Adult ADHD: The Magic Egg Timer Trick

Apr 27 16:50 2006 Tellman Knudson Print This Article

If you have Adult ADHD you probably know how hard it is to focus on getting something done you've been putting off--especially if it's BORING. Here are two cool tricks for people with Adult ADHD--one using a common egg timer...

For people with Adult ADHD,Guest Posting focusing long enough to get even a small task done--if it is boring--can seem almost impossible! Here’s what I do when I have to focus on something that I really don't like to do, especially sitting at my desk.

Adult ADHD makes it hard to try to sit still and do something--but now and then you just have to. Here's a couple tricks I've learned to get boring tasks done.

First, when I come in and get started, I've trained myself to immediately have a certain pattern of activity that happens. My brain automatically associates that pattern of activity with, "Now we're going to sit down and do something."
It’s simply a habit. If you have Adult ADHD try this sometime you have to do paperwork or organize something:

What I do is I come in and I have two candles that I light. I have a certain kind of music that I listen to, classical music. I turn that on. I turn on a little water fountain. It is important for people with Adult ADHD to make sure to engage all the senses, it really helps because it keeps the Adult ADHD brain active and able to focus.

Whenever I do that sequence, I can sit down for a short period, not forever, but for a short period, and actually get something done that I don't like to do.

I can organize a pile, or try to prioritize something, or something that might be hard as well. Another advantage to getting all those senses involved is the brain is at least doing something else and not focusing on being bored.

There’s nothing worse for the Adult ADHD brain than focusing on how bored you are.

There is second method that I use, and that is to set a self-imposed deadline.

Often people with Adult ADHD say they work best "under pressure" when they have a deadline--and some people with Adult ADHD even say they can't get anything done at all if they don't have a deadline. What happens to Adult ADHD people in that case is, they perform well at work (where deadlines are imposed) but things fall apart at home.

So here's the other trick I've learned, using an egg timer. See if you can do this. Make it like a game. "Hey, let’s see if I can get through this pile in 15 minutes. I'll set a timer" This is one of the best tricks for us people with Adult ADHD.

I have two egg timers around my house and I use them all the time. I test myself. "Let’s see if I can file this pile of paper in 10 minutes." I set the timer and go. Now, we've just invoked the real kicker: to focus. It works like a charm.

So, you're kicking it into high gear, working on mega-speed, and most of the time it works, but what don't finish it in 10 minutes? Then what?

Well, then I look at that and say, "Do I want to go for another 10, or do I want to do this later?" That’s what I do.
Either way, I got a whole bunch done in 10 minutes that wouldn't have been done otherwise.

That brings me to one more thing people with Adult ADHD will benefit from doing. We're so forward thinking that we're always onto the next thing, and the next thing. Those with Adult ADHD tend not to look at what they do accomplish and feel good about it.

If you take a moment to say, "Look what I just did in 10 minutes," and actually reflect on, "Hey, I got something done," versus going through to the next thing immediately, you'll feel a lot more motivation on a continuing basis.

If you'd like to get more great tips for how to focus with Adult ADHD, using common things you find in your everyday environment, see below!

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Tellman Knudson
Tellman Knudson

Tellman Knudson can help you learn to focus, beat distraction and accomplish your goals. Go to to pick up your free newsletter of ADHD practical tips and techniques, and make your life better today!

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