Staying Focused as an Adult with ADHD

I have struggled with attention issues since high school. Probably before then also but I just don’t recall. I do know that I have been a lifetime procrastinator and need to be down to the wire to get something done. I was never a kid who did their homework or a project early.

As an adult, I still struggle with attention issues and frequently spread myself too thin by bouncing from project to project. I have had to develop some habits that help me manage life as a busy work-at-home mom to keep me on track.

WRITE out lists - don’t type them

There is something about the physical act of writing my list down that sears it into my brain more than it ever would typing it. I personally have switched to using my iPad and Apple Pencil for all my note taking and digital planning (I use the Goodnotes app). But I always write my lists and don’t type them in. Occasionally for things like doctors appointments or pre-school events I will type them into the calendar in my phone so I can set an alarm but I always write them down also.

Plan your day first thing in the morning

I find that for me, I need to plan my day the morning of. Even trying to plan the day the night before ends badly (helloooo I have ADHD so obviously I forget to check what I had planned by the time morning comes). If everyone is cooperating, I like to make my coffee and plan out my day while the kids are eating breakfast. On the days that I plan everything, down to meal times, naps and chores I’d like to get done around the house, I find that I am much more productive.

Keep your space clean

Whether it is trying to tackle organizing the whole house, or just the area where you work in, decluttering can go a long way to keeping your mind focused. I find that when my living space is messy and cluttered that I am WAY more chaotic and cannot focus on any tasks because I am so overwhelmed with all the stuff around me. Even if it is just making sure all of the dishes are done and my bed is made goes a long way to keeping my mind clear and focused. I find a direct correlation to how messy my living space is and my mental health.

Be realistic with your goals

This is a hard one for me because when I start planning my day I can easily go overboard and think of way too many things I want to accomplish and then get hard on myself when I can’t finish it all. Maybe you can’t do all the laundry, a huge work project, cook 3 meals and clean the whole house in one day - but you can prioritize what actually needs to be completed in your day and just focus on that. Go easy on yourself and decide what are priorities and what can wait for another day.

Pick a time to stop working in the evening and then STOP

This can be another hard one for me. If I get on my computer in the evening after the kids are asleep than I can find myself in a spiral of working on stuff WAY too late into the night. I try to make an effort that when the kids go to bed I get done what absolutely has to get done and then that is it. I use my free time at night before bed to work on personal projects that bring me joy and let my mind wander free, creatively.

Find a hobby you can do with your hands

As someone who has trouble sitting still (duh, again, ADHD), I love working on crafts where I need to use my hands. Our generation spends way too much time in front of screens and sometimes it is nice to detach and work on something physical. Some of my favorite hobbies to keep my hands busy are crocheting, watercolor painting, sewing, and calligraphy.

These are just some of the ways that I stay focused and organized as an adult with attention issues. Comment below if you have any tips or tricks you find helpful in managing your ADHD as an adult!

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