Zoned Out & Angry!

You are at work deep into a project, someone comes up to ask you a question and instantly your blood pressure goes out the roof. Couldn’t they tell you were busy working!

It’s Thursday evening and your spouse is watching her favorite show…you need to know where she put the mail so you ask only to be blasted with, “Can’t you see I’m doing something right now!”

Finally it’s Saturday morning. You have been looking forward to the weekend so you could catch up on some housework. Before you get started though you want to take a little time to relax and read some of a new book you just purchased. After some time you look up only to realize four hours has past; the morning is gone and you are filled with regret that you wasted the morning not getting done what you wanted to do.

Do any of these stories sound familiar? While those with ADHD struggle with being focused they also have a tendency to “Hyperfocus” on activities. If the ADHDer isn’t interested or stimulated by an activity he or she isn’t going to hold an interest for a long time; however on the flip side if something stimulates their interest the person becomes totally engrossed.

Hyperfocusing is a coping mechanism for distraction. Interruptions while in the Hyperfocus zone frustrates the person with ADHD, yet so often they and those around them don’t understand the reasoning behind the anger and frustration. Below are a few tips that can help both the person with ADHD and those around them.

Tips for the ADHDer:

  • Schedule your time for projects.
    • Place project time on your electronic calendar (Outlook) so your peers will know you are not available
    • Turn your IM & email off or place in “do not disturb” mode
    • On your office door or cubical place a “do not disturb” sign (Many actually place the sign on the back of their chair)
    • Schedule time to be available to others who need your assistance
    • If your boss, peer or direct reports must interrupt your project time, take a breath & understand that it’ll be okay. You can reschedule another time to get back in the zone


  • Tips for the Non-ADHDer
    • Think before you interrupt; is it really important to talk about right now or can it wait?
    • If it is important then approach the person as if they are someone who is asleep
      • Don’t startle him or her
      • Ask permission to interrupt
      • Slowly break in by saying something like, “I have a question when you get a chance.”
      • Allow the person’s mind to get ready to change gears (transitions are hard for ADHDers)

Helping you embrace ADHD! Take a moment to share your thoughts with me.

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