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Staying focused!

GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So here's the story:

I have horrible concentration. The absolute worst. I've had to deal with it ever since I was a kid, and even now when i'm 22, I still have a strong case of ADD.

Recently my schedule has cleared up tremendously, and i'm having the hardest time filling it up with things to do. Since i'm going to school part time this year for art/animation, I thought i'd really hammer it home and spend a great deal of time drawing.

Problem is, I just can't seem to focus! Currently I take a form of Adderal called Vyvanse, which actually works pretty well without any negative side effects. However, only recently did I discover that it won't fix the distraction problem, it'll just make you more focused on that.

A good chunk of my day is wasted online, enough to feel like it's become a bit of an addiction. Don't worry, I don't spend my entire day on the computer, or play an MMO that syphons 60 hours a week out of my time. It's more along the lines of "Wake up, check email, burn away a few hours doing nothing, then go out and do what I was going to at 2/3 in the afternoon." Whenever I get home at around 8/9/whenever, I just kill the rest of my time away doing this. I've tried going cold turkey on the whole computer thing, but I actually do need it for e-mail and software, as well as the occasional online chat with the family.

I have more of an analytical mindset, so a lot of times it takes me forever to just get started on things, then once I start them I say to myself "gee, why didn't I do this earlier?"

Best example I could give: Imagine you had to paint a picture by Saturday, and it's the Sunday prior. I'd spend Sunday through Thursday preparing everything to be ready, then only start to paint until Friday, feeling like a goof for not starting earlier.

I gotta stop doing things like this or i'll never get anything done, and I only have a year and a half to get my act together before i'm thrown out into the real world.

What are some steps I can take to moderate my time better? How can I just dive into things without getting distracted? Any help would be great!

Godfather on


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2010
    I'm a procrastinator, so I know how it is sometimes, but I dont have a case of ADD.

    One thing that helps me, buy a battery alarm clock, and put it on your desk in your frame of vision. I have one between my two monitors. This does a few things, it keeps the time in my mind despite my hidden start bar, it gives me an easy alarm I can set for any random little thing, and its something thats not part of my computer (its not another program to dick around with.)

    Try to sit down with a time frame in mind for internet checking, keep goals reasonable. If you're working on the computer, dick around for ten minutes, and then go do something else and commit to working upon return. I like to wake up, dick around for 20 minutes, and then use a shower to get me into work mode. My stepdad would change into business casual for his home office, whatever works for you. Make an atmosphere that says "Its work time now" and develop a habit.

    For email, if you are using chrome, get a little notifier that'll just tell you if you have something, so that checking email will be as quick as a glance. You can also get ones for facebook, but I suggest really reducing what will give you a notification.

    Iruka on
  • NylonathetepNylonathetep Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Nylonathetep on
  • LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If you don't have a lot of supplies to carry around try going somewhere else to do your work. I HATE reading, and have a hard time reading my horribly dry accounting textbooks. If I'm at home I'll read a page or two before getting distracted, but if I go to a coffee shop or something then I have nothing else to do but read. I set a reasonable goal and don't let myself leave until I'm done.

    Lail on
    Switch friend code: SW-5887-7359-5380

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Do you get enough sleep and do you eat breakfast?

    You would be amazed at the difference those two things can make (though I accept that ADD is probably always going to be a factor).

    japan on
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Definitely get enough sleep, and I make sure to eat three meals a day.

    Thing is, earlier this year I went on a real fitness/healthy eating binge, and even when I was in the best shape of my life and eating a nutritious diet, I still had this problem.

    It's very hard to deal with at times. There's all these things I want to get done in my day and through my life, but it feels like i'm always stalling just to get the ball rolling. Plus a lot of the times it feels like I over-prepare for things, even when i'm just stepping out to a coffee shop. Just once i'd like to be able to just get up and do something without thinking about it too much. That would be real nice, ya know?

    I'll give the internet moderation thing a try tomorrow. I have to leave in the morning to meet a friend so i'll give it my best.

    Godfather on
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Get over yourself. Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    work with a group and set up a

    'Lets get this assignment done buy Friday and compare answer'

    sort of thing. I find out that motivation to get things done improves 10x if you have other people depending on your to get it done.

    I'm not sure how you can do this for art assignments, though.

    Casually Hardcore on
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Well technically I don't have any real art assignments. One of the classes i'm (re)taking is a life drawing class, so since i've already passed it I have no actual homework. The other one i'm retaking is a Cartooning class, but I just found out early last week that i've already passed the first semester, so the teacher doesn't need to check out my stuff either.

    I've tried meeting up with the people in my group for some life-drawing sessions outside of class, but since they're in their second year they're straight-up booked all the time. I had the same 35-hour-a-week schedule last year, I know how hard it can be.

    Gonna have to make this a solo act! I've already done a pretty good job with making the most of life drawing in the city, but those are during the evenings, so it's my mornings/afternoons i'm trying to hone in on.

    Godfather on
  • TheDragonTheDragon Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Using your example of having to paint something for Saturday:
    On the first day, get supplies and get everything set up. Then (this is crucial) start painting. If you put it off it seems like a whole new task that needs to be started. If it's started already, then it's just resuming an existing task. I find that helps.

    Also, when you're in the middle of a task like painting, and you feel yourself get distracted like you want to check email, imagine that there are two layers to your attention. One is on the task which you've been doing, and another layer is attention towards the distration. Feel your concentration being sapped by the distration layer, then dismiss that layer so the only layer remaining is the one with attention on the task. It helps to have a mental picture of the dismissal, like imagine the layer disintegrating and blowing away like smoke.

    I know that seems pretty trippy, but it really comes down to watching yourself think and controlling yourself. Visualizations like layers and them blowing away like smoke make it easier.

    You also said that the drugs help you focus on a task, but will also have you focus on distrations. I think you'll find if you can catch the distraction and dismiss it when the urge comes, thereby putting your focus back on your task, in a short time you'll be completely focused on that task again.

    TheDragon on
  • FloowidFloowid Registered User
    edited November 2010
    Focus and mental discipline are not the type of things some people inherently have. I can focus but many times I lack discipline - two sides of the same coin I would say. The one thing that has been the most helpful for me is learning to meditate. If you think about it, it is the same thing you have enforced on your body with the exercise and healthy eating. Meditation is excercise for your will.

    Floowid on
    than (thān, thən)
    Used after a comparative adjective or adverb to introduce the second element or clause of an unequal comparison: She is a better athlete than I.

    then (thěn)
    At that time: I was still in school then. Come at noon; I'll be ready then.

    Next in time, space, or order; immediately afterward: watched the late movie and then went to bed.

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    So a little update!

    Recently i've been doing my best to keep my net time to half an hour at maximum, just to get in and get out with email and school information.

    It's really tempting to keep searching, but i'm gonna do my best to suppress it. Now I gotta start making myself busier in order to keep the want at bay.

    Godfather on
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