Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

Get Training, Strategies and Insights

ADHD people may focus best in public places

Waiting for the dentist….

I did my most productive and focused work all week during 45 minutes on my laptop in the dentist’s waiting room.

In fact, in that short time I got much more done than I would have in my home office.

The experience reminded me how important the environment is to those of us with ADD / ADHD traits… and also how differently our focus mechanism works than other people’s.

Most people WITHOUT ADD would find it pretty hard to focus in a busy waiting room.  But for us, the “body double” effect kicks in.

Other people in a room allows our brains to settle down and concentrate.  That’s why we can often do our best work in a Starbucks, on a commuter train, or even on a park bench

It can be risky to place your home office in the basement.  Even if you’re going to be alone in the house, you may get more done when you feel more “connected” to the rest of the house.

NOTE:  As with all stereotypes, this doesn’t apply to everyone.  The body double effect on focus probably works for about 80% of those with ADD.  If, instead, you find that any outside stimulation distracts you, then you may need to find a quieter place to work.  If your work environment is an open space or a cubicle, perhaps you’d need to find an empty conference room to do certain intense thought tasks or planning.

Your best environment for focus can be very task-specific.  A café may be a great place for you to do boring work like expense reports, but too stimulating for you to do report writing or analysis.  You need to experiment.

Difficulty focusing is only one of many different reasons you may have trouble getting started on tasks.

Identify the real reasons you have trouble getting started on different tasks

The “PROCRASTINATION TREE” Info-graphic gives you insight into what your main challenges are.  That’s a critical first step towards finding the right strategies and solutions.


And watch for more productive strategies coming up from Thrive with ADD.

Where do you focus the best (where other people may find weird)?

Please comment and share below.

Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.



    I tried using your Procrastination Tree to deal with a problem I have of getting started on a weekly work-related task that is both necessary and important to being successful on the job. I was able to identify the WHY (the reason) I procrastinate on this task. But, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do next to overcome that reason (i.e., the WHY).

    In my case I am a professional fundraiser who is required to make phone calls every week to people who are in the organization’s donor database and live in my territory. Most of the people on my call list are not major donors of the organization. Many of them make only small annual donations (e.g., $100), and some of them haven’t made a donation in several years. None of the donors I have called on so far, know who I am. My quarterly performance reviews (which will impact my ability to keep my job) are based, in part, on the number of actual phone conversations I have each month with the donors I call, the number of in-person appointments each month that I am able to secure as a result of making calls to my list of donors, and the amount of money I am able to raise each year as a result of meeting with these individuals.

    About only 10% of the phone calls I make are actually answered. Most of the donors (who are overwhelmingly senior citizens) won’t answer the phone when they see a number on caller ID they don’t recognize. And if they don’t have caller ID, they usually let the call go to voicemail to screen the call. Secondly, if they don’t answer the phone and I’m able to leave a voicemail message — it’s rare that they call me back. Thirdly, of the 10% of people I call who actually pick up the receiver and talk to me, only about 25% of them agree to schedule an appointment with me.

    Bottom line: The WHY I procrastinate when it comes to making those cold calls is because I FEAR Rejection and/or Failure. The low success rate I have when I make cold calls, paralyzes me more than it should. I wish I didn’t take it personally, but I guess I do. There are so many variables outside of my control when it comes to getting past donors on my list to agree to meet with me. I’m concerned about the possibility of losing my job — which I can’t afford to do. Any suggestions???

    It sounds like a pretty tough job, and it’s natural that you feel demoralized at such a low rate of success that may be beyond your control. Like any kind of sales or solicitation, it’s a numbers game. The more calls you make, the more you’ll get. If 10% are answered, you’d have to make 100 calls to get 10 answers. At 25% appointment bookings, you would get 2 to 3 appointments from those. So… 100 calls are required to get 2 or 3 appointments.

    If you keep the numbers top of mind and try to become like a robot, getting through your list as fast as you can, it might keep the fear / emotion at bay. Instead of focusing your success on what the person will say, judge your success by how QUICKLY you can make those calls. You might make each batch of 100 calls a target milestone in itself, and try to beat the statistics for each batch. (Of course, when you can actually speak to a person or voicemail, then you do your best to engage them.)

    Many people (myself included!) would find making cold calls a very difficult thing. If it’s necessary for you to remain in that line of work, perhaps you could find a job with a less discouraging success rate. Though I can’t be optimistic about the phone solicitation field in general. Due to increasing numbers of fraudulent calls and “robo-calls,” more and more people are blocking their phones.

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

For the first time in my life I feel understood and hopeful that I can put some tools and systems in place to help me overcome!”

—Michelle near Seattle

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