Take this self-assessment quiz to find out where you stand on the attention-span spectrum.

This quiz was developed with Kathleen Nadeau, director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland, in Annapolis.

Rate each statement on a scale of 0 to 3, based on the following criteria:
0 = Not at all like me

1 = A little like me

2 = A lot like me

3 = Just like me

1. I tend to overlook details.

2. It’s hard for me to listen for long periods of time in meetings.

3. I wander from one task to the next without completing them.

4. I jump from topic to topic in conversation.

5. I tend to fidget or doodle.

6. I interrupt others during conversations, even when I try not to.

7. It seems much harder for me compared with others to take care of daily tasks.

8. I pick up and drop hobbies and interests.

9. I have difficulty planning ahead.

10. I’m forgetful.

11. I frequently misplace personal objects.

12. My home and office are cluttered and messy.

13. I tend to run late.

14. I have difficulty developing routines for me or my family.

15. Meal planning is challenging for me.

16. I often start reading books but rarely finish them.


0 to 15: You find yourself lost in thought from time to time, but your concentration level is better than most people’s. Use attention-span strengtheners, such as alternating high-stimulation and low-stimulation tasks and visualizing what you want to achieve, to further sharpen your focus.

16 to 30: Like most Americans, you feel a bit frazzled and drifty on a fairly regular basis. Start by taking a look at where this poses the biggest problem: Do you have trouble at work, or are you disorganized at home? Cut down on known attention zappers in the area that needs the most help: At work, stop reflexively checking e-mails. At home, limit distractions, like TV and the Web. Be more attentive to tasks in both environments by setting a time limit for each job. Creating deadlines can help you stay focused.

31 to 45: You probably feel constantly scattered and as if you can’t get it together. This is frustrating and may also be a sign of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder if you’ve experienced these symptoms since childhood. For more info, visit the site of Children and Adults With ADHD.

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