In a previous article, I discussed how people with ADD or ADHD actually do not always have a ‘deficit’ of attention, but rather a difference.
One big difference in the attentional abilities of people with ADD or ADHD is the ability to hyperfocus.
What is hyperfocus?
My definition of hyperfocus is: the ability to completely and utterly focus on one topic or issue, often to the exclusion of others, with precise and productive concentration, until the end result is achieved.
“WaitÃ¢â‚¬Â¦” you may say. “That sounds really productive. That sounds like tremendous concentration!”
Yes, people with ADD or ADHD can actually hyperfocus and create tremendous focus, achievements and results.
They need to develop the skill of hyperfocus.
Hyperfocus can actually come out if there is a natural crisis. This could be someone is in danger and you need to pay attention to save them. This could be that the boss needs a report done last minute and you are the only one who can help to save the team.
In a school setting, often times procrastination leads to a ‘crisis’, which then lends itself to the increased stimulation needed to get the job done, and this paves the way for hyperfocus to come out and help out.
How can you use hyperfocus regularly to improve your functioning?
- Set little deadlines, and focus on achieving them.
- Use a timer to keep you going for a set period of time.
- Make yourself accountable to others – so that getting something done as you’ve said you would becomes a matter of pride or honor.
- Keep a journal to keep track or multiple goals your are aiming for – so that if and when you do start hyperfocusing, you won’t let other priorities become major crises.
The important point here is that when people have ADD or ADHD, there is actually more of a difference than a deficit in attention and one needs to learn to harness this difference to improve functioning.