Sustained Attention

Excerpts from “The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success” by Peg Dawson, EdD and Richard Guare, PhD

What We Know About Sustained Attention: “The capacity to keep paying attention to a situation or task in spite of distractability, fatigue, or boredom.”

What We Can Do About It: “Task initiation and sustained attention often go hand in hand.  If you have problems with both executive skills you should probably begin by working on task initiation, because if you can’t start the task, you won’t have to deal with being unable to stick with it long enough to get it done.”

  • Modify the physical or social environment
  • Modity the task
  • Solicit help from others
  • Identify a task or specific activity that reflects your sustained attention weaknesses
  • Set your goal
  • Set a deadline
  • Make a specific plan
  • Externalize the behavior you’re working on
  • Whatever it takes, stick to some part of the plan
  • Select a reward
  • Write down two or three encouraging statements