Sunday, June 12, 2011

Attention Deficits

I think I have attention deficit disorder. But I don't need to take medication for it; I just need to learn to focus better and stay on track during unpleasant tasks. For example, as I was working to clean up the kitchen after we let it slide downhill this weekend, several more pleasant ideas popped in my mind: gotta check x, y, and z on the Internet, need to look to see if I have a coupon to match a certain sale, finish sorting and packing away some of the baby girl hand-me-downs we received (which I was in the middle of before my husband nicely suggested we focus on the kitchen). You name it, my mind wanted to do it and my body wanted to follow suit.

But then, I realized that I really just needed to focus on the task at hand and finish cleaning the kitchen. All the thoughts that kept popping into my mind of more enjoyable activities could wait. See, I don't have any attention deficits when I'm focusing on something I want to do--only when I'm doing something I don't want to do. But if we train ourselves to stay on track, we grow in discipline (and home management).

If you're like me, I read a tip once about having a list nearby during those "attention deficit" tasks. We don't have to leave the chore at hand to do what pops in our mind; we can just write the idea down and do it when we're done with the task (or when we reach some free-time, or scheduled time for that to-do list).

I think my oldest son is like me in this. He can focus intently on a project he's interested in. But when you ask him to sit down to practice reading, or work on math, he wants to pop up to check on something, or do something real quick, or eat name it. His lack of focus has kind of been bugging me lately, and I've wondered what to do about it--how to help him stay more on track. Then I realized today, with my kitchen episode, that I'm the exact same way. So I can't blame him for being drawn to things that are more fun, but I can work with him to learn to focus and finish what we're working on, even when we'd rather be working on other things. We can grow together.

Here are some related posts on this topic:
Have a great day. Let's focus!

1 comment:

  1. Ya know, I think that's still easier than true ADD or ADHD. My oldest son is suspected ADHD (basically because he's simply just "too young" to "reazlly diagnose, but he has all the symptoms". The kid can't even focus on stuff he loves for more than about 30 seconds. First he wants to color, then he wants to paint, then he wants to play trains, then he wants to go outside and slide all within a five minute period. They have us using a timer requiring him to do a certain activity for five minutes before he can do the next one. He can't handle it, so it's meltdowns galore. The kid never stops moving except when he's asleep. If he doesn't play outside for at least an hour every day and totally wear himself out, he doesn't sleep well.

    Anyway not sure what made me go on and on, but have you tried the timer thing with your son? It might work for someone who is not true ADD or ADHD but just has some tendencies sometimes. Especially if you make it a "rule" that he has to do x for y amount of time before he can get up and do something else. And, if he manages to meet his goal, maybe he can have 5 - 10 minutes extra of something he likes? Just a thought, not sure if it will help or not.