8 Expert-Tested Ways to Improve Focus

Our experts share their get-focused secrets.

Binoculars improve focus and narrow your line of sight
Binoculars improve focus and narrow your line of sight
  • Narrow your line of sight. Keep only what you’re working on in front of you. -Sandy Maynard, ADDitude‘s coach on call
  • Give yourself a message. Post a note within view to remind yourself to stay focused: “This isn’t the time to clean my room. I’ll do it tomorrow.” -Patricia Quinn, M.D., Nancy Ratey, Ed.M., and Theresa Maitland, Ph.D.
  • Withhold criticism. Avoid perfectionism or frustration by not critique the job you’re doing until you’ve completed it. -Christine Adamec, author of Moms with ADD
  • Make a list. Take five minutes to write down all the things you have to do. Once these tasks are on paper, you’ll find it easier to focus. -Thomas Whitmore, Ph.D., and Michele Novotni, Ph.D.
  • Ask for a friendly reminder. Ask a friend who sits near you in class or in meetings to tap you lightly on the shoulder if you appear to be zoning out. -Khris, teen contributor to A Bird’s-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD

Get regular exercise. Exercise optimizes brain functions, and is the best way to promote long-term focus. -Edward Hallowell, M.D., and John Ratey, M.D.

Know your limits. When find yourself drifting, be frank. Tell the person you’re talking to, “I’m sorry. Can we stop for a minute?” – Alex Zeigler, coauthor of A Bird’s-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD

Set a goal. If you have a goal that’s aligned with who you are and what you’re excited about, you’ll move mountains to stay on task and get the job done. -Michael Sandler, Success at School columnist for ADDitude

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