ADHD and 5 Ways to Stay Focused and Productive at Work

ADHD makes it hard to stay focused and productive at work. Check out these 5 ways to improve concentration and stay focused on HealthyPlace.

ADHD and how to focus? It’s a problem many ADHD adults have. If you live with ADHD and have difficulty focusing at work, it’s not because you are incompetent or unqualified. It just might be a matter of building skills for how to be more productive with ADHD. There are a number of techniques you can develop to be successful at work.

ADHD and How to Focus on the Job without Medication

ADHD is a brain-based disorder that involves neurochemistry, especially unbalanced levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Medication for ADHD can regulate these neurotransmitters and works very well for some people. If medication isn’t for you, you can still be productive at work. It’s a matter of learning how to focus with ADHD without medication.

Specific techniques help you manage your ADHD symptoms and beyond. Take control of your productivity with ADHD focus exercises.

5 Ways to Stay Focused and Productive at Work with ADHD.

You have ADHD and need ways to stay focused. It isn’t a matter of chance. Focus and concentration at work (or school or anywhere else, for that matter) are skills. Skills are learned and can be developed and honed. You can learn concentration techniques for ADHD.

Here are five ways to decrease ADHD impulsivity in order to increase productivity:

  1. Minimize distractions before they start. A huge component of doing that is to find the right setting. The “right setting” is personal. ADHD is a very individualized disorder, and people focus in different ways and settings. If you have the flexibility, work in places like a coffee shop or a library. If not, make adjustments in your work setting. Make your space you-friendly. Create the right kind of stimulation by adding colors, a white noise machine, fidget objects, and anything else that helps you pay attention to the tasks at hand.
  2. Break down tasks into small components or steps. Having one giant task in front of you can be overwhelming. It can shut you down and cause you to procrastinate (ADHD and Procrastination: How to Get Stuff Done). Avoid this by chunking. Attach deadlines to each small component to keep yourself on task. Both the project itself and your thoughts and feelings about the project will become less overwhelming and easier to deal with.
  3. Create an organizational system that works for you. Using schedules helps you meet deadlines. How you create those schedules makes time-management easier for people with ADHD. Some people with ADHD find success with adult ADHD apps, programs like Evernote, or other electronic-based calendar systems. Others find such scheduling systems to be a nightmare because of alluring distractions. Large wall calendars, desk calendars, and planners can keep you productive. Whiteboards, too, help you brainstorm and plan. Devise a color-coded system for your calendars, planners, and whiteboard. Finally, ask for requests and instructions in writing so your to-do list is clear and easy to remember.
  4. Remove digital distractions as much as possible. The digital world can be the bane of the existence of someone living with ADHD. Alluring temptations are at your fingertips. Mobile phones, tablets, and computers are a distraction for almost everyone who has access to them. For the ADHD brain, these are far worse. Because they offer instant gratification and fun, they impact the brain’s dopamine system. The dopamine rush experienced is problematic given that low levels of dopamine are implicated in ADHD. The brain wants more, so these devices become a habit, possibly an addiction. To be focused and productive at work, control your access to them as much as is practical for your job. Put your phone out of reach. Develop a routine for when you access social media. Minimizing digital distractions make focusing easier.
  5. Work with your brain by rewarding yourself throughout the day. Reinforcing the completion of tasks with a small reward is a useful productivity technique for ADHD. Take breaks. Do something you like to do, such as taking a walk or just moving. This would be a good time to use your phone or otherwise go online. Whatever you do, set a timer, and return to work the moment it sounds.

These five tips are proven and practical for ADHD and are great ways to improve concentration at work. One overarching principle solidifies it all: Know your purpose. Why do you do what you do? What is your greater goal? Think of your roles in life beyond the mundane tasks. Apply the five ways to stay focused at work to your purpose, and you will create success with ADHD.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2021, December 20). ADHD and 5 Ways to Stay Focused and Productive at Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: January 2, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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