Productivity at Work

ADHD Makes It Difficult to Concentrate on Conversations

Distracting, unrelated thoughts pop into my mind when I talk with friends, to the point that I tune out their words. Can you suggest strategies that would help?

Businessman feeling overwhelmed as employees shove papers and phones in his face
Upset man holding hands on head as people shove papers and phones at him

If you find yourself with an idea that’s just too good not to share, ease it into the conversation by saying, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I don’t want to forget this thought.” If you’ve already interrupted without realizing it, stop the conversation and apologize: “I just realized that I cut you off back there. I get so excited by a thought that I can’t stop myself. You were saying?”

Some people with attention deficit disorder are distracted because they’re anxious. If you feel nervous, take a few deep breaths and focus on the conversation. If you stop following the drift of the conversation, you might say, “I’m sorry, I got lost in thought there for a second. Can you repeat what you just said?”