zaterdag 25 september 2010

Concentration for people with ADHD

How to concentrate

These notes are not intended to cover issues such as motivation and procrastination which also contribute to concentration difficulties-(they require a separate topic)

Ground Rules

These apply across all changes to behaviour (not just concentration span!)
1) A little at a time. What are your long term goals? Select one or two short term goals - what will help fulfill these goals? Will power is limited, but a trainable resource – don’t try to change too much at once. Scientists have showing that using will power to change one thing depletes it in other areas.

1) Believe you can change, you can.
2) Forgive your failures- they are part of life and of ADHD
3) If your plan is not working, try something else.
4) Think about diet and exercise. Doesnt cause the ADHD, but the better your health the easier it is to handle symptoms
5) Compete with yourself not other people

Get a timer to measure your concentration span

How long can you work at the tasks that you find most difficult before getting distracted?
Try to work a few minutes longer every day before taking a break

Work with your daily fluctuations in concentration. Most people have a distinctive pattern of concentration: Morning is normally better for routine concentration tasks; billing, learning foreign language vocabulary, editing. Afternoon for putting things in perspective understanding difficult foreign grammar, planning an article. If you have patterns in concentration, plan your work to reflect this.

Environment If not confined to an office- where do you work best in your home? make a work station there. Do you work better with the radio/TV on or not? If ‘yes’ try working without-onetime - I am beginning to think we often delude ourselves about this.

An easy way to avoid distraction is to set up different ‘work stations’ for different tasks: financial paperwork; sewing; carpentry: personal correspondence; language study. When your concentration begins to lag move to another workstation.

Working on the Computer. Internet as a source of distraction
1) Turning modem of before working.
2) If you turn it on again, try working somewhere without internet access
If you need internet access to work:
Try using an internet blocking or monitoring programs. John recommended Rescue time. I have found this useful and if anyone wants I can demonstrate how the free version works next week.

Future goals or in the moment? much motivational advice focuses on the future – thinking about the reward for doing this task; promotion, getting your girlfriend back etc. Whilst it’s important to know why you want to do what you want to do, many people with ADHD can overthink the future to produce distracting daydreams about when you are promoted etc.

If this is a problem- make concentration itself the reward! Promise yourself how much better you will feel right now if you are working steadily right. Picture yourself working concentrated, in the flow, enjoying getting the work done. When you catch yourself drifting patiently focus yourself with this mind image again. It’s about conning yourself in to thinking the work itself is immediately pleasurable. It can work!
Eye Movements-- moving your eyes from left to right rapidly can make you more alert and enhance memory. However one study found that this enhanced memory performance in people who are strongly right handed, but harmed performance in people who weren’t! (many people with ADHD are rather mixed handed). Try it and see!

Other people. Use them .Delegate, swap chores. Get together to do stuff: e.g. get a friend to help you paint your kitchen one week, help her do hers the next-I think works best with more physical chores – gardening, tiling etc. However my daughter one spent a productive weekend helping me set up a filing system. Her efficiency was puzzling as all her papers are in an unstable heap in the kitchen!

Topic for meeting on September 29th, 2010