Does your job present challenges, and do you also suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Working with ADHD means facing impulsivity and inattention issues, which can affect your ability to organize complex projects and accomplish daily tasks.
The best thing you can do is balance your triggering ADHD tendencies with your duties at work, otherwise, you might end up being fired because your employer sees that you’re not working hard enough.
ADHD sufferers tend to have trouble focusing on non-interesting tasks. For me, it takes me at least 3 or 5 espresso shots in the morning to concentrate on anything. Since I work in a creative field in the entertainment industry, I often feel as if I’m doing eight different jobs at once.
To begin with, let’s take a look at what ADHD is, what its benefits are, and what you can do to maximize it.
What is ADHD?
A neurological disorder known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects children and adults alike. Despite the fact that it can affect both adults and children, children are more susceptible to it.
The National Comorbidity Survey Replication reports that 4.4% of American adults have ADHD, of whom 38% are women and 62% are men.
A child with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviour (acting without thinking about the consequences), and being overactive.
People suffering from an ADHD diagnosis can lead to difficulties focusing, impulse control problems, and hyperactivity. There are, however, numerous strengths and benefits associated with this condition as well.
Types of ADHD
A person with ADHD may have one of three types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are most prominent:
- Predominately Inattentiveness Presentation (difficulty in concentrating and focusing)
Easily distracted or forgetting details of daily routines, the person struggles to organize and finish tasks. Paying attention to details is difficult.
- Predominately Hyperactivity and Impulsiveness Presentation
People who are fidgety and talk excessively have difficulty sitting still for an extended period of time (for example, during a meal or while doing homework). There may be a constant flurry of running, jumping, or climbing in the case of smaller children.
Individuals who struggle with impulsivity and restlessness feel restless. The impulsive person interrupts others frequently, grabs things from people, and speaks inappropriately.
People with impulsiveness may be more prone to accidents or injuries. They have difficulty waiting their turn or following directions.
- Combined Presentation
The person will have symptoms of both types, but the symptoms may change over time, as well as the presentation of them.
Symptoms of ADHD
There are two types of symptoms of ADHD based on behavioural problems.
- Inattentiveness (difficulty in concentrating and focusing)
- Hyperactive and impulsiveness
Symptoms in Children and Teenagers
ADHD symptoms include the following three categories, although each child may experience them differently. Generally, children and teenagers with ADHD will experience the following symptoms:
- Having difficulty listening to others
- Having difficulty organising tasks
- Easily gets distracted
- Appears forgetting or losing things
- Insufficient study skills for the age group
Hyperactive and impulsiveness
- A tendency to talk excessively
- Excessive physical movement
- Difficulty in involving quiet activities
- A tendency to constantly switch between tasks without completing the previous one; inability to stay focused on one task at a time
Symptoms in Adults
Compared to childhood symptoms of ADHD, adult symptoms are more subtle. Here is a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:
- Inability to deal with stress
- Extremely impatience
- Poor organisational skills
- Frequent mood swings
- Temper issues and irritability
- Inattention to detail and lack of care
- Trouble in multitasking
- Inability to focus or prioritise
ADHD in Workplace
People with ADHD can face many challenges in the workplace compared to their school years. They can have a difficult time prioritizing tasks or managing time effectively which could cause poor performance at work or delays in meeting deadlines. Also, emotional dysregulation can lead to conflicts with colleagues.
Employees with ADHD Working in The Office
ADHD can make it difficult for some people to maintain a career or to complete their work, although many people with the condition are highly capable. However, seeking support and developing effective coping strategies can help someone with ADHD overcome symptoms and succeed at work.
A worker may have difficulty remembering meeting times, commitments, or instructions, especially if instructions are not written down and more than one meeting is scheduled at a time. Having an unreliable reputation, failing to complete assignments, or making careless mistakes can lead to a negative reputation.
Tips For Employees WIth ADHD Working in The Office
Workers with ADHD may be able to improve focus by:
- Having their day planned in advance
- Creating manageable chunks of complex tasks
- Integrate movement into your workday
- Taking short breaks frequently
- Consider wearing noise-cancelling headphones to minimize distractions
- Disabling email notifications
People with ADHD may also benefit from the above tips for staying focused.
Employees with ADHD Working Remotely
Many ADHD patients find that remote work is helpful, including the fact that they don’t have to deal with noisy colleagues or colleagues who tap their shoulders distracting them.
But on the other hand, they may also find difficulty focusing, organizing, and managing their time while working from home. As structured workdays combined with motivation and support from your co-workers and boss can help compensate for these shortcomings.
Tips For Employees WIth ADHD Working Remotely
Remote workers with ADHD may be able to improve focus by:
- Allowing yourself time to recharge will make your work sessions more productive
- Following your doctor’s prescription for ADHD medicines
- Setting both daily and weekly to-do lists for yourself
- Keeping the working area or desk tidy and clean; and quiet if possible
- Using tools to plan and organise the tasks
- Reminding yourself of meetings and deadlines by using the calendar software on your computer and smartphone
- Keeping in touch with your coworkers and managers through regular calls, video conferences, emails, and texts
Workplace Benefits of ADHD
People with ADHD have different personality traits, but having the condition can be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Each person with ADHD has their own unique skills and strengths. It is commonly known as “ADHD Superpowers” among the ADHD community.
Some of the benefits of ADHD are as follows:
ADHD is commonly associated with being an out-of-the-box thinker, which can add energy to a team. Several studies indicate that adults with ADHD can bring a fresh approach to a project.
Numerous ADHD books as well as research conducted at the University of Memphis confirm that people with ADHD tend to be more creative than their non-ADHD peers. The study found that 30 ADHD students performed significantly better on 11 different creativity tests than their peers.
2. Hyper-focus, Quality, and Timeliness
Those suffering from ADHD can become hyper-focused over long periods of time, tuning out everything around them. A person is likely to experience this if they do a job that they enjoy and find interesting.
People with ADHD often have better performance and work more efficiently when they focus on tasks that align with their interests and strengths. Their result is often of high quality because they are able to finish a task without distraction.
Thus, investing in ADHD minds can help organizations create a competitive edge.
3. Spontaneity and Courage
People with ADHD excel in living a life of unplanned moments and adventures. The impulsive nature of adolescents usually leads to fun and memorable spontaneous activities.
When it comes to ADHD, people don’t worry about the long-term implications or overthink situations, but instead, do what they enjoy at the moment.
People with ADHD often gain more courage as a result of their spontaneity, which can lead them to seek thrills and adventures.
4. Endless Source of Ideas
The ADHD Association notes that “ADHD people can contribute greatly to a team as creative and energetic members, bringing new ideas, tasks and projects.” These individuals are also often eager to try new ideas, tasks, and projects, and they have a keen ability to see the big picture.
Thus, employees with ADHD are capable of bringing new strategies and methods to the table that will allow them to grow and achieve professional success.
One of the defining characteristics of ADHD is hyperactivity. People with ADHD often appear to have an endless amount of energy that they are able to channel for success in the classroom, on the field, or at work.
Hyperactivity is often considered a negative attribute of ADHD, primarily because it disrupts friends and colleagues, but it actually makes those with ADHD great at sports and other physical activities as well.
It is advantageous and encouraged for them to move around in an environment where energy is abundant and they thrive.
6. Quick Starters
Those with ADHD are often impulsive and jump right into things without worrying or spending hours researching. ADHD employees sometimes have trouble getting started on something they’re passionate about, but once they get going, they become hyper-focused.
Change is exhausting for some, so they stick to systems that don’t work, or get stuck in analysis paralysis. However, teams that refuse to change can take a long time to reach their goals.
How to Focus on Work With ADHD: Tips and Strategies
When you have ADHD, staying focused is even harder. You may be prone to procrastination. Finding the right method for you will depend on your unique situation.
You might need to experiment a bit to find which ones work best for you. However, here are some tips to help you stay focused every day.
1. One Thing at a Time
Getting work done on time requires staying focused and on task, but some people find it difficult to multitask when they’re focused. Individuals lose focus when faced with multiple assignments, resulting in no completion of one task at a time.
Thus, the “One thing at a time” strategy can be adapted for the office: Putting down one project for 45 minutes, then switching to a different project for 45 minutes, then taking a 30-minute break. By doing so, you can easily complete multiple tasks without being distracted.
2. Connect With Positive Co-workers
When you are working on something, having someone to support you might be helpful. The accountability of another person can help you no matter where you are at work or at home. Their guidance can assist you if you seem distracted or if you need help redirecting your energy.
People with ADD/ADHD have found that sharing information with their employers has been helpful in developing simple accommodations to enhance their employment prospects. It can be very helpful to have a coworker who understands your struggles to stay focused.
3. Stick to a Schedule
Keeping a fixed schedule at work can assist you in staying focused. It reduces the likelihood of becoming distracted or forgetting things.
Do not abandon your work schedule just because you are working remotely. If you are less energetic at 9 a.m. than 10 a.m., you might be able to push your start time later, but try to begin at the same time every day.
Additionally, be sure to take your ADHD medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Schedule lunch breaks and exercise breaks for each day. Also, exercise regularly or go for walks in the morning.
Learn more: Steps To Create an Effective Productivity Plan📑📑
4. Use Tools to Plan and Organize
A simple way to keep organized is to make a daily to-do list. Or place sticky notes on your laptop to remind you of what needs to get done. Other options include computer and smartphone apps and tools.
Keep track of all appointments and deadlines with your smartphone or computer calendar software. Once you get to your desk in the morning, review your daily and weekly calendars. Write your to-do list for the day. Make it manageable.
Note: Track or block your social media activities with an app like timeTracko if you frequently visit social media while working.
5. Use a Timer
Set an alarm an hour or two before each event, so you have time to prepare. Then set another alarm 15 minutes before the event. By doing so, the meeting won’t be missed, and you’ll be ready to go.
The key is to allow enough time for working so that you can complete a portion of your task. Also, keeping the break time short enough to avoid getting entangled in new activities but long enough to feel refreshed.
6. Setup a Work-Friendly Space
Even without children or pets to distract you, your home is adorned with distractions. For instance, TV sets with popular shows, cellphones with texts from friends, and social networking sites await you.
Make sure your workspace is located in a quiet, clutter-free area of your home in order to avoid distractions. It should also be set up in a way that will not cause you physical discomfort. Get a decent desk and a comfortable chair if you haven’t already.
Consider wearing earplugs if you’re distracted by household noises. Also, establish clear boundaries so that other family members respect your working hours.
7. Take Regular Breaks
Consider taking regular breaks and alternating between different scenes from time to time. An ADHD brain can benefit from a daily exercise break or walk. Do not let yourself spend your breaks watching television since you are still working. Be sure to not get distracted by household chores or you’ll be taking an hour-long break instead of ten minutes.
8. Find Relaxation and CalmingTechniques
ADHD can cause inattention in a variety of ways, including insensitive conversations or skimming long documents rather than reading them. It may be beneficial to add relaxation training when you’re looking for quick focus techniques.
The relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can assist you in focusing and resetting your mind. And, in case your emotions become too intense, step away from the conversation to gather yourself. Write down what you want to say and practice saying it.
9. Be Accountable
Find someone who you can be accountable, preferably someone you work with if you find your mind wandering and you are not completing what you should.
Make sure you keep them updated on your progress and ask them to follow up with you regularly. No matter how solo you are, you can still benefit from the support of the entire team.
10. Make Use of Healthy Distractions
A distraction-free method for keeping your mind focused during a task is to concentrate excessive energy. For instance, chewing gum or using fidget gadgets to give your brain a harmless outlet without distracting you.
Consider bringing a tactile object to meetings, such as a Koosh ball you can squeeze or a pen you can spin with your fingers. Take notes and jot down any thoughts, questions, or ideas that pop out in your head during the interview.
Managing Employees With ADHD
Managing a team member with ADHD effectively involves supporting them in overcoming their own challenges while also taking advantage of their strengths as a member of the team.
In the case of someone in your team who reports they have ADHD and requests additional support, schedule a meeting to discuss what would be helpful to them.
Listed below are a few strategies that help you manage employees with ADHD at work.
- Like with any member of the team, you should find out what training style works best for them.
- Make sure you provide them with written instructions and reminders as a way to prevent forgetfulness.
- Ensure they receive additional training for new activities and refresher training as needed.
- Provide a quiet and private workspace for your team and those with ADHD to reduce disruptions.
- Providing them with noise-cancelling headphones or relocating them to a quieter area may help.
- Help them become more organized so they can focus on what they do best.
Hopefully, this information will help you cope more effectively with ADHD at work. Try experimenting with different strategies and monitor your results to improve your focus at work.
But most importantly, be patient with yourself. Regardless of what you achieved last month, yesterday, or even last week, don’t put too much pressure on yourself! You’re doing the best you can.
And, consult your doctor as soon as possible if you continue to have difficulty focusing.
Q1) How does the mind of someone with ADHD work?
People with ADHD experience slower brain development, which makes it harder for them to pay attention and focus.
Q2) Can people with ADHD be successful at work?
Although people with ADHD have significant symptoms of inattention and executive dysfunction, they can succeed professionally if they use effortful compensation strategies appropriately.
Q3) What are people with ADHD good at?
People with ADHD may view life differently and approach tasks and situations differently. They may be more original, artistic, and creative than other people.
Q4) How do you trick an ADHD brain into being productive?
It can be difficult for people with ADHD to stay focused and complete a task. However, with the right tools and resources, you are able to become productive and accomplish your goals.