Do you ever feel so “in the zone” it feels like a superpower? Those moments when you’re so immersed in a project and can’t break away. The ideas flow and flow until…three hours have passed and you are late for a meeting or social commitment. It used to be that being in the zone was a superpower, but as life gets more complicated, you’re starting to wonder if it’s distracting you and making life as a whole simply unmanageable.
You’re not alone.
Many adults with ADHD report this immersive experience. Especially creative leaders, entrepreneurs, and people in tech fields. It’s often not an isolated situation and can be a symptom of a bigger issue. In fact, being in the zone might have started to become the story of your life. You’re either totally on or struggling to manage time, feeling lost, and rushing to catch up on what was forgotten at the end of the day. You ask yourself: Why does this keep happening? You start to wonder if you’re a workaholic. However, the real answer might not be so simple.
The Science of Hyperfocus
ADHD is not about whether you can focus or not. It’s about misallocation of attention span. Sometimes the volume is turned way up, and sometimes it’s asleep when you need it to at least have a pulse.
Hyperfocus is thought to result from low levels of dopamine (an active neurotransmitter within the brain’s frontal lobes). As a reaction, the brain latches onto things that are psychologically rewarding.
The Impact of Hyperfocus
When someone with ADHD has a passion, they get electricity. Literally. Ben Franklin is suspected to have had ADHD. And today there continue to be big names making an impact…who also happen to have ADHD. Names like Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake. Both are very different careers of interest, but wildly successful, likely related to their ability to block out the noise and engross themselves in their interests and talents.
However, the underbelly of hyperfocus is the impact it has on other parts of your life. Your relationships, your family, your laundry, and the deprivation of other interests and hobbies you might enjoy cultivating. Many adults with ADHD who overwork tend to get feedback from loved ones that they are not as engaged as they could be in their life outside of work.
Hyperfocus is a Coping Skill
We tend to do what makes us feel good and avoid what makes us feel bad. It’s fairly common for adults with ADHD to rack up more than enough criticism for a lifetime, stemming from childhood and into adulthood when frustrated spouses watch them lose their keys for the 800th time. Even if they own their own business, adults with ADHD can end up overinvesting in parts of life that feel good. In some cases, this helps them prove to themselves that they earned a seat at the grown-ups’ table (even if they own the table and the restaurant it’s inside).
Three Tips to Managing Hyperfocus
The ADHD brain loses time when it gets engrossed, so finding tools to break the trance (so to speak) can help. You’ve likely heard this one before. However, finding ways to “cue” yourself from the outside world can alert your ADHD brain that it’s time to stop. This can look like alarms, calendars, or literally telling yourself out loud, “ok it’s time to stop for today and I can pick it up again tomorrow.”
Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditation and mindfulness are about learning to be aware. The goal of mindfulness-based meditations for ADHD is to build self-regulation skills, learn to quiet distractions, and attend to the present moment. Mindfulness for ADHD can help to calm a racing mind. Over a period of time, an adult with ADHD can learn to more automatically recognize when they are losing track of time.
Evaluate your Values
What do you stand for? Who are you? Big questions. But the answers might have something to do with your values. Values (like money, respect, or integrity) drive our behavior. However, sometimes our values conflict. For example, passion for work might conflict with love of family or work/life balance. Taking stock of your own core values and then exploring if you are truly living by them can be illuminating and help you make choices day-to-day.
Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, OH
At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer adult ADHD treatment for managing work and life. You can find a path forward towards the balance you crave. An ADHD specialist would love to help you from our Columbus, OH-based therapy practice. To start ADHD treatment, please follow these simple steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute consultation
- Meet with an adult ADHD specialist.
- Manage hyperfocus. Find balance (without losing ADHD superpowers).
Other Services Offered With Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
ADHD treatment in Columbus, OH isn’t the only service offered at our Columbus, OH-based counseling practice. Since ADHD impacts people in different ways, we offer a variety of services. We provide ADHD testing, adult ADHD treatment, counseling for men with ADHD, depression counseling for ADHD, and anxiety treatment for ADHD. Feel free to learn more by scheduling a consultation or visiting our blog!