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How To Maintain Focus With ADHD – 14 Tips

ADHD Focus Tips: 14 Strategies to Stay On Track

Maintaining focus can be a challenge for those dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD makes it difficult to stay on task and complete goals without distraction. This is due to brain chemistry and structure differences that impact attention and focus. However, there are strategies one can use to improve their ability to concentrate.

This article will explore 14 evidence-based tips and techniques for helping those with ADHD better manage their symptoms and stay focused on tasks.

Why does ADHD make it difficult to focus

ADHD makes focusing on tasks difficult for a few key reasons. The brains of those with ADHD do not produce and maintain optimal levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating attention and focus. This leads to distractions being more stimulating than the task at hand.

Additionally, people with ADHD often have lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision making, prioritizing tasks, and impulse control. With these differences in brain function, those with ADHD find it challenging to filter out irrelevant stimuli and jump from topic to topic easily. It is harder for their brain to regulate attention and they struggle to focus.

Tips to maintain focus with ADHD

Several evidence-based tips and strategies can help those with ADHD better maintain focus and manage symptoms. Implementing lifestyle modifications, establishing routines, minimizing distractions and leveraging both non-medicinal and medicinal treatment options have all shown promise in boosting attention levels for those living with ADHD.

Minimize distractions

Limiting distractions is one of the most effective tools for improving focus. For those with ADHD, external stimuli compete heavily for their attention. Minimize audible and visual distractions like closing notifications, putting away phones, using noise-canceling headphones, and finding a quiet workspace whenever possible. Reducing distractions reduces the temptation to stray from the task at hand.

Take small breaks

Taking periodic breaks when focusing on tasks helps sustain attention, especially for those with ADHD. Concentrating deeply for prolonged periods can deplete mental resources more quickly. Build short 5-10 minute breaks into work sessions every 30-45 minutes. Stand up, get a snack, or do some light stretching during breaks. This allows the mind and body to recharge without losing momentum or motivation on the current project.

Follow the Pomodoro rule

This time management technique involves focusing intently on a task for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. This “Pomodoro” is then repeated as needed. For those with ADHD, breaking work into focused but short intervals helps maintain attention better than trying to focus for long continuous stretches. It also helps prevent burnout.

Practice mindful meditation

Taking 5-10 minutes daily to engage in mindful meditation can help improve focus and attention over time. Meditation involves sitting quietly and focusing only on breathing. This trains the ADHD brain to redirect wandering thoughts and lets external stimuli come in without getting distracted. Regular meditation strengthens the prefrontal cortex’s executive function and self-regulation abilities.

Follow a healthy sleep regimen

Insufficient or irregular sleep hinders focus, concentration and patience. Those with ADHD should maintain consistent sleep/wake cycles by going to bed and waking up at the exact scheduled times each day, including weekends. Aim for nightly 7-9 hours of sleep to be well-rested and better able to direct attention.

Buy fidget toys

Keeping hands and feet busy through fidgeting can help those with ADHD stay focused on listening or tasks. Purchasing fidget toys like stress balls, cubes, or spinners provides an outlet for excess energy. It channels restless movements away from disruptive behavior, freeing the mind to concentrate. Experiment with finding toys that soothe without causing more distraction.

Talk to a Friend for Support

Letting close companions know about your ADHD struggles gives you a safe outlet to express frustrations and holds you accountable when motivation lags. A friend can also encourage setbacks and remind you of past successes. Their understanding ear and alternate viewpoint may help resolve issues blocking focus or inspire adaptive coping strategies to stay on track.

Set a deadline for tasks

Firm due dates, whether self-imposed or set by others, provide external motivation critical for focus. Deadlines activate the urgency response for those with ADHD. Work backward from the deadline to make a schedule and assign completing segments of work to specific times and dates. This structures time and prevents procrastination.

Ask clarifying questions upfront

Those with ADHD often lose focus because they don’t fully understand expectations. To better maintain attention, inquire about details like goals, constraints, submission format, and timelines at the outset. Coming to a shared understanding of what needs to be done, how, and by when boosts confidence and prevents rework down the line. It also allows full engagement with the task parameters.

Make a written to-do list

Putting tasks, assignments, and errands in a written list helps those with ADHD visualize and systematically work through activities. Checking items off as completed generates a sense of accomplishment, motivating continued focus. Lists minimize anxiety over remembering everything while also highlighting priorities to stay on track and meet goals.

Break big projects into smaller, more manageable steps

Large, vague tasks and deadlines can overwhelm those with ADHD. To better maintain focus, define clear subtasks or milestones that break work down into smaller chunks, such as “research chapter 1” or “draft introduction.” Tackling pieces one at a time prevents frustration and allows celebrating mini-wins. It also provides a sense of steady progress toward completion.

Consult a mental health professional

For those struggling significantly with focus and time management due to ADHD, meeting with a coach or therapist can provide targeted strategies. A mental health expert can assess the severity of symptoms, recommend evidence-based tools and treatments, and help create a structured plan. This may involve skill-building, counseling, or prescribing medication under medical supervision. Seeking professional guidance ensures the best approaches are applied.

Listen to instrumental music

For some, playing soft background instrumentals like classical, acoustic guitar or piano music enhances focus rather than distracts. Matching tunes without lyrics to the task avoids stimulation that may split attention. Experiment to find what music genres best complement the completion of different types of work without becoming a disruption.

Focus on one task at a time without distractions

Jumping between multiple projects sabotages focus for those with ADHD. Designate time for undivided attention on a solitary task. Close extra browser tabs, avoid checking notifications, and remove potential interferences that may steal concentration. Giving full presence to the current item prevents the mind from wandering and allows completing one thing before moving to the next. This strategy helps minimize time wasted when switching contexts.


In conclusion, managing focus with ADHD requires awareness of potential challenges and actively applying helpful techniques. The tips discussed aim to create an organized environment, proper mindset, and routines conducive to concentration. While consistency and perseverance are important, people should be patient through trial and error in discovering the strategies most apt for individual needs and situations. By integrating relevant lifestyle adjustments and skills, one’s ability to pay attention and accomplish goals can be improved despite the difficulties posed by this disorder.

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Published by Admin, On Mar 11, 2024