Millions of adults around the world live with ADHD. While the condition can be very mild and have no influence on your personal life, there are some cases where symptoms can present themselves socially in quite an obvious way. In the workplace, ADHD can become quite difficult to manage for some people, but there are plenty of ways adults can take greater control over their symptoms and become less affected by their condition in a professional environment.
This blog will look at some of the ways you can work towards managing your ADHD at work, whether you work among others in an office environment, across various locations or even at home.
Adult ADHD can present itself in various different ways, depending on both the person and the severity of the condition itself. It is a neurobiological disorder, usually characterised by hyperactivity and impulsivity. At work, this can translate into a lack of concentration and difficulty problem solving, which can cause some issues in particular lines of work.
For adults with ADHD, it’s firstly important that they find a role, and indeed an organisation, that can respect and understand their having difficulties with certain tasks. For example, if somebody is particularly poor at concentrating for long periods of time, it is best that they steer clear of positions that involve excessive amounts of one particular task such as reading or writing. Varied, hands-on roles may appeal more to these people.
Similarly, working from home might be particularly difficult for some ADHD sufferers as it requires time management and the ability to balance (and separate) home and work life. Employers should ensure their employees are comfortable with arrangements and can manage their specific tasks, and adults with ADHD should request additional support when routines change within the organisation.
As previously mentioned, signs and symptoms of ADHD can vary, but these tips can be useful no matter how severe your symptoms. Take them on board and you’ll not only help to improve work performance, but also your overall mindset towards working with ADHD.
As symptoms of ADHD in adults typically affect concentration, making a habit of writing everything down is vital if you’re to grow and succeed at work. Whether it’s meeting notes, task instructions, to-do lists or quick thoughts, make a note by hand or on a computer and make sure you review these notes at the end of each day. This way, you can always make sure nothing gets left forgotten about and you’ll feel more organised.
This is equally important for at-home working and office-based working. Try to ensure you have a comfortable and quiet working environment with minimal distractions. If at home, you should also try to keep your workspace separate from the rest of your living space, if possible. This will help you to distinguish between the parts of your day where you’ll need to be focused, and the times you can reward yourself with relaxation.
Having a large calendar display on your desk or even on the wall can be extremely helpful for ADHD sufferers as it can give a clear overview of any tasks, meetings or events at a glance. If you are easily overwhelmed by organising timings and struggle to manage your calendar monthly, you can also find weekly planners in most stationery shops.
This goes without saying, but having a support system in place at work is vitally important for adults with ADHD. Your company should already offer a means of communicating any issues, but for more personal assistance you should ideally have scheduled catch-ups with your direct line manager.
Working from home can be an exciting challenge, but can also feel quite lonely at times. If possible, encourage your workplace to have casual coffee or lunch meetings to keep lines of communication open throughout the business. You can use these (and 1:1 meetings) to voice your concerns and build on relationships with your colleagues.
Time management really comes hand in hand with writing things down – it’s such an important organisational tool for adults with ADHD, and it’s relatively simple once you find a system that works for you. Using a calendar to schedule meetings is a great place to start, but some may also find it useful to plan each day in more detail, such as by the hour. Having a structure and a timeline for your tasks at work can help to make sure nothing is being left out and that you’re still scheduling time to take breaks so as to avoid burnout – which brings us to the final tip.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at work, and even more so for adults with ADHD. Making sure you set aside enough time to relax, rejuvenate and reward yourself for challenges you’ve faced during the day is paramount if you’re to maintain a healthy balance with work and your personal life. It will also have a positive effect on your mental health, and may even improve your ability to focus and increase your overall enjoyment of the working day.
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