During my childhood, I have had ADHD. My last visit with a psychologist was over a year ago and he said ADHD is gone and now is filled with anxiety. I agree that I might be anxious sometimes. My problem is one thing: There are things, courses I do not like, and do my best to procrastinate them and even if I commit myself to do them, I get distracted surfing the web and social media. I also close them but open them later. In contrast, in those courses in which I'm interested, I have good focus (maybe hyperfocus) and have good efficiency. The problem is that most part of the university doesn't amaze me and hence it is boring and my efficiency is low. I'm currently an honors bachelor's student and I'm doing good. But how could I increase my efficiency in doing tasks that I HATE? As you know, a bachelor's degree is filled with miscellaneous courses


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    Your major courses are the tools that will let you pursue a career or further study in your discipline. The core courses, which you call miscellaneous, are the Swiss Army Knife. They give you tools to understand and deal with whatever life slings at you. That makes them important, whether or not interesting.
    – Bob Brown
    May 19, 2021 at 17:49
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    Following on @BobBrown, you need to find a way to own these things. Whether you like a subject or not, it is building your cognitive muscles in different ways. May 19, 2021 at 18:41
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    @BobBrown I agree. I should also mention that this is my second major and I have passed a lot of courses to find what branch of science I really like. But is there any way to just increase efficiency with studying things you don't like? I mean I have been doing the same during these years and can tell it has too much waste for sure.
    – m0ss
    May 19, 2021 at 18:51
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    You're measuring your efficiency by comparing how fast you learn a subject you do like vs one you don't? What would happen if you convinced yourself you do like the latter but that you simply are not yet aware of its core concepts, framing it as something of a personal challenge then. But it's honest to admit that sometimes a subject simply resonates less with one at the beginning. May 19, 2021 at 19:12
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    "As you know, a bachelor's degree is filled with miscellaneous courses" Only in America. In most of the rest of the world, a Bachelor's degree focuses in on courses related to the actual degree - if you're doing an IT degree, you'll only be taking IT courses.
    – nick012000
    May 20, 2021 at 4:33

4 Answers 4


Here is what got me through Undergrad:

  • Sit in the front row, even if you stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Write down everything the professor says by hand. Don't type it out, just write.
  • Focus on one subject at a time. If writing a paper, just write that paper for a couple of days.
  • Turn off your phone. If you don't need a laptop for the class, don't bring it.
  • A spiral notebook helps you focus more than a binder. Loose pages are the enemy.
  • Avoid scheduling classes in the evening or around times where you would rather be doing something else.
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    This is good advice for anyone, not just those with ADHD.
    – Buffy
    May 20, 2021 at 10:58

Just as a preface: ADHD is a spectrum, you might not have it anymore or maybe it just diminished enough to not meet the threshold. Don't feel like you have to be perfectly focused at all times.

Here are a few tips that help me deal with my symptoms:

  • Use detailed todo lists: Split tasks in VERY small chunks, probably smaller than you think. I find that starting tasks is the hardest part so making each task easily doable helps to get going. Depending on how you feel on a specific day, it might be as small as "Read paragraph X". Plus, crossing off items gives a nice little dopamine boost which helps keep going.

  • Use the pomodoro technique: Set a timer for 25 minutes and start working immediately. After that 25m, take a 5m break. You can keep a piece of paper nearby and note down unrelated things that come to mind during the working period and check them during the break. Just be careful to get back to work after the 5m, it's easy to get distracted.

Lastly, don't be too hard on yourself when things don't go great. It's easy to chastise yourself with things like "if only I worked harder...", "if only I was more motivated..." and fall into a vicious circle. Keep in mind that ADHD is a neurological disorder, not a personal failing on your part. When things dont go great, take a moment to calm down and start again. It's hard and you'll need to put in a lot of effort, but you can learn to live with it and succeed.

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    I know nothing about ADHD, but these are also pretty good suggestions for lots of people. And the last paragraph is especially valuable.
    – Buffy
    Mar 25, 2022 at 14:13
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    @Buffy Absolutely, pretty much everyone will have some issues with focus or motivation at some point in their lives, ADHD just makes those issues so prevalent and systematic that they affect your life in major ways. In a sense, it's very similar to feeling sad versus clinical depression. Methods that "solve" occasional focus issues will help cope with the symptoms of ADHD, but they won't change the underlying neurological causes.
    – JS Lavertu
    Mar 25, 2022 at 14:22
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    My daughter thinks it helps her to put a place in her to-do list (e.g. "Do dishes in kitchen"). Mar 25, 2022 at 14:40
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    @JosephDoggie I could definitively see that working. I find that reducing cognitive load as much as possible helps to get started.
    – JS Lavertu
    Mar 26, 2022 at 13:19

My ADHD trick for social media is to use my ADHD to restrain my access to it.

First of all I deleted all Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn/etc applications from my phone. This worked decently until I started using web browser to access them. For that, I changed my password to one that is very long, has special characters and there is some uncertainty in them ("Was the last word upper or lower case?"). Of course I logged off and prevented my browser from remembering passwords for those services. With this setup it became incredibly tedious to log in (ADHD does its job here). Of course, if I needed to access a class facebook group, I could do it (but ideally from an incognito card, so I am logged out on close). However, when I picked my phone during classes and subconsciously went to facebook.com, I faced the wall of having to guess that password again. This effectively killed the habit.

Things got a bit problematic when I joined a sports club which utilized facebook a lot for announcements. Without a constant access I was cut out of the context most of the time. What worked really well was to simply set up a second account "Firstname LastnameSports", add no friends, and link my main account in the profile picture. Unfortunately, this way I have access to the default facebook wall, but thankfully with no follows and friends the content is so dumb and boring that I don't have any urge to use it.

Regarding the general problem of sitting in a class and paying attention, medication really helps. Just note that there are different substances and it is advised to figure out which one works the best. A caveat to that is that, at least for me, they work much worse, if not sometimes negatively, while I am hungry. They also lower appetite making things more tricky. A good thing is to remember to stay well fed, and to always have some water around you.


Have you considered seeing a psychiatrist to see if you need prescription meds? I don't (for mental health) but I could see them helping some people.

Apart from that, I personally motivated myself by saying "I (or my parents) paid a lot for me to take this course, so I want to pass it!". Such a self-statement may help others, and make things worse for some people, so do what is applicable for you.

To me, music actually helps me study, but his also will vary from person-to-person.

Some people study better in a group, for me, (except for watching training videos) I do better strictly alone.

So do what works for you.

My daughters are not taking a full load at college, but only a partial load. Again, you would have to decide what works for you, and what is best for your situation.

Best wishes to you (and all who read this).

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