Studies can be really challenging for people with ADD/ADHD. You can’t organize yourself. You can’t sit constantly for a long time. And you just can’t help being distracted. While in school, you had the support of your family and teachers to help you, in college, you are expected to do things on your own. And this can be really daunting. Fighting a constantly wandering mind, full of distractions and irrelevant thoughts, can make your life very difficult.
But it doesn’t mean you just quit!
Yes, college is a demanding time. And if you have ADD and ADHD symptoms, things can be much more intimidating. However, achieving success as a student, even in such conditions, isn’t impossible. Students who are suffering from this psychological condition generally struggle with staying focussed and organized. But fortunately, with the help of a few good tips, they can easily keep themselves at par with other students.
Let’s have a look at these tips.
Stay Organized with the Help of Your Smartphone
The biggest obstacle you face as a student with ADD/ADHD is disorganisation. You just can’t keep track of your things. Students with this condition are very hyper-focused sometimes. And due to this, they often find themselves indulged so deeply in a task that they just forget about everything else. This may sometimes result in them missing some very important things, such as a class or an assignment.
If you also find yourself in such a situation quite frequently, just use your smartphone as an organisational tool. Smartphones today have almost everything that can help you stay as organized as possible. Just put everything important into your calendar right at the beginning of your term. And use the notification feature to remind you of these things. You may also use the recurring alarm feature to remind you of your classes and other regular things.
But make sure you keep your phone on do-not-disturb mode while doing something important. This is essential to keep the distractions at a minimum.
Know Your Distractions
Distractions can be different for different people. One may require complete silence to focus. While for another, it might be a noisy environment that works the best. Therefore, you need to find what distracts you, and what doesn’t.
If you are distracted more by some occasional noises of page-turning, coughing etc., avoid going to a library. Instead, choose a more noisy place, such as a restaurant or a coffee place etc. On the other hand, if you need complete silence for you to focus better, you may go to a private room in a library.
In short, you need to find out what distracts you, and then avoid it as much as possible. You may need to try different settings before you finally decide on what works best for you. But trust me, once you have the right spot, your productivity will be much better.
Divide your Study Time
Sitting constantly for hours, studying continuously isn’t really a thing for people with ADD and ADHD symptoms. It can be really difficult for them. And thus, it’s better to include some short breaks in between to increase your productivity. You can set a timer on your phone for this purpose. However, if you are in the zone and are completely focussed, you may want to sit for a longer time. If so, just keep going. It’s a very good thing.
Also, your breaks too should have a time limit. And thus, you must set an alarm for these too, so that you don’t end up wasting too much of your time.
The research shows that people with ADD/ADHD have a very hard time prioritizing things. And this makes them very unorganized. But this too has a solution. You just need to make a list of everything that needs to be done. And once you have your list, set the tasks in a priority. This will help you organise things in a much better way.
You can also apply this technique to your assignments. If you are working on a large project, write down all the steps beforehand. This way you can divide your work into small manageable chunks. And thus, you won’t be overloaded with it all at once.
Write Down Random Thoughts
Our mind naturally thinks of random things, like watering your plants, sending an email, feeding your pup etc., while doing something important. And this happens way too often when you have ADD/ADHD. Plus, you are tempted to do that thing right away so that you don’t forget about it. But try to control these feelings.
For that, you can write your thoughts down. Your brain generally tries to keep important things in the front so that you don’t forget doing them. While this is usually helpful, it can become a very big problem when you have some other task at hand. And so, writing them can be an efficient way to clear up these distracting thoughts from your mind. These thoughts just need addressing. And once you have written them down, they won’t bother you anymore.
People with ADHD find it very difficult to sit for a long time. To tackle this problem, try finding a place where you can move around as much as you want without feeling self-conscious. Repetitive movements, such as moving in a rocking chair or pacing front and back for some time can help you concentrate better on what you are doing.
If you are attending a class, you may talk to your professor in advance and ask him for permission to stand and move for some time during the class. However, you must not do anything that may distract the class.
Organise things as per their Difficulty
Here too, some experimentation is needed. There are two very opposing strategies in this.
If you have multiple assignments to do, the first strategy says that you pick up the one which is most difficult, first. For most ADD/ADHD students, starting, as compared to ending, is much easier. Usually when you start working your focus becomes blurred after some time. But if you have an easier assignment at the end, you won’t have any difficulty finishing it. Also, it may even increase your productivity if you save the best for the last.
On the other hand, some students prefer starting with easier tasks. This way you may get yourself in the flow much more easily. Doing a difficult task first may even leave you demotivated. And thus, some people prefer doing easy things first in order to keep themselves motivated.
In the end, it’s only you who can decide this for yourself. You need to experiment to find out which path works better for you. And once you have it, stick to it.
College is the time that prepares you for the outside world. But it isn’t as easy for an ADD/ADHD student as for other students. And therefore, medication is always recommended to properly manage this condition. However, these above-given tips can also surely help you make this time much easier for you.