Happy Single Tasking Day from an ADHD-er

Found out that today (February 19th) is Single Tasking Day…and this was my first thought:

ADHD Single Tasking

Let’s be honest, most people with ADHD function better (or at least feel more comfortable) when their mind is racing in a million directions.  It’s just the way our minds work.

Multitasking gets a bad rap.  We’ve all read the articles that claim multitasking has been scientifically proven to hinder productivity.  And while that may very well be true for most people, let’s keep in mind that the ADHD brain functions quite differently.  The ADHD brain works better in situations that are often disregarded or frowned upon for the common brain.

There are mixed opinions about multitasking and ADHD.  Some say our jumping from task to task (multitasking) is a flaw.  However, some say our brains work better when doing two things at once.  Take, for instance, this quote from an ADDitude mag article:

“…an activity that uses a sense other than that required for the primary task — listening to music while reading a social studies textbook — can enhance performance in children with ADHD. Doing two things at once, she found, focuses the brain on the primary task.”

I imagine, like all things, it’s a matter of figuring out what works best for you.  For me, it depends on the activity and the environment, but I have definitely found that listening to music and/or fidgeting (or pedaling my DeskCycle) , while trying to concentrate on something else, usually helps me focus better.

The general consensus from my fellow ADHD / ADD people is that multitasking works for them, too.  So, you know, if it works for you, who cares what society says?  You have to be true to your ADHD brain, my friends.  It’s an awesome tool…you just have to understand what makes it run.

(I’m still trying to understand my own ADHD brain.  Just trying to encourage the rest of you guys.)

I’ll leave you with this little bit of humor:

I don't have ADHD, I am just very good at multitasking.

…or is it both?  It is for me.

13 comments

  1. “For me, it depends on the activity and the environment, but I have definitely found that listening to music and/or fidgeting (or pedaling my DeskCycle) , while trying to concentrate on something else, usually helps me focus better.”

    I’m EXACTLY the same way! I used to study with music, now I program with music and bounce my legs too 😀

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    1. Good to know we’re not alone, right?

      I definitely think music helps cancel out all the distracting extraneous noises and fulfills the ADHD brain’s need to be doing more than one thing at a time.

      The bouncing, pedaling and fidgeting does all that AND helps relieve the restlessness of our hyperactive bodies…which, I think helps with the anxiety.

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      1. Right???? I used to try to study at the library and I would just fall asleep or get up and start looking at random books (the old school equivalent to googling). And I use a white noise machine at night because the fan aggravates my eyes, but same concept. 🙂

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      2. It is amazing how the ADD traits are so common with us ADDers. For 40 years I just thought I had a bunch of weird ways of thinking, then I read my first ADD book “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!” and I had to get a highlighter to mark all the things that applied to me 😀

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  2. Great post! As a 41 year old man that has ADD, I am constantly battling sticking to one thing. I find I may be working on one part of my project and then BAM look at that thing lets work on that now. Music for me is a savior, I use iTunes cloud so I have familiar music. Having familiar music keeps me from looking at the screen to see what the song is or artist. I used to use my SiriusXM online listening but found I was checking the song far too often. Multitasking can be wonderful but as a computer programmer I truly need to be able to stick with one thing at a time. It is a constant struggle.

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    1. Oh man! I SO know what you mean about working on one part of a project and then BAM! I do social media for the company I work for and social media is kind of multitasky in nature. …but there are times when I am like, “Seriously…can’t you just focus on this one project for just a little bit?!?!?”

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      1. Oh yeah, also…I totally agree about the music needing to be familiar at certain times. And sometimes I need it to be all peppy like Irish rock music and sometimes I need it to be Pirates of the Caribbean or classical…and sometimes I just need some regular stuff. Depends on what I’m working on.

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