Hyperfocus: the OxyMoron of ADHD

How My Brain Works

I remember the more I learned about my ADHD the more it felt like someone was slowing turning on the lights in a dark room. Everything started to make sense, and I began to feel less “lazy” and started to form my love/hate relationship with this thing called ADHD.

One such concept that blew my mind was when I started to read about “hyperfocus.” So often we assume that people who have ADHD CAN’T focus and complete tasks, so how in the world can we HYPERfocus?

For those who have never heard this concept before, hyperfocus is when we immerse ourselves into an activity that is enjoyable and pleasurable so intently that we might find other things are not getting done that need to.

Let me give you my real life example!  Back in the day I had a crochet business.  Nothing got me more excited than finding a new crochet pattern to try out.  It was a new creative challenge for me, and the minute I had it in my hands I was pulling out yarn and starting to hook.

The thing is that I found myself so immersed in these moments that I would take the yarn outside with me as I pushed my kids on the swings.  I would try to make lunch while my hands were busily trying to create the newest crocheted piece.  Whatever I did, the yarn came with me

At one point my husband (Lord, bless him) came home and looked around at all the unfinished household chores.  I had laundry unfinished ALL the time.  I mean, I STILL do, but I have four kids now and a full time job!  At this time I was a full-time mom to two kiddos without another job.

My “snap out of it” moment was when he said “Bets, before you crochet anything can you first get the laundry done?”

I was allowing myself to become so immersed in my creative outlet that the daily tasks I didn’t enjoy were being ignored and undone.

On a side note–those of you who have family who have ADHD, the BEST thing Paul did in his approach was to not ignore that crochet was important to me.  He knew I needed a creative outlet, but he also wanted to keep me accountable. 

Now that I know where I hyperfocus I can spot it a mile away.  Social media, creating graphics, immersing myself in editing a video.  While all of these are GOOD things, it is a constant battle for me to tell myself to shut them down and get other things done.  My brain HATES doing activities that aren’t stimulating (more on this later).

Hyperfocus is awesome when I need to get things done for work.  I LOVE what I do and the creative outlet it gives me.  It isn’t awesome when it comes to managing my home, finishing that pesky laundry, and getting out the door on time.

Hyperfocus is a daily struggle for me.  It helps when I have a friend or my husband home with me, because I am less likely to find myself lost in focus.  I need to keep working at finding ways to prompt myself to but down the phone or the computer.  Timers work great, but it’s easy to ignore them when I don’t want to stop what I am doing.

Squirrel moment: Full transparency–writing this post is hyperfocus for me

For those who have found coping skills to manage hyperfocus please share!  I am always searching for ways to manage my ADHD.  My newest purchase is this lovely clock, and it should be here by Saturday.  I’ll keep you all updated on my thoughts, and if I find it helpful!

In the meantime, I need to get some housework done.  Someone tell me how to make it stimulating for this brain! 😝


For more resources on hyperfocus check out this article.  I subscribe to their emails and it has been a fantastic source of information.