Adult ADD: Tips to focus and function more effectively

Adult ADD: Tips to focus and function more effectively

ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, can be disruptive. Often, one of our senses demands our attention, and we’re compelled to address it, even if it means taking our eyes off the job.

This can be seen in those who can’t concentrate in total quiet and, in order to study successfully, listen to hard rock music through their head phones - the loud music calms them.  Our bodies often need to move to bring a sense of calm.

Those who fidget have a sensory system that is craving balance. They may tap a pen, tap a foot, crack their knuckles, twirl their hair, bite their fingernails, move frequently in their chair, get up, sit down.

When you are aware of the behaviors you choose in your attempt to create the perfect environment for functioning, there are some simple techniques to help your body calm itself,  enable you to better focus, attend to details and stick with activities until they are completed.

Examples of these are:

  • Within 15 to 30 minutes of an important business meeting where attention and concentration are essential, or before sitting for an iexam in college, perform a total mind/body exercise. This involves finding a quiet place, perhaps even a restroom, and performing a wall push-up with feet fairly far from the wall, trunk rigid, counting aloud (or thinking if others are around) holding the push for a count of 30, and repeating for five total push-ups. Better yet are planks, performed on a floor against gravity – again, count to 30 with each plank, and perform a minimum of five. This demands almost every part of the brain to light up, in effect silencing the area that was dominant prior, the area that normally would cause inattention. When finished, the exercise acts like a re-set button, with no areas fighting to dominate, i.e.,an even playing field.
  • Sitting at your desk, form a fist with one hand, squeeze really hard, counting to 30, perform five times. This again acts as a re-set button, enabling improved attention.
  • Purchase a small stress ball and have it handy to use right before known stressors occur, such as a meeting, lecture or waiting your turn in a doctor’s office. Repeat squeezing/releasing the stress ball as a means of redirecting anxiety, feeling antsy and directing that increased energy in a socially acceptable manner.
  • Do away with “To do” lists!  Buy a planner with 15 minute intervals, 12 hrs each day, preferably a week’s view across two pages. Set a time to create your “To do” list, brainstorming everything that needs done in no specific order. Take each item and insert it into your planner, giving it a date, time and duration, even if longer tasks require to be spread across several days. You’re not finished planning until every item on that list is plotted and you’ve thrown the list away.
  • Set your watch or phone to vibrate each hour. Check your planner each time. Ask yourself, “Have I veered off the chosen activity from one hour ago?”
  • Each evening, review your day. Check off every item that was completed. Draw a line through each unfinished or non-started items and re-plot them immediately.