Maintaining focus with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a challenge in any environment. Staying focused at home, however, presents its own unique set of obstacles to overcome. The lack of structure in a work or school environment can make focusing especially difficult. In the home, you have to balance cleaning, attending to family and pets, and a variety of other constantly pressing tasks. When you suffer from adult ADHD managing symptoms and focusing can become impossible.
However, there are many techniques you can use to help your ADHD mind focus and successfully complete routine activities. In the guide below, we’ve identified a number of tips to help you learn how to focus with ADHD at home.
Signs of ADHD
It’s important to tell the difference between a periodic inability to focus and ADHD, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder. There are three main types of ADHD, each with different symptoms.
Hyperactive ADHD is commonly diagnosed in childhood but is also found in adults. This form of the disorder is indicated by a number of symptoms, including the following:
- Need for constant movement or fidgeting
- Non-stop talking
- Interrupting conversations
- Struggles with impulsivity
- Difficulty concentrating
- Struggles to wait your turn
Inattentive ADHD is typified by easy distractibility and a lack of the ability to organize thoughts. It’s characterized by a number of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty in paying attention
- Inability to follow directions
- Often lose things
- Difficulty prioritizing tasks
- Struggle to complete assignments
- Challenges following instructions
Combined ADHD is the most common form of this neurotype, characterized by a combination of symptoms associated with both hyperactive and inattentive ADHD. For instance, they may struggle to sit still or struggle with impulsivity, have difficulty focusing, miss small details, or be disorganized.
ADHD at Home
ADHD is most often thought about in a school or work environment, but the problem continues when you go home. Organizing a household, managing chores, and tackling other home responsibilities is often a job of its own that rivals the responsibility of work or school. People with ADHD often struggle with “boring tasks,” which can be both at-home tasks or work/school-related tasks.
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How Do I HelpMyself Focus with ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, and someone with ADHD can’t just force themselves to focus. If you have ADHD or you think you do, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider on the best plan to manage your symptoms and improve your mental health. However, there are still small steps you can take to manage your ADHD on your own.
1. Plan Your Day
Dealing with ADHD at home is especially difficult because of the lack of structure of a work or school environment. Creating a daily plan or schedule can provide the necessary framework to help you stay focused.
Organize your day by breaking it down into tasks, including chores, meals, and other activities. To-do lists can help you maintain a sense of direction and prioritize tasks effectively.
2. Keep a Chore List
When it comes to ADHD, keeping track of your daily chores can be difficult for two reasons:
- ADHD affects short-term memory, making it hard to remember what needs to be done.
- Repetitive tasks like washing dishes or folding laundry don’t produce a lot of dopamine in the brain.
Keeping a chore list provides a visual reminder of what needs to be done, and many people with ADHD get a small dopamine burst from accomplishing tasks. Crossing something off of a list is a visual confirmation of your accomplishment. To make the task list more interesting, try writing it using different colored pens or markers.
3. Break Up Large Chores into Chunks
For individuals with ADHD, tackling large and overwhelming tasks can be particularly challenging. The key is to break them down into smaller, manageable chunks to alleviate the sense of overwhelm and make it easier to stay focused and productive.
Here’s a framework to help you break tasks into smaller chunks:
- Assess the task: Take a moment to evaluate the task’s various components and identify natural breaking points where you can divide it into smaller subtasks.
- Create a task breakdown: List each subtask separately with a whiteboard, digital app, or even a simple pen and paper.
- Set priorities: Determine the order in which you will tackle the subtasks. Prioritize them based on urgency, importance, or logical sequence. This way, you can maintain a clear direction and focus on one chunk at a time.
- Focus on one subtask at a time: Concentrate your attention and efforts on completing each subtask individually. By focusing on a smaller portion of the task, you can minimize distractions and make progress more effectively.
- Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge your achievements along the way to boost motivation and help maintain momentum. Ideas for this include crossing subtasks off the list with multicolored pens, enjoying a small piece of candy after each task, or letting yourself have a brief dance break to your favorite music.
4. Put Intrusive Thoughts Into a Journal
People with ADHD often have intrusive thoughts that prevent them from focusing. Completely ignoring these thoughts can make things more difficult. Writing these thoughts out in a journal allows you to externalize them and free up mental space to focus more effectively on the task at hand.
5. Use Organizational Tools
One of the challenges of tackling household chores is a lack of organization. Sticky notes, lists, and color coding can all help you organize your household tasks and help with making them more manageable.
For instance, a digital app that sends you alerts when something needs to be done may be good motivation to actually get it done—especially if you set the alert to make an annoying noise. You’ll be more likely to complete tasks timely to avoid hearing your alert noise again.
6. Identify Your Stressors
Stress can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and hinder your ability to focus. Take the time to identify your individual stressors and develop strategies to address them. Whether it’s creating a quiet and organized workspace or implementing stress-reducing activities, understanding and managing your stressors can significantly improve focus as well as mental health.
For instance, many people with ADHD find total silence just as stressful as certain sounds. Background noise—such as rain sounds or instrumental music—fills up the silence so you can focus.
7. Beware of Perfectionism
People with ADHD often fall into the trap of perfectionism, doubting their abilities and feeling overwhelmed by the fear of not achieving perfection. Remember that perfection is not the goal; rather, it’s about progress and completing tasks to the best of your ability. Be kind to yourself and avoid self-criticism. Celebrate small victories along the way, and focus on the effort you put into your tasks.
8. Dismiss Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts can be particularly pervasive for individuals with ADHD, especially when working at home. It’s essential to recognize these negative thoughts for what they are and not let them define your capabilities. When negative thoughts arise, challenge them by reminding yourself of your strengths and previous accomplishments. By dismissing negative thoughts, you can maintain a more positive mindset and enhance your focus.
9. Limit Distractions
The home environment can be full of distractions that force you to lose focus. Take proactive steps to minimize distractions by creating a designated workspace free from temptations like the TV, computer, or other potential interruptions. Establish boundaries and communicate with others in your household so you have the right environment to focus solely on the task at hand.
10. Take Exercise and Meditation Break
Regular exercise and meditation can significantly contribute to improving focus and managing ADHD symptoms. Taking short breaks for brisk walks or stretching can help clear your mind and rejuvenate your focus. Additionally, incorporating meditation into your routine can promote calmness and mental clarity, allowing you to reset and maintain concentration.
To try meditating: Go to a quiet part of the house, sit, close your eyes, and allow yourself to be calm. A 15-minute meditation break can make a huge difference in maintaining focus.
11. Create Deadlines
Time management is a common struggle for individuals with ADHD. To avoid getting hyper-focused on one task while neglecting others, establish deadlines for your tasks. By setting clear timelines and holding yourself accountable, you can ensure that essential tasks are completed in a timely manner. Use calendars, reminders, or alarms to help you stay on track.
12. Turn Off Your Phone
Mobile phones can be one of the most significant distractions, particularly for individuals with ADHD. Social media, messages, and games can easily divert your attention and hinder your ability to focus. Consider turning off your phone or putting it on silent mode during designated work periods to eliminate this distraction and create a more conducive environment for concentration.
13. Seek Out Help for ADHD
While the strategies mentioned above can be helpful in managing ADHD symptoms and improving focus at home, it’s important to recognize that seeking professional help is crucial for comprehensive support. Everyone’s experience with ADHD is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Seeking professional help allows you to receive individualized care and support, ensuring that you have the best resources available to manage your ADHD effectively.
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