How to Focus with ADHD: Strategies and Tips

How to Focus with ADHD: Strategies and Tips

Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can often feel like trying to watch a fast-paced movie with a remote that has a mind of its own. One moment you're fully engrossed, focusing, and the next, you're distracted, your focus shifted elsewhere.

However, with the right strategies and techniques, individuals with ADHD can improve their ability to focus and maximize productivity.

This article explores various methods and tips to help individuals with ADHD enhance their focus and achieve their goals.

Why Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Makes It Hard to Focus

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. One of the primary symptoms of ADHD is trouble maintaining focus, which can manifest in various aspects of life, including work, school, and home life. It's important to recognize that individuals with ADHD may have different attention spans and may require tailored approaches to improve focus.

The impact of ADHD on focus isn't always negative, though. Some people with ADHD find they can hyperfocus on tasks they find interesting or engaging. This intense concentration can be a strength, allowing them to delve deeply into a project or idea. However, it can also be a challenge if it leads them to neglect other important tasks or responsibilities.

Understanding the nature of ADHD and how it affects focus is the first step in finding strategies to manage it. It's important to remember that everyone's experience with ADHD is unique. It's about finding the right balance and strategies that work for you.

Strategies for Improving Focus with ADHD

Strategies for improving focus with ADHD can be as unique as the individuals who employ them. It's crucial to remember that what works for one person may not work for another.

1. Break Tasks Into Manageable Chunks

Breaking down larger tasks into smaller chunks can significantly improve focus, especially for individuals with ADHD. When you're faced with a big project, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. This can lead to procrastination, poor focus, and a lack of productivity. However, by dividing the project into smaller tasks, it becomes less daunting and more achievable.

Each small task completed provides a sense of accomplishment, which can boost motivation and focus. It's like climbing a mountain - you don't focus on the peak from the start, but rather on each step you take. This approach makes the journey less intimidating and more manageable.

Smaller tasks are also less likely to cause distraction. When you're working on a large project, it's easy to get sidetracked and easily distracted by the sheer volume of work. But when you're focused on a single, smaller task, it's easier to maintain your concentration and stay on track.

2. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking, while it may seem efficient, can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD, making it harder to focus and complete tasks. Switching between tasks can cause you to lose time and momentum on the original task. Instead, a more effective approach is to concentrate on one task at a time, allowing for a more focused and productive work session. By focusing on one specific task, you can reduce the risk of becoming overwhelmed.

3. Use a Timer to Help Maintain Focus

Timers can be a powerful tool for maintaining focus, especially for individuals with ADHD. Research suggests that people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters in the brain associated with attention and focus. These neurotransmitters are that “nudge” in our brain that motivates us to do stuff. However, the ticking clock of a timer serves as a constant reminder of the task at hand, helping to keep distractions at bay. It's like having a personal coach nudging you to stay on track.

One popular method that utilizes a timer is the Pomodoro Technique. This approach involves setting a timer for 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5-minute break. After four cycles, a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes is taken. This technique can be particularly effective for those with ADHD, as it provides regular breaks to recharge and refocus.

However, the beauty of using a timer is that it can be tailored to your individual needs. You might find that a short break works better for you rather than a longer one. The key is to ensure that your work periods are long enough to make significant progress on a task, and your breaks are sufficient to refresh you without leading to distraction.

4. Create a Distraction-Free Environment

One of the most effective strategies for staying focused is to limit distractions. This is particularly crucial in a work environment where the hustle and bustle can easily divert your attention. The first step is to create a workspace that minimizes interruptions. This could mean requesting a private office or a quieter spot away from the main work area.

However, sometimes these options may not always be feasible. In such cases, try and control your immediate environment by using noise-canceling headphones, running a white noise machine, listening to soft music, or even turning off digital devices. Removing unrelated objects from your view can also aid in maintaining focus.

Research has also found that those with ADHD find fidget toys, foot-tapping, and chewing gum increase their focus and attention.

5. Use Visual Reminders

Visual reminders can be a game-changer when it comes to staying focused, especially for those grappling with ADHD. These aids help keep us on track, reminding us of tasks, and helping us manage our time effectively.

Whether it's a large calendar plastered on the wall, a daily planner filled with to-dos, or a whiteboard scribbled with important notes, these visual cues can significantly enhance our productivity.

Visual reminders can be personalized to suit individual needs and preferences. Some might find traditional pen-and-paper daily to-do lists more effective, while others might lean towards digital tools and apps. The key is to find what works best for you and stick with it.

These reminders are not just about remembering tasks; they also serve as a constant nudge to keep us focused. They act as a silent alarm, pulling us back when our minds start to wander. They are particularly useful during conversations, where paraphrasing and jotting down key points can ensure we don't miss out on important details.

Research has also found that doodling and fidgeting help those with ADHD maintain their focus. For example, if you're in a meeting, lecture, or reading through long documents, doodling and fidgeting increases stimulation and keeps your brain better engaged.

In essence, visual reminders are a simple yet effective and helpful tool in our arsenal to combat the challenges posed by ADHD. They help us stay focused, manage our time better, and ultimately, perform at our best.

6. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is a crucial part of managing ADHD symptoms and improving focus. It's not just about pampering yourself, but taking care of your physical and mental health. This can include everything from getting enough sleep to eating a balanced diet and staying active.

Sleep deprivation can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, making it harder to concentrate and stay on task. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night to help improve your focus.

Nutrition also plays a significant role in focus and productivity. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats can fuel your brain and body, helping you stay alert and focused throughout the day. Avoid processed, high-sugar, and fried snacks that can lead to energy crashes and hinder your ability to concentrate.

Regular physical activity is also a vital part of self-care. Physical exercise can help improve attention and focus, particularly in people with ADHD. It doesn't have to be strenuous; even a brisk walk during your lunch break can make a difference.

7. Consider Supplements

For those grappling with the hurdles of ADHD, staying focused and concentrated can feel like a constant struggle. Adding supplements, like NMN Bio's NAD+ Brain, to your daily routine can improve focus and attention.

With 50mg per serving, apigenin, a powerful natural compound, not only calms brain activity but also safeguards the essential NAD+ molecule vital for cellular energy production, ensuring optimal brain function.

Additionally, each serving contains 50mg of caffeine, known to ignite mental energy and attentiveness, and 100mg of L-Theanine, fostering a harmonious synergy that promotes calm focus without the typical caffeine jitters.

These supplements offer a balanced approach to enhancing focus, providing individuals with ADHD with a valuable tool to navigate daily tasks with greater clarity and efficiency.

Final Thoughts: How to Focus with ADHD

Living with ADHD presents unique challenges, particularly when it comes to maintaining focus and concentration. However, by implementing effective strategies and techniques, individuals with ADHD can enhance their ability to focus, manage tasks, and achieve their goals.

Whether through establishing routines, minimizing distractions, practicing mindfulness, or seeking support, there are numerous ways to overcome the challenges associated with ADHD and thrive in various aspects of daily life.

To explore further ways of improving focus and concentration, individuals with ADHD may consider incorporating NAD+ Brain into their daily routine. These supplements, formulated with apigenin and other essential nutrients, support brain health and offer additional benefits for cognitive function and attention regulation. NAD+ Brain is available as a standalone supplement, or as a part of the Morning Bundle,  alongside NMN for cellular energy and TMG for neurotransmission support. 

Researched and reviewed by Dr Elena Seranova, Ph.D.

Dr Seranova holds a master's degree in Translational Neuroscience from the University of Sheffield, UK, and a Ph.D in Stem Cell Biology and Autophagy from the University of Birmingham, UK. She is a published author in multiple peer-reviewed journals, including Cell Reports and Developmental Cell.


Blum et al. Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder and reward deficiency syndrome. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. (2008) 

Canela et al. Skills and compensation strategies in adult ADHD - A qualitative study. PLoS One. (2017) 

Rotz, R., & Wright, S. The Body-Brain Connection: How Fidgeting Sharpens Focus. ADDitude. (2024)


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