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Tellman Knudson & Stephanie Frank

Tellman Knudson & Stephanie Frank x 12 articles

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In this article we are going to address some of the wonderful questions Adult ADHD people have written in with, asking about how to "focus and finish" with Adult ADHD. Here's a really great one from Judy...

Judy says, "My question is finishing the job. I have a number of projects that are 85% done. How do we zero in until it’s completed? Thanks, from Judy."

Stephanie: Yes, it's true: when you have Adult ADHD, it's much easier to start projects, and even to get 85% of them done, than to get that last 15% finished. First, you need to be aware of what’s happening here, and that it's normal with Adult ADHD.

Someone with Adult ADHD starts out a project and it’s really exciting, fun and you're interested in it. You've got a lot of momentum, and then you get halfway through, and you say, "Yes, it could be really cool." Then you get to about 80% or 85% and you say, "Oh, man. This is so boring. Ugh. I'm not going to do this anymore." Does that sound familiar?

Tellman: This is what I call the "Three-Quarter Rule." It's a common thing with Adult ADHD. For me, it’s about 75%. I get the thing’s going well enough to exist, but it’s not really polished. So, what I did is, I recently hired someone, and their only job is to finish all the stuff that I don't finish.

They're happy, because they're learning about all the really cool, creative things that I'm doing, and how to pull things like this together. This person is very, very organized, very meticulous, doesn't have Adult ADHD like me, and is very good at just sitting down and focusing on something until it’s done, regardless.

I'll tell you, he’s one of the most valuable people in my company. I can't believe how well it worked. He’s finishing all the stuff that I've left unfinished.

But I'd like to bring up another point here, Stephanie, which is something people with Adult ADHD need to ask themselves:

"Does everything actually have to get done?"

"Does everything you start have to end up finished?"

Stephanie: The direct answer to that is, "No. It absolutely does not." It’s okay to leave some things unfinished if it’s not going to impact you financially, spiritually, emotionally or mentally in a way that’s very negative. How many times have you heard, "You've got to finish what you start"?

We hear it from parents, teachers, everybody. They are usually really focused people without Adult ADHD, who only start one project at a time.

If you are a highly creative person with Adult ADHD you automatically start multiple projects at a time, and you should set an expectation for yourself that not all of your projects are going to be finished...or be amazingly successful. But some will--and in the end that's all anyone can say--Adult ADHD or no Adult ADHD.

That’s the other point, Tellman. You know, if you're at 85% and you can't finish the project, you've got to ask yourself, "Is this project worth finishing?" If you say, "No," drop it.

Tellman: Immediately.

Stephanie: Yes. If you say, "Yes. It is worth finishing. I'm just having trouble with this last 15%," you know what you do? Of course, you use all the Adult ADHD focus principles that we've talked about before...

You see if there is someone without Adult ADHD who can help you finish it. Or, if you're the only one who can do it, you use other tricks and techniques: you involve all your senses. You set a deadline for yourself. You set timers.

Tellman: You do mini deadlines.

Stephanie: Mini deadlines, of course, if it’s a whole project. In fact, all those things we just mentioned--using senses, mini-deadlines, and timers, are great techniques for focusing with Adult ADHD that people can find out more about just by going to our site--see below!

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MLA Style Citation:
Frank, Stephanie & Knudson Tellman "Adult ADHD: Beating The "Three-Quarter Rule"." Adult ADHD: Beating The "Three-Quarter Rule". 28 May. 2006 18 Jul. 2018 <>.
APA Style Citation:
Frank, Stephanie & Knudson Tellman (2006, May 28). Adult ADHD: Beating The "Three-Quarter Rule". Retrieved July 18, 2018, from
Chicago Style Citation:
Frank, Stephanie & Knudson Tellman "Adult ADHD: Beating The "Three-Quarter Rule"." Adult ADHD: Beating The "Three-Quarter Rule"
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