ADD: Combating Zone Out
If you're an adult with ADD, you know that it's impossible to stay focused 100% of the time, unless we're hyperfocusing on something, of course. Then, we can't be dragged away. But what about those times when you're in a company meeting and you're trying to pay close attention to something until that old ADD creeps in and tears your attention away to put it someplace else? You can't help it.
Yet, this can sometimes create problems. How embarrassing is it when you're zoned out and the big boss asks you a question? You're like, "Uh-oh...." Right? So, you give some crazy answer and everyone just kind of stares blankly at you and the meeting moves on. Boy, do you feel stupid! Well, don't. You're far from stupid. You just have ADD. This can happen when someone is explaining an important project or when you're trying to get the basics for solving a complicated problem in math class. You zone out, miss an important detail, and you're lost.
You're frustrated. You don't even know you've missed important information until the blank stares come or when your project is completed, but not the way it was supposed to have been done. Or, you flunk the math quiz. What can you do?
The first thing is to realize that it's not your fault. It's your ADD. Yet, there are some steps you can take to assure that you'll do things right most of the time.
Keeping paper and pencil handy at all times is important when you have attention deficit. You can make notes of important things you need to remember, and the action of doing this could help hold your attention to the topic at hand. Just don't go overboard with the note taking or it could become a distraction in itself. Just write down some clear points that you can use to jog your memory when the meeting or class is over.
You can also ask for clarification. When you're involved in a project, ask for written instructions or write the action steps down yourself. When you've finished, read the steps back to your supervisor to be sure that you have everything down correctly.
Finally, when you're on the spot, always ask the person to repeat the question. If you can't come up with an answer, try using your ADD creativity to put a new light on the issue. This may be more productive than saying, "I don't know," or "I have ADD." Even if what you say seems off the wall, it will pass, and people will forget you even said it.
Those of us that have been diagnosed ADD as children have undoubtedly run into similar situations, and know that there will always be times when we zone out. Try using your ADD creativity to work around things when you're put on the spot. Use your strengths. Eliminating distraction isn't an option, and when you think about the hunter-farmer analogy, you'll realize that you need your distractions or you wouldn't be the person you are.