Some students have difficulty completing boring or demanding tasks. They’re able to hyperfocus on tasks they find interesting, such as an avid reader whose attention never wanders with a book. But distractions are aplenty with tedious tasks. Procrastination also is pervasive among people with ADHD, and, not surprisingly, can sabotage school success.
The key to succeeding in school, whether it’s high school or college, is to determine your unique challenges and find specific solutions. “Everyone with ADHD is different, and finds different things that work for them,” Dietzel said. The best way to figure out what works is to experiment, she said. Here’s a list of strategies to get you started.
1. Have a planner. It doesn’t matter whether you use a paper planner, your cell phone or a calendar on your computer, every student needs to have a “central system” to record “what they’re supposed to be doing when,” Dietzel said.
2. Schedule everything in. Put everything in your planner, including your classes, library and study sessions and even breaks like exercise, relaxation and time with friends. This way you don’t even need to contemplate your next step (and possibly get distracted or interrupted).
For instance, every Tuesday and Thursday, you already know that you’re studying at the library for two hours. Eventually, your library sessions and other regular activities become as automatic as brushing your teeth. Dietzel also compared this to athletes on the field: When your teammate throws you the ball, you don’t need to think about catching it. You do it reflexively.
Dietzel also advises students to schedule in a lot of extra time, because tasks tend to take longer. Look at your track record, she said, and be honest with yourself about the time you spend writing a paper or studying for an exam.