From the moment that a child starts at school, they are almost brainwashed into thinking that there is a “right” way to study or complete a homework assignment. Unfortunately, if you suffer with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), attempting to study using the traditional methods can be very challenging and frustrating.
The first thing that needs to be done is to acknowledge the need to find an alternative study method, as sitting quietly at a desk with a book placed in front of you is not going to work. This alternative study method can be anything that works for you, but here are some ideas that might help:
- Focus the fidgeting – By keeping your hands busy and allowing that part of you to fidget, you’re more likely to keep your mind concentrated on the task at hand. A common favourite is to have a long piece of plastic or wire close to hand, that you can continually wrap around a pen or pencil. Some other ideas are stress balls, Bendeez or Play-doh.
- Switch between subjects – When you feel your mind begin to wander, shift to another subject. This method of study may seem to take a lot longer, but that’s only because you’re doing two or three assignments at once. This is, however, an efficient way to get yourself doing productive work during a lengthy period of time.
- Move around and talk to yourself – I’ve mentioned in previous articles how repeating things, that you’ve just read, out loud to yourself, whilst wandering around the room can help keep your mind trained on the subject at hand. This method has proven to work just as well for students with ADHD, as it allows you to move about whilst you study and not be chained to a desk. This prevents you from getting distracted as often, although you will still need to take regular breaks.
- Plan ahead – Don’t allow yourself time to get distracted. Plan out your day, making sure to include all the things that you need to get done and set yourself a schedule, allowing regular breaks, that aren’t long enough to get distracted by another activity. Make sure you’re realistic with how much time you’ll need for each assignment though, because a list of unfinished tasks will do nothing for your levels of self-motivation.
- Working as the mood strikes – Alternatively, you can work in bursts, that is to say, work until you feel yourself become distracted and then take a break. These shorter sessions of intense studying work well for many ADHD students, although this method is not recommended if you only have a few days left before an exam, as you can’t be sure that you’ll feel like studying as often as you might need to.
The important thing is to keep at it and not to get frustrated with yourself. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, picture yourself completing your assignment or study session and this will give you the motivation you need to complete the task set.