How to Get Focused and Follow Through When You Have ADHD

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How to Get Focused and Follow Through When You Have ADHD was originally published on It's ADHD Friendly.

Are you struggling to get focused and stay on task? Do you frequently find yourself starting new projects but never following through on them? If you have ADHD, you’re not alone. Being neurodivergent can make it difficult to concentrate and complete tasks, but there are strategies you can use to help you get focused and follow through.

Listen to the Podcast related to this topic–Follow-Through-Why-its-hard-and-How-to-Fix-It-e26dc55

The Problem with ADHD and Follow

For those with ADHD, executive function can be a little bit tricky. More often than not, when my clients come to me and say, “I can’t focus on anything, I can’t follow through on anything. What’s the matter with me?”, there’s more to it than just a lack of focus.

The number one thing that I find across the board is that we sign ourselves up for so many things to focus on that there’s no possible way, even if we had the most stellar executive function in the world, that we would be able to focus on all of it.

The Solution: Prioritize and Write It Down

adhd woman and follow through

The first step to getting focused and following through is to get super clear on what’s important and what’s not, and write it down. Prioritization is an executive function that can be difficult for those with ADHD. Everything feels important and urgent all the time, but obviously that’s not true. If everything is important and urgent, then nothing is important and urgent.

Take the time to decide what’s important and what’s not, and write it down. Working memory is another one of those tricky things for us with ADHD, so we can decide what’s important and what’s not important, but we will forget about it the next day if we don’t write it down.

ADHD Follow Through Starts With This…

For those with ADHD, follow through can be a challenge. Very often, we get to about 80% completion on a project and then just drop it like a hot potato and move on.

There are many reasons why this happens. Sometimes we lose interest or get tired of it. Sometimes the last 20% of a project is unclear or we don’t know what to do next. Or sometimes the next shiny object has come along and just distracted our attention.

To move away from this, start to build the muscle of being present when you’re presented with something interesting. Ask yourself if this is something you have the time, energy, and resources to focus on or not. That is going to help you down the line when it comes to follow through because you will have fewer things in your sphere of attention to actually focus on. Less to focus on means a higher probability of actually following through.

When you commit to something, ask yourself, “What does done look like? What does success look like? How long and for how much do I actually want to put my focused attention on this thing?” If we keep randomly putting more and more things in our basket of focus, then eventually it’s going to start spilling out all over the place. There’s no way that you can follow through on all of the things that are spilling out of this basket.

The Importance of Structure

adhd man following through

Structure can be difficult for those with ADHD, but it’s essential to getting focused and following through. When we have structure in place, we don’t need to keep all that stuff in our head, which is a lousy place to keep it in the first place.

To build structure, start with the non-negotiables in your week, like showing up to the office or a class on a certain day. Then, start to theme your week around those big commitments. Think about your environment and the way you set up your workspace or your purse. Leaning on technology like setting up alarms and notifications can also help.

Takeaways on Developing Follow Through and Structure.

  • Prioritize what’s important and write it down to help with executive function.
  • Be present and intentional when committing to something to help with follow through.
  • Structure your week around non-negotiables and theme your week accordingly to help with focus.

I know it’s a challenge to get focused and following through when you have ADHD, but it’s not impossible. By prioritizing, being intentional, and building structure, you can start to make progress towards your goals. Remember, it’s not about doing everything, it’s about doing the right things.

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