Sponsored Post by Tiimo
Ever been reading a book and found yourself having to start the same page over and over again because the information just isn’t going in?
Ever spent a whole day studying something, just to realise you can’t quite remember exactly what you studied?
Ever promised yourself that you were going to have a productive day, to find yourself sitting staring at the screen and doing anything you possibly could to avoid the work you’re actually supposed to be doing?
Since you’re here with us in the community, we’re guessing that the answer is probably: YES. And us too, we feel you!
As a busy brain, looking at information and actually absorbing that information are two very different things - and we often have to add a little bit of stimulation to our studying, reading or learning in order to make it work for us.
ADHD brains work a little differently from most people’s. Our brains don’t give us a regular dopamine hit in the same way that most brains do - so if we’re not doing something that excites our interest-led brains, it is tricky for us to stay motivated.
When I started thinking about my ADHD like this - simply an equation of dopamine that needed balancing - it became much easier to work out which hacks, tips and tricks would work. It’s simply a case of finding little dopamine top-ups that you can add to a task to make it more appealing.
Here are some of our favourites:
Switch it up
Trying to sit still and do the same thing for hours on end is a failure waiting to happen - it just doesn’t work for our brains! We work best in sprints and not marathons, so taking regular breaks to do something a little different can be one of the best ways to help your sprints stay productive. One of our favourite ways to do this is using a Pomodoro routine, like the ready-made one in our favourite app Tiimo, to work in 25-minute sprints, followed by 5-minute breaks. You can use these 5-minute bursts however you fancy; it might be grabbing a snack, it might be having a quick scroll, it might be stretching your legs. The key is to break up what you’re doing, and then you can really focus on the 25-minute sprints of work.
Choose a tune
One of our favourite ways to add a little extra stimulation while studying or working is by adding some background music! It usually works best if you go for something without words - because, as we know, our brains don’t need an excuse to get distracted! Binaural beats, brown noise & pink noise all work really well for us, and we’ve also heard great things about classical music if that’s more up your street! The background noise gently stimulates your brain, which gives you an extra dopamine hit, and therefore allows you to stay focused!
Visit somewhere new
Visiting a new cafe or co-working space can be a really good way to add novelty to studying. Instead of being sat in your house, where there are plenty of distractions and ways to procrastinate, you’re in a new environment where none of that stuff exists, and your brain is kept stimulated by the new sights, sounds and smells. It can also help in terms of body-doubling - if the people around you are cracking on with their work, you’re more likely to, too!
Find your style
All of us work and learn in different ways - some of us are visual learners, some of us auditory learners, some of us like written text and some of us learn from doing. Finding the way that works best for you, and working with your brain rather than against it, is the key to getting the most out of your learning. If you're trying to read a book and it isn’t going in, try the audiobook. Try having a chat about the subject with your study buddy to cement it in, or make a big spider diagram of all your notes to see if having a visual plan helps. It might take a while to find out what’s best for you, but it’s definitely worth the time experimenting.
Overall, adding a bit of fun to the task rather than sitting in the same place all day without a break will, obviously, make it more appealing to your brain! We’d love to hear about some of your other favourite tips in the comments below, too.
This week’s blog is in partnership with our lovely friends at Tiimo - we mentioned them earlier as one of our favourite ways to stick to a studying routine. If you give the app a go, you can use your exclusive code UNMASKED for 2 months free!