Allow Yourself an ADD Time Out

Tellman Knudson

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Do you get out of bed in the morning, thinking about some problem that you need to solve? You may think, OK, it's time to just get those reports done. Or, I'm getting that kitchen cleaned before the kids come home from school if it takes all day. Or, that checkbook will be balanced by lunchtime. Then, you begin. What happens? You work for half an hour, and BAM! Something distracts you. Everything you planned to accomplish goes right out the door. How can you stop that from happening?

Well, the truth is that you can't. ADD brains will always be distracted. Sometimes, distractions will come from outside, while others, you'll create yourself. But you have to expect distractions because that's what life is-a series of them. They're around every single person on earth, all the time. Some people can just ignore them better than others. I mean, nothing happens with a distraction you don't notice.

It's impossible to eliminate every distraction. It's just impossible! Even if you have the brain with the most ADD distractibility, you still won't have time to pay attention to every distraction there is. You just can't keep up with all of them.

You need to stop looking at distractions as negative. Actually, when you really research distractions or at least start paying attention to them, you may find that they're a way of saying to your brain, “OK, step back and analyze now. " Here's a way to make them work for you rather than against you.

Allow yourself to have distractions. Yep. Let yourself be distracted, and get them to work for you, rather than against you by setting a time limit for being distracted. This won't work perfectly the first few times, but you'll need to keep doing it.

So, start working on a problem, and realize that in 15 minutes, half an hour, or however long it takes, you will be distracted. We all have different attention spans, but we all know that eventually, we will most certainly be distracted.

When you recognize that you are distracted, then give yourself 15 minutes to pursue the distraction. Set a timer and just think, OK for 15 minutes, I'm going to do this thing that got me distracted. The cool part is that while you were busy with your distraction, your subconscious brain was still working on the problem. When you go back to it at the end of your 15 minutes, you may find that you're able to move further along or even that you have the answer that you were searching for. How cool is that?

This won't happen immediately. You'll need to train your brain to set time limits for distractions and to work on the problem even when you aren't consciously trying to solve it. You don't need to feel guilty about being distracted! Plus, if you make this system work for you, you'll find that your frustration level decreases because actually worrying that you'll be distracted is another distraction. When your fifteen minutes is up, then you can be back on the problem with this whole new awareness.

You can't avoid distractions. Realize that first. When you have ADD , they can pull you in many different directions, too. But when you train your brain to stop for a short period and to actually embrace the distraction, you can make more progress because you're still working on the problem in another way. You may have three or four or five distractions before your problem is solved, but this system will lead you to greater and faster success in no time, if you just keep at it and let it work for you.

Tellman Knudson is CEO of OvercomeEverything, Inc. and a certified hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner who has helped many clients achieve ADD Success . Visit his comprehensive library of ADD information and join the forum at


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