Focus & Attention

The Flipside of Distractibility

Hyperfocus can be an asset — or an obstacle. Get help with this two-step plan.

Hyperfocus eclipses distractions
Hyperfocus eclipses distractions

As most people with ADHD know, the flipside of distractibility and inattention is hyperfocus. This phenomenon, marked by concentration so absolute that everything else is blocked out, can be an asset with projects that require attention to detail — but an obstacle if time is short.

If you’ve ever looked up from a project and realized that five hours have gone by — and that your child is waiting to be picked up at soccer practice — this two-step plan will probably be helpful.

1. Set priorities very carefully.

Look over your to-do list. Take care of any time-sensitive tasks (scheduling or confirming an appointment, picking up your child, etc.) before tackling a project that you know will command all of your attention.

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2. Schedule a “wake-up” call.

Decide ahead of time how long you have to immerse yourself in a project. Then, set an alarm or kitchen timer to go off — or ask a friend to call — when you need to wrap it up.

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