TIPS FOR ADULTS WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT

This article is dedicated to my son and wife who provided all the content.
1. Understand what the condition ADD means and that it is permanent. It can’t be cured. Trying harder doesn’t work. Other people don’t understand because they don’t have it. ADD must be accepted and can be managed. It will affect how you deal with life. The biggest challenge is getting things done that aren’t naturally fun or interesting. Keeping commitments and deadlines can be hard. The mind wants to wander. One approach is to take your self off-line for a while every day; like when you take a dog for a walk. Plan to procrastinate. Figure how much time you waste in a day and just plan to be free for that amount of time. After all, you’ll waste it anyway.
2. When in group or classroom situation, try to sit at the front or where the speaker can see you.
3. Set short deadlines and plan for short spurts of work. Use a timer. Break tasks into small pieces and work them each for a short time. You can even bounce from one piece to another. Organize projects in folders. You can pull a folder to work on, then switch to another when you get bored.
4. Reward yourself for a time spent working, not for completing the whole project. A reward can be a coffee break, talking to friends, computer time, etc. When a task is completed, cross it off your list but add it to a “goals met” list; this lets you see how much you have accomplished.
5. Make a promise to someone else that you will complete a task. This will increase the motivation, especially if and the other person is handy to keep you on task. If you are serious about a big project or career priority, enlist someone to be your partner or assistant. If you have the resources, delegate the busy work to someone else. Schedule regular meetings to review your goals with your support group or your boss.
6. Say “no” when people ask you to do something. This will prevent your becoming over-committed. They will either find someone else to do it or they will argue with you and that will increase your motivation. “No” as a default will ensure that you only take on the important jobs which will be more interesting.
7. Develop a ritual of keeping lists of tasks and a detailed calendar. Schedule short times on the calendar for small tasks. Make the calendar large or put it on a white board. Break each day into many blocks to represent major activities like eating, work, relax, communicate, travel. Or use a planner that can be kept with you. Keep paper by the bed and write down anything that you think of. Get it off you mind for the night. Tomorrow you can decide what to do.
8. The reason we call it “work” is that it’s hard. Don’t expect it to be fun. It might even be painful.
9. When surrounded by alligators, attack the biggest one first. One often avoids the important issues by taking up time with little jobs.
10. Learn what environments are best for avoiding distractions. You might work best in a closet or in a bus station. At your job, take work to another area if your office is full of interruptions. Keep your work area free of distractions. You may use headphones with music or white noise.
11. Work standing up. That will focus you on short tasks. Sitting down invites the mind to relax and wander.
12. Practice “mind mapping” to organize your thoughts. Study the “Getting Things Done” approach. Find them online.
13. Ritalin and other stimulant drugs have proven useful to focus the mind. It wears off after a few hours so it is best used when you plan to be productive. Like any psychoactive drug, you should observe its effects and manage the dose.  If you have an intense 8 to 5 schedule, taking it every workday may be best.  You may find it helps you manage responsibilities but doesn’t feel good.  Sometimes there’s a trade-off between feeling good and doing good.
14. Some people concentrate better when hearing or seeing rather than writing. Visual images like pictures, doodles, diagrams, or mind maps may work better. Here is where a white board can be great. You may like an audio channel and record your voice or a meeting to play back later. You can leave yourself notes on voice mail.
15. Plan some exercise everyday. It’s good for you, clears the mind and reduces stress.

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