You’ve crafted your to-do list. You’ve gathered your supplies. You know what you need to do. And yet when the time comes to actually complete the day’s tasks, your brain drifts off.
Why is focus — both finding it in the first place, and pulling it back when it starts to stray — so difficult for people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD)? The answer lies in brain chemistry: ADHD brains are naturally low on dopamine and norepinephrine, which control brain arousal and attention levels. Other people may find that, when the situation calls for it, they can “buckle down” and force their brains to focus. For people with ADHD, the advice to “just focus” is maddening; it simply can’t be done.
You can’t force focus, but you can create an ideal environment — both physical and mental — for it to thrive. The key is working with (not against) your ADHD brain, and combining the specific factors that help your focus flourish. When you're wondering, "Why can't I focus?" follow these 12 tips to get started.