What Distracts You?

“I started my paper, but … well, I ended up on Facebook for an hour and didn’t get much done.”

“I meant to do some research this weekend, but my friends invited me to go out, and, … well … I am a bit behind now.”

Distraction is part and parcel of living with ADHD. If you have ADHD, you know that distraction can be fun at times, but can also lead to stress and frustration, can reduce effectiveness, and can impact performance.

Becoming more aware of how distraction shows up for you is Step One on the road to getting a handle on it.

In her book Defeating the Eight Demons of Distraction, Dr. Geraldine Markel identifies the following sources of distraction. Which do you recognize?

1) Technology – Who hasn’t been distracted by Facebook, Twitter, texts, email, and the like? It’s an easy, readily-available escape.

2) Other people – Friends, family, and co-workers can interrupt our concentration efforts without meaning to.

3) Activities – Multi-tasking and over-committing can both pull us off-task.

4) Spaces – Sights and sounds can impact attention and the pace of one’s work.

5) Stress – Whether internal or external, stress saps mental energy, focus and concentration.

6) Fatigue – Burning the candle at both ends, or pulling all-nighters, may seem helpful in getting things done, but the cost of fatigue on concentration and productivity can be huge!

7) Illness and medication – Getting sick can take attention and energy away from what you need to do. Side-effects of certain medication can cause drowsiness. And, not taking your ADHD meds can, of course, impact focus!

8) Unruly mind – Hyper-focus, a racing mind and daydreaming can all distract from addressing your priorities.


Step One of getting a handle on distraction is to become aware of your common sources of distraction.

  • What sounds familiar to you in Markel’s list? 
  • Can you think of any other sources of distraction in your life? 

    Step Two: Make a plan to address each of your common distractors.

    Step Three: implement the plan(s)! 

    For more on distraction, see:

    For more help in understanding and addressing your personal distractors, and improving your productivity, consider working with an ADHD Coach.

    Photo credit: Stuart Miles, freedigitalimages.net

    Posted in Blog

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