If ever a place could lend itself to a lack of sanity, it is the workplace. There are so many distractions to contend with. You have interrupting coworkers, a mountain of emails, and a ringing phone and all you want to do is get through your to-do list. Even if you haven’t started ADHD coaching yet, these tips can help you get on track with working while having ADHD.
5 Ways to Work with ADHD
What can you do when you feel like it is time to stop reading the memos and start wallpapering with them instead? Try these tips to keep your office from becoming a dungeon of despair.
Work with your mind, not against it.
This may be something you want to keep in mind when you’re picking a career too, but there is no reason you can’t use it for the one you already have. We already know the ADHD brain is easily distracted and prone to overstimulation. . . right? Please be sure you are choosing something to do that plays to those strengths. Wait, did I just call that strength? That’s right, there are fields where those qualities of changing gears quickly and shooting out thoughts at the rate of machine-gun fire are a beautiful thing. Choose well.
Give your brain a break.
Let’s be honest here, you could have an absolutely perfect career and you would still suffer from ADHD symptoms there. Let’s plan ahead for that instead of plunging ahead and hoping for the best. You can try a few different methods here: promise yourself a break after you finish this last e-mail, take a walk after you’ve made ten calls, reward yourself with an amazing lunch on Friday if you stick to your quota, the options are limitless and they’re personal. What motivates you? Pick something, and stick to your guns!
Identify your distractions and dismiss them.
Are your coworkers too darn loud? Close the office door. Do you hate when someone comes to knock on your door and breaks your workflow? I do too. Ask them to email you with important information instead. Just like what motivates you, what distracts you is TOTALLY personal and can only be identified by you. If it is noise, you can try noise-canceling headphones. When in an office environment, I find leaving my office lights off can really minimize my ability to see things in my peripheral vision, eliminating my squirrely little brain going “what’s that?” every time somebody walks by.
Don’t eat slacker food at work.
Ok, I am not one of those people who believes that red food dye and sugar are causing hyperactivity, so let me start by saying that. However, the food we put in our bodies really does have an effect on the way we function on a daily basis. I’m not trying to take your potato chips, I’m just saying that maybe you could opt for some crackers instead. Eat snacks that are high in protein, those are really great for our ADHD minds. Snacks that are high in Omega IIIs are great as well, so don’t skip those. If you’re not loading up on junk, you can keep your energy high and you will miss that afternoon carb drop that we all hate. Energy equals less distractibility. Your waistline and your wallet will love this tip too, trust me.
Ask for help if you need it.
No person is an island unto themselves, no matter how good they are. The problem with having ADHD is imagining that people without it are perfect angels who never get distracted, never get disorganized, and never get overwhelmed with a workload and get behind. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you are starting to feel ill at ease from the pile on your desk, then you owe it to yourself to reach out to somebody who can help. They may have a suggestion that can revolutionize your workflow, and majorly reduce your stress level. They may even – and I know this sounds crazy – take some of that work off your hands and do it just to help you out. This could be a whole new way of working for you. Don’t forget to be as open to giving help as you are to receiving it.
Don’t let work bum you out!
This is going to be a continuous learning process for you, and you should take it as one. If you can learn to trust yourself and try to be gentle with yourself, a whole new way of working will open up to you. Just remember to work with your mind not against it. Give yourself breaks. Dismiss those distractions, and switch up your diet. Don’t be proud, ask for help if you need it. Work is going to go from being a wasteland to a wonderland.
Do something you love.
With ADHD, we love what we love. Finding a job you love, figuring out a way to follow your passion, is going to help you get into a groove of working without as much resistance from your brain. I work from home because that’s what works best for me. Whether you’re looking for a work-from-home job or just want to start a side hustle, start looking around for inspiration: you have ADHD, your options are limitless!