Stay On Task In Spite of ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 469

Seems to me the primary basic problem in ADD ADHD is that we can’t focus when we need to. 

Just telling someone to “focus” isn’t all that helpful; in fact, if we could focus, we probably wouldn’t need to reading about how to stay on task.  No, we need strategies to help us focus; just trying to focus ain’t gonna do it.  If it’s any comfort, most of the links below don’t specifically say anything about ADD ADHD, so we’re not the only ones, the vanilla people can be struggling with the same problem too.  The difference is it’s worse for us and it’s all the time, except for the times we’re hyperfocused – which can be very effective but can bring up it’s own set of problems.

There are many strategies;

my favorites:  make a rule to finish this thing before you start anything else (easier if you’re using the strategy of small steps); if a distracting idea pops up, jot it down and keep on task; set a reasonable goal and have a reward waiting.


add,adhd,adult add,adult adhd,focus,clutter,ritalin,adult add,adult adhd,attention,deficit


here’s more tips and bonus links:

how to stay on task  clik

how to stay on task clik

staying on task  clik

how to stay on task at work clik

how to stay on task  clik

JJ on ADD ADHD mistakes, or just plain symptoms  clik

on managing money clik

very slanted negative anti medication for ADD ADHD clik

Do you have a special focusing stay on task trick?

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
This entry was posted in add, ADD problems or symptoms, ADD strategies, distraction, medication, strategies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Stay On Task In Spite of ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 469

  1. peter says:

    Doug, thanks for that reminder on how to focus. I have ADD and struggle to stay on task, perform a job logically from start to finish etc. I work for a law firm and just before reading your message I wanted to record some completed work in my timesheet – which is crucial to the business obviously. While in the timesheet, an urgent email came in, which I responded to immediately. I then forgot where I was and went into my emails where I saw your message on staying focused. I promptly returned to the timesheet to finish this short but critical task. I guess the lesson for me is to finish one task at a time and to prioritize, as mentioned in your book.


    • peter-
      yes, one thing at a time is a great strategy, and when i am thinking “i’ve got a lot to do”, i try to remember to say “no, i only have ONE thing to do, this thing.”
      thank you for commenting!


  2. homemakersdaily says:

    I am my own worst enemy! I distract myself all the time. I do try to follow your rule, though. Today I had just finished writing tomorrow’s blog post but before putting it on, I decided I wanted to switch the laundry. I talked myself out of it: “Just do the post and when it’s all done you can do the laundry.” It doesn’t always work but it did this time.

    When I’m trying to concentrate, sometimes I talk out loud. That can really help to keep the other stuff out of my head. Unfortunately I talk out loud to myself all the time – not always in appropriate places. I get caught ALL the time. It’s a little bit embarrassing.


    • homey-
      i talk to myself all the time too, especially like ” now I’m doing this, and then I’ll do that.” It really helps. havent found it particularly embarrassing, don’t think it’s my worst habit.
      if its worth it and you really make it a rule, i think you will be able to increase the per cent times you can stick to the task.
      as always, thank you for the comments- love them!


  3. Dora Campbell says:

    I agree especially with “have a reward waiting.” I work with students with ADHD, but I often use this strategy for myself – to get things done in my own life. I find that when I mention using a “reward,” my students often tell me they have grown out of rewards – thinking of them as award certificates, etc. When I explain how I use personal rewards, this is often a new concept to them.


    • dora –
      glad to hear how you are creative in dealing with the students, i am a big fan of teachers, my daughter is one.
      I think we all need positive reinforcement when we finish a task, instead of just rushing on to the next one.
      thank you for commenting


  4. mommaadd says:

    The hardest part for me is getting started. I am finding it helpful to make my red card with 5 to-do’s before I go to bed. This way, when I wake up the next morning, I have immediate direction. I started my orange cards, too, and it’s working out for me. Doug, just like you have a card for books you want to read, I have a card for plants I want to buy and recipes I want to make. I also put a little notebook in my vanity drawer in the bathroom. This way, if an idea pops into my head, I can jot it down immediately, If I didn’t do this, I would have forgotten it by the time I left the bathroom. LOL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.