The cover of Extra Focus by Jesse J. Anderson

Whoa, this one really resonated with me. Extra Focus by Jesse J. Anderson centers on the topic of adult ADHD. I don’t think there has been a single book I’ve read that had me nodding my head in agreement on nearly every page. Jesse gives us a better understanding of what ADHD is (trying to do everything! distracted by low value stuff! blurts out answers! etc.) and what it isn’t (absolutely not a deficit of attention). He gives us a better understanding of the ADHD brain and how it works, and how it can be molded into a superpower if you know how to use it.

I was diagnosed with ADHD way back in early grade school and still remember taking Ritalin twice a day, then switching to Concerta. Eventually, I just stopped taking medication altogether. Over the years I’ve learned to manage my ADHD, and use it to my advantage. I’ve learned that I have a knack for diving into a complex problem and quickly finding a creative solution. I’ve learned that I can juggle multiple large-scale things at once without losing too much information along the way. I’ve recently learned that I’m the high-energy parent1 and the primary entertainer / play pal for my four-year-old daughter (which I love and would never trade for anything).

But I’ve also learned some of the downsides of my ADHD. If something doesn’t interest me A LOT, I have a hard time caring about it for an extended period of time. I feel the need to always be doing something, or I’ll just wander around aimlessly for hours. I catch myself interrupting people in conversation, not because I’m trying to be rude, but because I can often anticipate where they’re going and want to get to the point faster, to keep up with my mile-a-minute brain. I’ve learned that I am very very very easily distracted. Here’s a story from literally just now: I’m writing this and open my phone to find a specific note from Jesse’s book and there’s another app open. I get sucked back into whatever the heck I was doing 2 hours ago and poof there goes 20 minutes. I look up at my monitor and go “OH YEAH I WAS WRITING A BLOG POST” and here we are. I don’t even remember which note or highlight I wanted from the book at this point.

My brain is pretty dang cool at times and truly frustrating at others. Extra Focus showed me ways to minimize the frustrating parts and maximize the cool ones.

Jesse talks about the 4 Cs and how it’s a great framework for managing ADHD. Captivate, Create, Compete, and Complete - those are the Cs that I need to make sure are always in play, otherwise my brain will get bored and want to stop doing this important thing in front of me.

Some people say to do the hard tasks first, but that just clearly doesn’t work for me or my ADHD brain. Jesse recommends flipping that, and doing the interesting stuff first to build some momentum.

There’s so many examples and little tricks or tweaks that Jesse talks about in Extra Focus that are all very approachable and easy to implement. This isn’t one of those scientific books that has tons of jargon or sounds like a research paper2.

Extra Focus is worth your time and money and is a quick, fun, and easy read that I’d recommend to anyone that was nodding their head in agreement while reading this.

  1. My wife and others often marvel at how I’m still so energetic at the end of the day, when everyone else is gassed. I’m reminded of Dani Rojas in Ted Lasso saying he doesn’t drink coffee because his mother says he was “born caffeinated.” That’s me!…except I also drink coffee. So you do the math on that energy level. Yeah! 

  2. which I’m not knocking because I love those as well, but they’re not always the easiest to read and digest.