I have to start this article by saying, that I have never officially been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
All I can tell you, is that I wasn’t very good at sitting still in school as a kid. And still, to this day, I have trouble focusing on anything for more than 10 minutes at time, unless it is something that really interests me.
I think that with my symptoms, I could easily get diagnosed with a mild degree of ADD these days, and if you are anything like me, I have a tip for you that might help a little.
It is about how I work every day, and get all of my stuff done, even though I lack the ability to focus.
I first discovered the solution to my attention problem in high school, when I had to do some very boring reading as homework. It was virtually impossible for me to focus on it for more than 5 minutes at a time. So I didn’t. I just took A LOT of breaks, and told myself that it was okay.
I would read one page in my text book. Then watch one section of Two And A Half Men – commercial to commercial (approx. 8 minutes), and then go back to reading one page again.
I know, this seems ridiculous, but it was really the only way I could get it done, and it was actually pretty enjoyable for me.
Nowadays, I have changed my work routine slightly, to make it a little more productive. The way I have updated it, is by swapping out the TV break with some other productive thing, that doesn’t require my mental focus.
Now, I will for example read 4 pages in a book, then go do something practical (like doing some of the dishes), then write a few lines for a blog post, and then finally do a few push-ups. After the cycle is done, I repeat it all over again and again, until I have accomplished my goal. In this case, the goal might be to finish a blog post.
To most people, this seems like something only a mad man would do. And I am sure that they’d feel like they wouldn’t get to focus on anything at all.
But to me, this is the only way to work. Without the ungodly amount of breaks and rewards, I would never finish anything.
The trick is to set up a cycle of tasks that are all productive. That way, you aren’t really taking a break from productivity. You are just switching a lot, and completing several goals at a time.
I think that, in our society, we admire people who are able to sit down and focus on the same task for hours one end. However, this just doesn’t work for everybody. And for those it doesn’t work for – they should embrace who they are, and find their optimal way to work and stay productive.