Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a wide range of symptoms and can present very differently in every person. A lot of the times, girls and women go undiagnosed far longer than boys and men due to the differences in symptoms that they experience and the lack of ADHD research in girls and women. I’m not a professional, but as a woman with ADHD these habits have helped me tremendously.
Every week I write out all my deadlines, and then I break down each deadline into steps. For example, if I have to write a paper I would list: choose sources, outline, rough draft, edit, and turn in final draft. This allows me to track my progress and cross things off my list throughout the day. Crossing off my to-do list helps keep me motivated and physically see everything I have accomplished.
- Music and Podcasts
If I’m not listening to a video for a class, background noise is essential. I always listen to something, but I have to be careful about what I choose. Personally, listening to my favorite music distracts me. So, I listen to study playlists or a podcast.
Timers are my best friend. After some trial and error, 50 minutes is about as long as I can sit still without going absolutely insane. I always set a timer on my watch or laptop so that I can turn my phone on silent and I don’t get distracted by notifications. I also have an app called Forest that allows you to plant trees for the duration that you are studying.
- Small Breaks
If you have a bad habit of hyper-focusing on certain tasks, make sure you plan small breaks to have a snack, stretch, or go for a walk. This way you don’t end up staying in one spot for hours or completely losing track of time.
Every time I get distracted, I write it down. At the end of the day, I go through everything and figure out why it was so distracting. This way, I can kick out everything that distracts me and focus on what is really important. Journaling is an amazing tool because you can reflect on your day, find out where things went wrong, and how to improve on everything for the next day.
Sometimes I simply can’t focus or sit still, so I try to exercise. This allows me to focus on something else completely different and get some fresh air. Sometimes changing your surroundings or task can help bring your focus back under control.
These are just some things that have worked for me and I hope that you find them to be helpful. The best advice I have is to not be afraid to try new techniques. These things came from a lot of trial and error, which can be very discouraging. Just remember that it’s okay to have a bad day once in a while where it can be almost impossible to focus, but you got this.