ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

is a lifelong condition that affects people’s ability to focus. Memory issues, impulsiveness and difficulty controlling emotions are also common aspects of ADHD.

When people think of ADHD they often think of ‘misbehaving’ or ‘distracted’ young boys in school – when in reality, it affects both men and women throughout their lives.

There are many resources available to young students suffering from ADHD but there often isn’t much support for adults living with it as they enter the workforce.

Adults with ADHD symptoms can really struggle at work especially with maintaining productivity, timekeeping and remembering important information as just a few examples.

On the flipside some individuals can hyperfocus on particular tasks to the exclusion of all others, often to the point of forgetting to eat or drink. This can be fantastic for projects but terrible for self-care and can leave people feeling burn-out.

All of these aspects can lead to ADHD sufferers really struggling at work. This can cause a lot of anxiety and stress – with performance reviews becoming dreaded occasions.

Conversations with bosses who consistently reiterate how much potential you have.. yet are never seemingly being able to keep up these expectations despite how hard you try are also a common and discouraging experience for some.

As someone with ADHD who has experienced all of the above, I wanted to share some helpful coping mechanisms for an office based workplace that have really helped me.

Keep in mind that everybody is different and these suggestions aren’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’, so it’s important to trial and error each of these to see what works for you as an individual.

M’s Top 5 Tips for Managing ADHD in the Workplace

 

1) Having and sharing visible and easy to access planners or to-do lists.

This seems basic but a lot of people with ADHD can struggle with sticky notes, to-do lists and planners as they can blend in with the background or be lost easily.

Having and working through a clear planner that is managed by both yourself and your team or supervisors with clear and easy goals can help you keep on top of your work.

2) Take lots of breaks!

Rather than taking one large break throughout the day, break up your time with frequent short breaks to reset and rejuvenate.

People with ADHD can really struggle with focus over long periods of time so portioning up your work-time into more manageable chunks can really help. Use these short breaks to have some time away from your desk and walk around or stretch.

This also helps to combat hyper-focusing and reduces the chances of neglecting your needs and causing burn-out.

3) Have short meetings and written follow ups!

No one likes long meetings but they are especially challenging for people living with ADHD. Focus on having short meetings with clear points that you can frequently follow up on to stay on track.

4) Have some practical equipment to help manage ADHD symptoms

If your work is computer-based, having dual monitors can be really helpful with keeping track of your overall work – allowing you to focus on particular tasks with your planner/diary/to-do list clearly visible at the same time.

Other equipment can include specialised desks and chairs that allow for stand-up working which can help some. Fidget devices can also be a fantastic tool to help concentration.

There are resources available to employers in order to accommodate people with these needs so don’t be afraid to have that conversation with your team.

5) Communicate!

Without the right support, those with ADHD can find working life overwhelming – this can lead to stress, feelings of guilt and poor self-esteem. Also dealing with negative stereotypes such as ‘late, unreliable, forgetful or distracting’, makes communicating with your team all the more important.

If your team is aware of your needs, they will be better equipped to implement the support measures for you. This can also help your colleagues to be more understanding when you are finding something particularly difficult.

Try to be open and honest about your experiences so your team can help you to the best of their abilities.

The important thing to remember with ADHD is that it’s not all negative. It’s easy to discount the boundless creativity and passion that comes with the condition and it’s important to recognise the benefits that neuro-diverse people can bring to the workforce.

For more information on ADHD check out this overview from the NHS (Click here)

That’s all for now folks!

M