Hyperfocus: An Upside to ADHD

hyperfocusPeople with ADHD know that despite their reputation for being easily distracted, they can also have an uncanny ability to concentrate when truly engaged with something they enjoy.  It may not happen all the time -or at the best time (!) - but it’s still worth celebrating.

The official term in the ADHD world is hyperfocus, and it’s defined by Ari Tuckman, PsyD, as “a locking-in of attention wherein the person becomes completely absorbed in an activity to the exclusion of awareness of the rest of his environment.”  It can range from throwing oneself into a writing or painting project, to playing videogames for hours.

The good news is that hyperfocus offers the potential to get a lot done, often with ease.  

When you connect with what you want to accomplish in a way that grips your attention, it can be quite satisfying and productive.  Find ways to take ownership of your projects by making them creative and appealing, even if others question your methods!  When it comes to washing the kitchen floor, this may be a stretch, but even then, sing or do whatever occurs to you to make it more engaging.

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It’s Time to Care Less

begging for chance - business womanWhether you worry about what people think, try not to offend anyone or put on a happy face all the time, you’re living from a place of fear. We all want to fit in. But focusing too much on pleasing others takes us away from being fully present.

Consider that you cannot know most people’s true feelings, nor should you. As the saying goes, “What others think of you is none of your business.”

I am not suggesting that you behave arrogantly or not care at all; being respectful of others is important. But I am addressing our tendency to allow other peoples’ attitudes towards us to figure too prominently in our self- appraisal. It’s exhausting and detrimental to worry about things that are ultimately out of our control.

Fear of being excluded or treated poorly can lurk inside us. Perhaps it’s a memory of being the last one picked for a team or a particularly embarrassing moment. Those feelings of ostracism and shame run deep and it’s time to put them to rest.

Everyone has their particular concern – Am I smart enough? Thin enough? Rich enough? ‘Together’ enough? People unwittingly behave as if they are being monitored on other people’s radar screens all the time. It’s like those bumper stickers on trucks asking, ‘How’s My Driving?’  By giving others the power to judge you, your sticker might be saying,  ‘Am I Good Enough for You?’[…] Continue Reading

Choose a Focus, Not a Goal

dreamstimefree_143101Do we need to think differently about goals when it comes to ADHD?

We all hear about the importance of establishing measurable goals as a way to track progress and achieve success.  There’s even the acronym S.M.A.R.T. that identifies the characteristics of an effective goal – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

While this approach may succeed for many, what happens when it doesn’t?  In working with adults with ADHD, talk of goals can elicit sighs of exasperation.  I hear, “My mind doesn’t work in a linear fashion like that,” or “How can I know what I want in a year, when I can’t figure out what to do today?”

The very act of defining goals with such precision presents challenges. Those executive functioning skills required to identify objectives, prioritize and decide on plans are impacted by ADHD.  Trying to make headway in this typical manner can be plain overwhelming.  There‘s often added frustration from recalling past attempts that didn’t pan out.[…] Continue Reading

Are Weekends Disappointing?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-bored-woman-image20850696As much as we look forward to Saturday and Sunday, they can sometimes be a letdown.  With all the unstructured time, possibilities and decisions, weekends can be frustrating or even end in conflict.  With a little thought and attention, things can significantly improve!

We all have ideas for how to use our time.  On some occasions we simply want to relax and unwind, while other times we prefer to socialize and be out in the world.

Weekends can also be a a time to catch-up on errands and household tasks that accumulate during the week.  We place high expectations on these two precious days, and all that pressure doesn’t help.

 Five Suggestions for Improving Your Weekends:

  1. Take control and stop waiting for possibilities to appear.  Many people have a tendency to leave options open.  They want the freedom to be spontaneous and non-committal. Think about how often spontaneous opportunities really arise and consider whether this habit is worth the cost.
  2. Realize that plans are a good thing and can be a whole lot better than spending your weekend in limbo.  Planning and prioritizing don’t come easily to most with ADD.  Yet, there’s a new freedom that comes from having a few solid plans in place – with the decisions made you may find yourself feeling much more relaxed.[…] Continue Reading

The Path to Positivity


We constantly hear about the importance of having a positive mindset.  Clichés abound: “Look at the bright side,” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and, “Every cloud has a silver lining”.  While I agree with these sentiments, I also find them pollyannaish and simplistic. Pushing positivity on someone who isn’t feeling it can be […]

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Sneaky Perfectionism

Seattle Flowers

Is aiming for ‘good enough’ the best approach?  As with many things, it depends.  But for perfectionists, it might be a wise decision. We live in a world where a lot is expected of us.  Unless you have a full-time secretary, housecleaner or errand-runner (not bad ideas!) your plate is likely full.  If you’re a […]

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