10 Tips to Help Adults with ADHD Focus in the Workplace
Work can be a very frustrating place for adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but finding effective strategies to help you stay focused can make a big difference to the success of your career and in turn, your overall happiness.
Why is the workplace harder for adults with ADHD?
If you struggle with attention deficit disorder, here are some common challenges that may be getting in the way of your career success:
- Staying focused
- Turning off from distractions
- Failure to meet deadlines
- Paying attention for long periods
- Missing important details
- Communicating well with co-workers
- Taking on several tasks but not finishing them
While it’s true that we all confront such things from time to time at work, for adults with ADHD, staying on top of tasks can be an endless struggle that can lead to missed promotions and a stalled career.
Are there any positive ADHD traits that can be used in the workplace?
Yes! On the flip side, there are a number of strengths that come with well-managed ADHD that you can use to your benefit. Such traits include:
- Creative thinking – non-linear, divergent thinking that includes a fresh way of looking at problems with ‘outside the box’ solutions
- Curiosity – a willingness and desire to explore what life and your career has to offer
- Impulsiveness – the ability to act intuitively and fast despite uncertainly
- Resiliency – bouncing back after failures
- Performing under pressure – some ADHD adults excel with deadlines and crises
- Risk-taking – being willing to take a chance to achieve your goals, even if the odds are against you
- Hyperfocus – when an ADHD brain is properly stimulated, it can l ADHDead to a clear focus for long periods
So, if managed properly, ADHD could actually give you a competitive advantage…
In fact, several studies show that rather than preventing a person from performing well, the symptoms of ADHD can be extremely valuable in entrepreneurship. Take, for example, billionaire Sir Richard Branson; he openly talks about how ADHD has played a substantial part in his career and success. Another great example is David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue (a major American low-cost airline) who invented e-tickets. Why? Because he kept misplacing his airline ticket each time he flew. Clearly then, adults with ADHD have a secret strength when it comes to both creativity and perseverance.
Tips for working around your ADHD
A key factor to succeeding in your career with ADHD is to tailor your workplace environment so that it helps you to make the most of your strong points – such as your people skills or creativity – while minimising your symptoms.
Here are a few tips that can help you:
- If you work in an office, ask if you can have a private office where you can shut the door and close out distractions. If this is not possible, ask for a cubicle away from the main hustle and bustle area instead.
- Plan regular breaks in your day, even if it’s just taking a walk to the water fountain, walking up the stairs or going to the bathroom. Also, try to get outside of your workplace during your lunch break for some light exercise.
- Always have a notepad, post-it notes or a dry erase board handy so that you can jot down any important information.
- Keep your work desk clean and free from messy clutter. Spend some time organising so you have a designated place for your calendar, paper and pencils etc.
- Don’t over-schedule your day. Plan out extra time in case your tasks, meetings or assignments take longer than expected.
- Pop in some earphones or earplugs with ‘white noise’ or other soothing sounds to try and mask the distraction from other co-workers.
- Plan uninterrupted blocks during the day where you set your phone to voicemail so that you can focus solely on one task. Set a time to check messages and write down those messages.
- Ask if your colleagues would be open to sending you information by email, so you have it down in writing, that way you keep track of tasks and details easier.
- Use your phone calendar to record important events and set your watch to beep 5-10 minutes before a team meeting so that you always remember.
- Try and get to work earlier, or stay later so that you can work during quieter hours when there is less distraction.
Use your ADHD superpowers! Think about all the amazing ADHD traits that you have and ask yourself how you can better use them to suit your career needs. If you need help learning how to manage your adult ADHD, Positive Mind Works can help. We have a number of ADHD Psychologists and Psychiatrists who would be happy to help you learn how to hone these traits and use them to your advantage. To learn more, click here or contact us here.