Blog Post | The Sneaky Ways We Give Attention Away


The Sneaky Ways We Give Attention Away


Have you ever been in the zone, in the middle of your flow, working deeply on something and someone interrupts you? And IT IS THE [EXPLETIVE] WORST?! Have you ever wondered why the RAGE for something so “small?” 

To those of us with ADHD, it’s NOT small. It takes us time and *concentrated effort* to get into the flow/into deep work/achieve level 10 focus. And every time we get interrupted, we must start over at 0 focus again. This means we tend to guard our focus with mama bear intensity because it’s a BIG DEAL to get into the zone in the first place.

But sometimes, our focus is drawn away in a sneaky, enticing way that we’re much less aware of…

Recently, I had a college student client who had attempted to schedule a doctor’s appointment the previous week. Scheduling meant logging into his online chart...then searching the site for a way to book an appointment…then figuring out which clinic to go to.... then consulting Google to figure out which clinic was closest to home…then consulting his calendar to see when he was available, then…




It was his friends chatting on Discord about planning their next game night. The noise grabbed his attention, and he started responding back to the group, and now…scheduling the appointment had been erased from his brain. 

This is a common scenario for folks with ADHD. Our amazing brains can notice things that the average person can’t! But it also means our concentration can be easily broken by noises, notifications, or anything that pops up on our screens. 

My client decided to experiment with turning off Discord notifications for the next week. He was amazed by how much easier it was to get things done now that he wasn’t hearing the DINGs of splintered attention every 30 seconds. He even took it further to remove notifications from some apps on his phone. 

My client was NOT about to forget about his friends or fun things like planning game night. But now checking Discord was on HIS time, versus an app deciding to steal his focus. 

Apps, people, electronics, and media will TAKE as much attention from us as we GIVE them. And for ADHD folks, our attention is so precious. Guard your attention with mama bear ferocity even for the “small” interruptions.


Riley Karbon, PCAC
ADHD Coach | Center For Living Well with ADHD, LLC

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