Not being able to listen to your brain

I have an executive functioning tutor for school now, and an advisor that is helping me get back on track. It’s been helping me stay accountable and better control my actions, as I have people that are expecting me to do it now haha.

Hi. This is my first post.
I got diagnosed about one year ago, but only the past 3 months have a realized that it’s a real condition (as weird as that sounds) that there is help for.

Does anyone else have a problem with your brain telling you when to stop getting distracted but…you can’t listen? For example, I will be organizing my room and get hyper focused on one particular thing I found while cleaning, and then stop and think “you need to get back on track with cleaning the whole room.” But then I still keep hyper focusing on that one thing even though my brain is telling me not to. It makes me feel like I can’t control myself. Even when I’m on my medication I do have a better time at concentrating, however, it easily can be the “wrong” thing that I’m focusing on. I feel like this is an impossible question to answer, but I just thought I’d share and see if others have the same problem!


Yes, this difficulty in stopping a task is very common. Even knowing that the task you should be doing is more important may not help. Since this is due to a difficulty in self-regulation, external reminders may help. For example, a pomodoro timer can remind you to take a break. During the break time, if you are already away from your task, it is easier to switch. Or before you start you can decide on a clear goal (such as organize only one shelf or whatever) as that gives you a clear stopping point. Or both! Another thing that helps me is to not sit down. If I can work while standing or moving, it is a lot less work to switch. Even when I work at a standing desk, I move around a bit (music with a good beat helps!). Since you are already aware of the issue, may be you can experiment and figure out what works best for you!

Welcome to the community!


Have the same problem and cant figure out how to fix it.


well… look at this video @mary if you hav not watched that alrady.

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@khagen had a great idea about external reminders and not sitting.

Sometimes it may require you to sit, I spend lots of time I front of the computer for school meetings and that sort, and then typing up lessons when I’m not in school. I have a list in my planner for what to do and I highlight blocks for how long I have to do it. I also have to remind myself I dont have to finish the work I’m doing all in one sitting either. I set goals for 30 minutes to do as much work as I can on a task and then move on to the next. I leave notes for what I need to finish so I dont forget when I do it later. This way my brain can keep moving. This doesnt work every day and its mind blowing to me how hours can disappear off the clock before I realize I’ve gotten so involved in one thing I dont finish others…this is time and time again. But I try to use my structure where I can.

I feel like I have this issue with sleeping! I had to get a special app to help wake me up in stages otherwise it’s like I hyperfocus in my sleep too hahaha! Do they have this for when we arent sleeping?

I do set times sometimes too! 1 for five minutes before the hour and one for on the hour, that way if I’m focused it kinda helps me break focus just before i need to finish it!!!


Not sure if this video can be seen outside the US but you’re not alone :rofl:



I actually live in Hawaii so I do catch the same videos! That made me laugh as tv is my biggest trap. Especially channels with closed captioning! Lmao


Left to my own devices, this has been a huge issue for me[quote=“mary, post:1, topic:8920”]
But then I still keep hyper focusing on that one thing even though my brain is telling me not to.

I guess I’ve been fortunate to have my own pomodoro timer, i.e. my wife…”Rod, shouldn’t you be doing x?” said ad infinitum has made me find small improvements.
Now I just bullet journal a few essentials with no set time schedule attached to them, and on my good days I get them done and go looking for more, and on my bad days I migrate them to the next day.


This sounds like an issue related to executive functioning. Executive function is essentially your brains ability to plan, initiate, and sustain it’s concentration on executing tasks.

Which is something that we brains pretty much suck at for the most part XD

Understanding what we theorize the science of it to be may help.

Basically your brain is full of cool little dudes called neurons, and neurons are responsible for transporting signals and “messages” around the brain. I think of them like little tiny people in a chain passing a letter down the line from one to the next.

Except they can’t quite reach each other. When they reach out to each other, they’re still not able to touch each other’s hands to put that letter directly from one hand to the next. 🧍 :incoming_envelope: …🧍 🧍 🧍 🧍

Neurotransmitters are responsible for filling the gaps. A neurotypical person has an adequate amount of each neurotransmitter, which acts as like a gust of wind that helps blow the letter across the gap from one neuron’s hand to the next, or like a puddle it can be floated across, or some other comparison else of that nature.
🧍 :leaves: :incoming_envelope: :leaves: 🧍 :leaves: :incoming_envelope: :leaves: 🧍 :leaves: :incoming_envelope: :leaves: 🧍

In an ADHD brain three specific neurotransmitters are theorized to be lacking: seratonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These helps us to initiate our thoughts as actions in normal/happy times. (Distress transmitters such as adrenaline activate during times of stress, danger, frustration, etc, although lower levels are still present regularly.)

So essentially the way ADHD effects executive functioning is by the part of the brain that thinks “we should do XYZ,” trying to transmit a signal, but that signal not effectively reaching the part of the brain that actually initializes that action.

It’s just a giant game of telephone where brain A screams “Come on and do it already!!!” And brain B yells back “What? I didn’t catch that?” All because the neurons aren’t passing enough letters along for the message to resonate clearly due to the gaps between them not being properly bridged.
:a: 🧍 :leaves: :incoming_envelope: 🧍 :incoming_envelope:… 🧍… :b:

The result is us screaming at ourselves internally to change what we’re doing, but not being able to. This gets us labelled as lazy, unmotivated, scatter brained, and a whole slew of other things. The reality of it is that our brain isn’t communicating with itself properly.

Medication, exercise, and a balanced diet all can help to increase the levels of neurotransmitters necessary to get those messages to transmit more properly, but there will still be times where we just can’t do the thing, and it’s something that we just have to live with.

My best advice: Forgive yourself for your brain chemistry. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Research healthy methods of increasing the effected neurotransmitters and try your best to implement the strategies that work best for you. Just know that you aren’t alone in your confusion and frustration❤️


thank you! Ill have to try not sitting down, and yes music helps alot.

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I will have to watch this video again and have this in mind :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you this was very helpful! I agree, with no sense of time hours just disappear.

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Oh my gosh I loved this explanation thank you :purple_heart: :purple_heart: It’s a relieving thing to know that it really isn’t me just being “stupid”


When I say I’ll get back to my main task in 5 minutes, I always do! “Oh, there’s another interesting article to read.” Would you believe, “usually do”? “Just one more article.” How about “do at least once every month or so”?

Welcome to the tribe! You’ll find lots of people here whose minds work amazingly similar to the way yours does.


well isnt that a relief :sob:

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Much appreciated.

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All the time. Like right now. I have a work project I’ve been working on for days straight with long hours, 10-11 hour days this week. I have to finish today, but instead I’m on here. I can’t seem to force myself to finish it. I realized a bit ago that it’s because I never feel like I finished it. I have to give myself little goals to finish so I feel like I am accomplishing something. I’m not very good at it yet.


@BexOwe welcome to the forums!

I can relate. I’ve been learning a new job, and the work to be done has been delayed while I figure out what I’m doing and how to do it.

Something I was reminded of by another post recently said something like not letting “perfection be the enemy of progress.” This is something a previous manager I had coached me on. Today, I accomplished one of the two tasks in a work request. Is been holding off because I still don’t know how to accomplish the second task, but the first one was the critical part. I feel much better about getting something done, and let the requester know where it stands.

So, to address your project:

  • It may not be perfect yet, but it’s the project completed enough for the sake of progress?
  • If not, can you identify the things it needs done, and then focus on them one at a time?
  • Do you need more time?
  • Can you ask for more time?
  • Can you delegate and part to someone else, or ask someone to go over it with you to check what’s done so far?

Best of luck to you on the project and how well it is received.


Welcome @BexOwe to the How to ADHD Fourms!!


@j_d_aengus wow thank you that was very helpful. congrats on your new job and I hope you can climb over the hurdles, it seems like you know what to do and youre getting it done! For me, I’ve done some research and I’ve learned the term “being run by a motor” and thats exactly what it feels like. sometimes even just being aware of it now and that its something others struggle with makes it easier to handle.

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