your tasks with renewed energy and concentration.
If you find yourself getting distracted WFH, also consider working from a new environment. Check out that a coffee shop, co-work or go to your local library. Libraries are great choices if you struggle with sensory overwhelm. Or you could even just re-arrange your space to create a new vibe!

9. Body-doubling

Body-doubling can be super helpful when you’re struggling with focus issues. By pairing up with someone, who’s also working, sorting admin or studying at the same time, you can keep each other accountable and feel the motivation of seeing someone else tackling their tasks.
Try body-doubling in person or virtually over a video call with a friend. There are also some great body-doubling apps out there, such as Dubbii, Flown, and Deepwrk.

10. Evening Wind Down

Time to get your beauty sleep! Don’t work late into the evenings. You need your rest. Set multiple timers. One that starts a wind down, an hour before you’re scheduled to stop work. Another to tell you to stop working and a third for bed time. Multiple alarms can really help transition between tasks.
We also recommend that you use some sort of ‘pivot’ moment to help you transition towards rest and relaxation. Go for a walk or change into relaxing clothes at the end of the work day to signal to your brain that you’ll be transitioning towards leisure time and sleep.

In Conclusion

Everyone's brain works slightly differently, so it's important to find strategies that work for you. Experiment with these tips and adjust them to your needs so that you develop a personalised approach to staying focused.
Don’t forget to celebrate your wins along the way!
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Sencha Tea

Sencha (煎茶) is a type of Japanese ryokucha (緑茶, green tea) which is prepared by infusing the processed whole tea leaves in hot water. This is as opposed to matcha (抹茶), powdered Japanese green tea, where the green tea powder is mixed with hot water and therefore the leaf itself is included in the beverage. Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan. It represents about 80 percent of the tea produced in Japan.

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