ADHD High Tech: The Advantages of Paper

What’s more tempting to you… reading a book online or reading a book you can hold in your hands? Often, people with ADHD gravitate to those shiny and new gadgets in technology, thinking those devices can help, but sometimes it’s old-fashioned paper that is a lot more productive. Why do I say that? Because it can benefit self-regulation.

Reading online brings up all kinds of temptations or distractions compared to a physical book that has only words on the page, no links or social media to distract you. That’s the advantage of going back to paper because it’s easier to self-regulate your attention and relieve working memory issues associated with digital devices.

If you struggle getting things done, watch this video, “ADHD High-Tech: The Advantages of Paper,” and consider the idea to make it a bit easier for you to self-regulate and keep focused. Here’s the link:


Welcome everybody, to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, ADHD and Attention Coach, Jeff Copper. I’m here today to share some insights, and my job here hopefully is to get you to think. One of the things about ADHD is sometimes what might seem to be low-tech is actually high-tech. I was very, very flattered one time, I was doing an interview with Dr. Russell Barkley on my podcast, Attention Talk Video. To watch, you just go to Google, Attention Talk Video GPS. We talked about working memory. Theoretically, what he’s learned and what he’s advocating for. I talked about how I coach people, and then at the end we concluded that paper is sometimes high-tech for people with ADHD. So in this video, I really just really want to talk about it.

Yeah, this is a book. This is actually Spark, written by Dr. John Ratey, about the impact of exercise on ADHD among other things. It’s a very good book. To me it’s actually a textbook. The nice thing about a book is you’ll notice there’s no hyperlinks, so there’s no distractions that would get me off, like when I’m reading a difficult part, or there’s nothing that’s going to pop up and say I’ve got an instant message, or I’ve got a Facebook thing or whatever. So there’s not really a lot of distractions.

Also, it’s kind of cool, if you’ll notice my fingers can toggle back and forth between pages, so when I’m looking for things it’s really simple, whereas on a computer screen, I got to do a lot of clicking. You’ll also note that I have a Post-it here marking a page where I actually have writing and underlined prints. Sorry for the waving around. It’s very easy for me to reference when I’m finding some things.

Online textbooks are difficult to annotate in a way that’s as simple as really a simple book and maybe going… Because I highlight and then I’ll take a pencil or a pen and then highlight again on the salient points. Again, it is a little bit bulky and I do have to carry it around, but it’s also nice because I can read this at the pool or at the beach or outside where a computer screen is a little bit more difficult.

At the end of the day, I like variety. I’m sharing this with you because often people with ADHD, we look at that shiny and new and we’re gravitating towards technology thinking it can help, and sometimes the old fashioned paper route is really a lot more productive for many of you. So really, I just really wanted to share the advantages of an old fashioned book. Again, less taxing on working memory, easier to annotate, no temptations in terms of social media or hyperlinks to go off and get sidetracked. Makes it a little bit easier for you to self-regulate. In other words, keep focused.

With that, I hope this gives you pause to think. Please subscribe to our channel and leave a comment down. What do you think of this? Does this make some sense to you, or have you found a way to annotate, or just anything? We hope you’ve enjoyed this tip and hopefully we got you to think. Not everybody has to go to a book, but you can begin to say sometimes you think old school, and it actually could be a good school for you to go to in terms of learning how to manage your ADHD. Take care.


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