8 Expert-Tested Ways to Improve Focus
Our experts share their get-focused secrets.
- 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, co-author 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