How To Focus With ADHD 2023? Simple Tips To Improve Focus

Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

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how to focus with adhd

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a very challenging condition and one that can be very disruptive to one’s everyday life. ADHD[1] is a brain based disorder that is common during childhood. Those with ADHD symptoms include being easily distracted, difficulty with impulse control, it may be difficult to sit for them as they are extremely active. Having ADHD can make it more difficult to complete multiple tasks and can continue once you are an adult. Adults with ADHD can miss important details and can have an altered brain chemistry.  However, there are ways to limit distractions, maintain focus and reduce stress. Stress management is key to staying focused and there are several ways this can be achieved, emotional support animals, techniques to assist with sleep such as deep breathing to relax the mind and speaking with a licensed professional through the best online therapy. 

How To Focus With ADHD

  • Avoid Multitasking by focusing on one thing at a time. 
  • Improve time management through giving yourself allotted time for tasks and deadlines. 
  • Reduce stress through various techniques.
  • Create a reward-based system for completed tasks.
how to focus with adhd
Time management is one of the ways to help focus with ADHD.

Why Can’t I Focus When I Have ADHD?

There are a multitude of reasons why focusing is difficult for people with ADHD[2]. Stress is one factor that is common within adult ADHD. Those who have difficulty sleeping or lack a healthy diet also perpetuate stress on the body and mind. Those who get adequate sleep and maintain a healthy diet, tend to have a better ability to deal with overwhelming moments and anxiety. Having too much to do all at once also contributes to being overwhelmed and causes difficulty concentrating. Lastly, having limited exposure to effective time management can also exasperate ADHD. 

How Lack Of Focus Affect Your Life

Having a lack of focus makes it difficult to complete tasks on time and makes certain expectations impossible to attain. Not meeting a deadline on a project can affect employment and performance in school. Having a lack of good performance, especially when work ethic and intelligence is optimal can be very frustrating. Having a lack of attention and focus can also disrupt romantic relationships, and friendships and make it difficult to have a stable home life. Try having a lot of incomplete tasks at home or at work/school can make life overwhelming and can work as a perpetual cycle that decreases motivation and can even cause depression. 

Tips To Focus With ADHD

Avoid Multitasking

One of the best ways to do this is to write down a daily to-do list and to break tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. Tackling one task at a time is a great way to stay focused, it also breaks down boring tasks that you might not want to do. Having smaller tasks to complete makes everything more manageable and once they are completed, those with ADHD tend to build on more confidence. Having visual reminders of these tasks on colorful paper or bold neat fonts is also something that can help to improve attention and reduce the overwhelming feeling. Some people respond better to colors, while some like fonts or various other ways to structure tasks. Whichever way causes less distraction to complete a task may assist with better disease control. 

how to focus with adhd
Writing down daily to-do list and breaking tasks into smaller pieces can help you stay focused.

Timing Techniques

Giving yourself a manageable deadline for each task, regardless of how small certain things are, can be a helpful tool in reducing anxiety pertaining to the task. When you are not distracted by the sense of being overwhelmed, tasks become more manageable. An example of this would be giving yourself 5 minutes to read emails. Then maybe, giving yourself a limit on how long you can take a phone break before going on to the next task. This may limit distractions by giving them a space in your life and can assist you with staying focused. 

how to focus with adhd
Set a time restriction for how long you can take a phone break before moving on to the next task to help you stay focused.

Reducing Stress Techniques 

An inability to reduce stress[3] effectively will perpetuate symptoms of ADHD. Therefore, having a focus on your mental health is key. Certain strategies such as meditation and talking to loved ones can help manage feelings of being overwhelmed. Writing down triggers that cause overwhelming feelings and keeping track of them can also be helpful strategies. If lack of sleep is an issue, then consider using a white noise machine to assist with going to sleep and hopefully reduce all of the noise in the brain. Finally, if all else does not work and you continue to feel overwhelmed and it is difficult to focus due to stress, then seeking a mental health professional to talk with would be key. 

Things To Do In Stressful Environments For People With ADHD


Focus on managing your time with daily to do lists. Use colors and other helpful strategies to assist with a distraction in the home. Create rewards for tasks completed to improve motivation. Some of those rewards can be healthy in nature. An example would be, for 10 minutes of vacuuming, you can reward yourself with 10 minutes of TV or 10 minutes to scroll on your phone. Limiting distractions at home[4] is a great way to build confidence that can be translated into the workforce or school work. 

At School Or Work

Focus on one project at a time, by breaking down tasks. Breaking down tasks is an affective tool since it makes everything less overwhelming. Additionally, once that small task is accomplished, you will gain confidence and motivation to continue onto more tasks. Whether you are an adult or child, it is important to remember to ask for help when in trouble and having difficulty concentrating[5]. It is also helpful to seek a break when necessary and to keep track of distractions that make it difficult to concentrate. An Example of that would be writing down times when you lose focus and finding ways to break away from that distraction. 


ADHD makes life challenging for children and adults who suffer from it. However, there are multiple strategies that can help manage distractions and symptoms. Avoiding multitasking, giving oneself timed deadlines and reducing stress are all strategies to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and assist with being more focused. Having a reward system in place as well as a support system can also be very helpful. It is always recommended to be medically reviewed by a mental health professional who focuses on ADHD in order to have a helpful approach to becoming more focused. Having an ADHD coach and being able to share feedback with may also help manage symptoms. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some signs and symptoms of ADHD? 

Easily distracted, memory issues, nervous energy, risky behaviors, difficulty with staying on task.

How Many Adults have ADHD?

According to epidemiological data, approximately 5%[6] of adults have ADHD.

Does ADHD occur in both men and woman?

Yes it does. However, men and boys are more frequently referred for ADHD testing and therefore receive more accommodations. This leaves woman to be under-diagnosed. 

Is AHDH only a childhood disease?

No ADHD is a life-long condition.

What are some of the other causes of ADHD besides genetics?

Brain Injuries, low birth weight, being born prematurely, use of alcohol and lead exposure during pregnancy.

+ 6 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. CDC (2021). What is ADHD? [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at:,)%2C%20or%20be%20overly%20active.
  2. Focusing on ADHD (2017). Focusing on ADHD. [online] NIH News in Health. Available at:,hyperactive%2Dimpulsive%20and%20inattentive%20types.
  3. Saccaro, L.F., Schilliger, Z., Perroud, N. and Piguet, C. (2021). Inflammation, Anxiety, and Stress in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Biomedicines, [online] 9(10), p.1313. doi:
  4. Mulligan, A., Anney, R., Butler, L., O’Regan, M., Richardson, T., Tulewicz, E.M., Fitzgerald, M. and Gill, M. (2011). Home environment: association with hyperactivity/impulsivity in children with ADHD and their non-ADHD siblings. Child: Care, Health and Development, [online] 39(2), pp.202–212. doi:
  5. Fuermaier, A.B.M., Tucha, L., Butzbach, M., Weisbrod, M., Aschenbrenner, S. and Tucha, O. (2021). ADHD at the workplace: ADHD symptoms, diagnostic status, and work-related functioning. Journal of Neural Transmission. [online] doi:
  6. ADDA – Attention Deficit Disorder Association. (2023). ADHD: The Facts. [online] Available at: ‌


Yelena Wheeler, MPH, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, MPH
Yelena Wheeler is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition writer from Los Angeles, CA. She has been a clinical dietitian for over a decade working within many prominent hospital systems in Los Angeles and Central California. She is a working parent who believes that a balance in life is first found through fueling our bodies with good nutrition. She is passionate about nutrition for every size and enhancing academia for future generations of dietitians and nurses.


Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

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