When you have ADHD, it can make stayIng on top of all your tasks and responsibilities at work more complicated. But, it doesn’t necessarily have to — there are ways to deal with ADHD on the job and be just as productive and successful as your colleagues who don’t have to deal with ADHD at work.
How Does ADHD Affect Professionals?
ADHD affects your focus and attention, which means it can slow you down, cause you to become unorganized, and make you miss important details in your professional role.
Studies have shown that professionals with ADHD tend to miss work more often, get fired more easily, and change jobs more frequently than people who don’t have ADHD. However, there are also many professionals with ADHD who perform just as well, or even better, than their colleagues.
Once you understand how to control your ADHD in the workplace, it’s much easier to stay organized, work quickly, and deliver great results to your team and your superiors.
What Can You Do To Manage ADHD At Work?
Use productivity apps
There are productivity apps for ADHD that can really help you manage your tasks, pay attention to details, and generally work more efficiently. For example, you can use a conversational email app, like Spike, to view email threads as chat-like conversations, making it easier to soak in critical information (as opposed to sifting through your cluttered inbox).
You can also try out different project management software apps, such as Asana or Trello, to visually organize your projects and tasks, so you can see at a glance what you need to be prioritizing at any given moment. Or, if you want something even simpler, you could use a to-do list app, such as Todoist or Remember the Milk.
A note-taking app, like Evernote, is a great tool for writing down important information that your ADHD might cause you to miss or forget. Take notes in every meeting and jot down all the times and dates for things like client calls and project milestone deadlines.
An important thing to remember is that everyone’s case of ADHD is different, so an app that works for someone else with ADHD might not work as well for you. You should try out a few different productivity apps and tools to figure out what most helps you stay organized and on task at work.
Ask for a quiet workspace
If you work in an office, ask your boss to assign you a desk or an office in a quiet space, free of as many distractions as possible. If you can get an office with a door that you can close, that’s ideal. However, if you have to work in a cubicle, ask for one in an out-of-the-way part of the office, where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic or conversation happening.
If you can’t get a quiet workspace permanently, you can try coming into work earlier or staying later, when it’s quieter, to get some work done that requires you to focus really hard. Or, you can book a private office or conference room at certain times of the day when you really feel like you need to eliminate outside distractions.
Schedule time for tasks
When you have ADHD, you know how easy it is to get distracted from one task by another. That’s why it’s so important to schedule time for specific tasks.
For example, set a certain time to check your inbox and respond to emails so you don’t get sidetracked from more important work that has a deadline you need to meet. You can use productivity apps to set reminders for when to change tasks or take a break and check things off your to-do list as you complete them.
During your scheduled blocks of time, turn off things like smartphone, email, and workplace chat notifications so they don’t distract you from the task at hand.
Try relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques can help sharpen your focus and concentration. You can try meditating or doing deep breathing exercises to clear your mind and refocus. Or, get up and go for a walk outside or around the office every hour or so to relax and clear your thoughts. No matter which relaxation technique works for you, the important thing is to incorporate it into your daily routine.
The Bottom Line
Living with ADHD makes all areas of your life more complicated, and that includes your professional life. Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, you can learn to manage your ADHD in the workplace and exceed both you and your boss’s expectations. The suggestions above are a great place to start down the path to becoming a more productive professional with ADHD!