Internet Distractions and ADHD

by | Apr 1, 2021 | ADHD Productivity | 0 comments

internet distractions and ADHD

Here’s a challenge for you. Open the computer you use for work, and scroll through your internet search histories. What do you see? 

It may surprise you. And you might not even remember how you got to some of those searches.

But it’s proof that ADHD adults waste lots of time searching the internet. 

Now, look through your phone’s search history. How much time are you wasting on your phone when you intend to be working? 

Shocked? It’s a fact. ADHD adults waste a lot of time on their phones. 

Here’s what I discovered when I did the Internet Search History Challenge. Yesterday, when I had intended to prepare for a client’s call, I instead was wasting time on the internet watching a video of a surfing goat.  (I so adore goats. They are smart and funny and naughty. Do you suppose goats invented ADHD?) 

Yup, ADHD had pulled me off track again.

I will say that I’m pretty proud of myself though. The Internet Search History Challenge showed that most of my random internet searches happen outside of my work hours. (Confession – I also realized how much I cheat on crossword puzzles!)

This is because, as an ADHD Life and Productivity Coach, I’ve honed my productivity skills. Yay me! I think it’s important for ADHD coaches to walk their talk. You don’t want to work with a coach who can’t do what you’re hiring them to teach you. 

Wasting Time On The Internet is a Common ADHD Problem

Most ADHD adults I work with struggle to avoid internet distractions during work. They know they’re wasting time on the internet and don’t know what to do about it. It’s  a tricky challenge because the internet and our phones are important work tools. Most of us can’t work without them.

And it causes lots of stress and headaches. Especially in these days of working from home. 

Here are some real life experiences my clients have come to coaching with just this week:

There’s D who has taken a couple of days off to catch up on her medical charting. However, she’s frustrated and discouraged because she’s squandered the days doing random research. 

There’s C who is now exhausted and burned out from working 11 hour days alone at home. His random internet searches between meetings keeps him from getting his work done. So he’s pulling extra, unpaid hours. 

There’s J who feels guilty because he’s not doing the amount of work he’s paid to do. He’s frequently pulled into checking Twitter and Reddit during the day. His “one quick look” turns into large chunks of time.

These are all intelligent, well-meaning ADHD adults who struggle with internet distractions. This has nothing to do with how smart and capable they are! And has everything to do with how ADHD brains love to be distracted away from work and things we have to do.

So, how do you break that magnetic pull of wasting time on the internet when you have ADHD? This is an important muscle to build when you’re working from home with ADHD.

How To Stop Wasting Time on the Internet

You have to build your awareness muscle. We work on this alot in the  ADHD Success Club with tools and tricks I teach. That awareness muscle is important for understanding internet distractions and ADHD

Here’s the reality of living with ADHD: we are going to get distracted and pulled off track by the world wide web (remember, webs are meant to be sticky!). Our goal isn’t to totally stop the random searches. Our goal is to get stronger at noticing when the internet has grabbed our attention and get back to what we intended to do. 

The shift is to start living in a world of intention and awareness. This is what I have learned to do and why I quickly stopped researching surfing goats during my work hours as soon as I noticed what I was doing. 

Set up a scaffolding of support so you’re aware of when you’ve gone off track on an internet search and learn how to pull back to focus on what you intended to do. 

Life will become easier working from home with ADHD when you aren’t at the whim of your distracting internet searches. 

Comment below and let me know the results of your own Internet Search History Challenge – do you spend waaaay too much time on the internet?

Want other tips on how to avoid ADHD distractions? Check out:


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