Staying on Task Mindfully

Having trouble staying on track when you set out to get something done?

Distraction is common for individuals with ADHD, in fact, it’s one of the hallmarks of the diagnosis! But, you can start training your mind to reduce the impact of distractors and, as a result, over time become increasingly efficient at whatever you’re doing.

Here’s an exercise that will help:

1) When you set out to do a task of any sort – maybe it’s doing a homework assignment, reading a chapter in a book, or cleaning off your desk – take a moment to verbalize your intention: “I am doing my math homework now,” “I am reading chapter three now,” “I am cleaning off my desktop now.”

2) Start the task!

3) If you notice yourself getting off-task, no worries. Just ask yourself, “Do I want to be off-task or return to my intention?” Make a choice.

4) If you decide to return to your original intention, state it again: “I am doing my homework.”

5) Start again.

6) Then, repeat steps 3-5 as often as necessary!

It doesn’t matter how many times you get distracted and have to repeat the process. Each time you do it, you are training your brain to come back to a task after it’s distracted.

Just as physical exercise requires repetition to gradually increase strength, this exercise gradually increases your ability to return to the intended task more easily.

With physical exercise, you build muscle. With this exercise, you build new neural pathways in the brain.

You won’t become a world class sprinter or weight lifter in a day. Similarly, training your brain to recover more quickly and easily from distraction takes time.  But, each time you do the workout, you are building the skill.

Photo: stockimages,

Posted in Blog