While there are many positive and problematic sides to distractions, the reality is that our daily lives are filled with them: Movies, series, video games, odd TikTok dances and other social media, the list goes on... After all, who doesn't like turning on their TV and taking a break from reality by watching a series or movie, or taking out a book and read.
All of these things coupled with pressures from your job or family life has an impact on your focus. Now imagine you already struggle to focus on a calm day, these additional distractions make the life of a person with a neurodivergent condition quite challenging.
Everyone is different
Some people thrive in busy offices and love having music on while they work. Others need complete silence and tunnel-vision to complete the same work. Whichever person you are, investing in a good set of noise cancelling headphones would be a great way to ensure you can both get what you need.
Some people need to move more than others. Why not do a coffee round when you feel the need? People need to drink during the day anyway, so take that as a little break to reset your mind.
It doesn't matter what you need, so long as you find out how you can meet your own needs. I've found out that if I do one workout a day that I can focus much better. Forcing yourself to work longer or harder than you can is overwhelming and can have a negative impact on your mental health. Understand what type of distraction you need to reset your mind and refocus.
Tips to schedule your day
It's not just ADHD that causes distractions, it's everything around us as well. Still, it is possible to get lots done in a day. It can also be beneficial to have such a distractible brain because it allows us to be creative thinkers!
Keep a journal / day planner close
Preferably always keep it open on your desk. You need to be able to see what your plan is at-a-glance. If you have to open it and find the page, you may lose track in between.
Prepare your meetings
Once you have a meeting, do a little 5-min prep beforehand. Take notes about the topics that have to be discussed and stick that onto your screen or keep it between your keyboard and screen. This will help you stay on track and keep to the planning. Having a notebook or notes on your screen open can prove essential.
Plan your meetings
And stick to the time you set for it! It is so easy to start a meeting - especially online - and keep chatting to the other person longer than the allotted time. Don't do it. Stop the meeting when it is supposed to end. Perhaps you might ask the other person to help with that. It will keep you to your own planning and allow for direction. If you truly need more time then try to schedule another meeting with the same people.
Give yourself breaks
No one can work eight hours straight and come out the other end feeling great. So don't be too hard on yourself if you're having a bad focus day. There are simply some days where even your longer walks, or chats, or music breaks cannot reset your focus. The most important thing to do then is to take a step back. Maybe a change of scenery will help you, or you can run an errand in between. If you work from home, a mild workout can work wonders on the brain!
It's not always possible to organise your own mind and find out what you need to reset your focus. Sometimes things that work on the one day will have no effect on the next day. This is the beauty (if you will) of ADHD or other neurodivergent focus issues. It's never boring!
So, find a coach who will help you and guide you through different strategies to organise and center yourself. A coach who will help you learn and understand what it means to struggle with your concentration. Someone who doesn't judge but knows exactly what's going on!
More information about coaching? Click here
Confidence is key and comes from understanding
Aron, Elaine, N., The Highly Sensitive Person; How to Thrive when the World Overwhelms You, 2017. Print.
Hallowell, E.M., and Ratey, J.J., Driven to Distraction; Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit disorder, from Childhood through Adulthood, 2011. Print.
Hallowell, E.M., and Ratey, J.J., ADHD 2.0; New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction - from Childhood through Adulthood, 2021. Print.
Kelly, K., and Ramundo, P., You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy? The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, 2006. Print.