ADHD At Work 5 Ways To Manage It
Everybody has to work? You have a family to provide for? Or you have just left school/college and need a job? But with ADHD work could be hard.
If you suffer from ADHD you probably have had challenges all of your life. With all of the symptoms, it can be hard to think you can be a success. How do you manage it?
Well, you can.
In this post, we are going to discuss what we can do to manage ADHD at work.
“Around 1.5m adults in the UK suffer from ADHD, but only around 120,000 are formally diagnosed” according to UK Charity ADHD Action.
How Does ADHD Affect Work?
Adults with ADHD can battle with time keeping, memory, organisation skills, and concentration. Which can affect their performance at work.
Everybody is different and ADHD can affect everybody differently.
Depending on the severity of their symptoms, the type of job they have and the environment they work in, they can struggle.
Some people with ADHD do struggle to hold down a job.
If that’s because they are getting bored and moving to a new one. Or due to struggling with performance and not being in the right job for them.
Adults with ADHD may struggle with:
- Staying Organised
- Time Keeping
- Maintaining Concentration
- Controlling Emotions
With these problems, you could find it quite hard at work. And as a result your performance could be poor.
But how can we make work life easier for us with ADHD?
1. Telling Your Employer You Have ADHD
You don’t have to tell your employer that you have ADHD, maybe you are worried about being judged. Or people treating you different from others.
But you can also run the risk of your employer, understanding ADHD.
There are many misconceptions of ADHD. Years ago it was treated differently and they could have grown up with a child that had it, that was labelled “naughty”. And consequently have low opinions of it.
We can’t change other peoples thoughts ADHD, but there is information out there that could aid them in understanding better.
Here are 2 useful websites for them to see:
- Remploy – UK’s leading disability specialist, have a downloadable guide for employers to support disabled people in the workplace
You could also choose not to tell your employer, and you are in your rights not to.
By not telling your employer, you could run the risk of them thinking some of you behaviours are disruptive and show lack of interest.
I made the choice of telling my employer of my ADHD. It wasn’t easy as I had already been working for them for quite a long time.
I originally didn’t want to be judged, back then I just wanted to forget that I had it. But as time has gone on I have accepted it and have come to terms with it.
I told them because I wanted them to be aware, as I know how I can lose concentration.
And they took it very well. They accepted it and said if I needed any help they would be more than happy to assist.
How does ADHD affects relationships? Read our post here
2. Find The Right Type Of Job For You If You Can
Yes, I know that we all cant choose which job we take. Beggars can’t be choosers they say. What I mean is, the majority of us know our strengths and weaknesses.
We also know our ADHD.
We know what it lets us do, what it stops us doing, and in what environment it is happy in.
What we struggle with motivation when we are bored.
We become frustrated when our brains aren’t engaged in a task.
It can cause us to be easily distracted or can be really focused on a task that could be hard to shift your attention to something else.
These will make it harder for you to stay on track, which could affect you at work.
Have a think about what you are good at and what you like to do. Can you then think of a job or a career path that involves these things?
By doing this it helps you try to get a job that you could find engaging and cuts the risk of you losing interest and becoming bored and frustrated.
- Some people with ADHD can be very creative, and good problem solvers. So jobs like An Artist, Musician, Builder and Teacher could be ideal.
- We can be very good under pressure and crave a fast pace and a job that every day is different. Maybe, a Policeman, Paramedic, Nurse and Firefighter could be the job for you.
- Some of us are very social and do very well in social environments. So maybe consider a job where you work with people or clients and build relationships. Like a Teacher, Lecturer or a Sales Person.
3. Time Keeping
Does time fly past? Are you always late?
With ADHD we can get caught up in a task or distraction that we lose track of time.
I’m constantly late to work.
But I’m also always late home from work. And I’m always forgetting things. daily I’m leaving for work, starting to drive and then realise I have left something behind and need to go back for it.
How can we keep track of the time so we are not always late?
- I use reminders and calendars I don’t forget appointments/arrangements or other important things.
- Wear a watch. So you can see the time, but don’t have to get your phone out which can start to distract you.
- Have a schedule. Make a morning schedule where you write down all the tasks what you need to do in the morning. Because by seeing them written down, it could make it easier for you to complete and therefore give yourself time to leave for work on time.
4. Work Uniform And/or Equipment
Chances are you could start a job where you will need to wear a uniform. And you might have to use tools or equipment.
I personally have a load of worktops that I need to wear, and I always struggle to find one!
Or I have left them in the corner of my bedroom and they haven’t been washed.
This always happens on a Monday. When I finish up on Friday, and if I’m not working at the weekend I completely forget that I need to wash them so I have clean clothes for Monday.
So how can you make sure you have everything you need?
- Prepare the night before
You know what you will need for the next day, so spend a few minutes getting everything together the night before.
Like, making sure you have your uniform/clothes to hand. So when you wake up you know exactly where it is.
If there is anything you need to take with you do the same.
Get it ready and put it where you know where it is. I like putting things near my front door, so i cant miss it.
- Get up a little bit earlier
Or you could get up a bit earlier, so that you can spend that time preparing for your day.
I like to get up earlier and spend that extra hour preparing what i need. By doing this though i do run the risk of getting distracted.
But by using some of the apps i recommend later, i limit that risk.
Your job could involve using tools or other equipment. Which then brings the risk of losing or misplacing something.
I am forever losing tools. I put them somewhere and forget about them.
Then leave that job, and by the time i miss them (could be weeks later) its too late.
But how can you limit the chance of losing them?
- If you use a tool bag, make sure you put all your tools back when you have finished with them
- If you use other equipment often, like office equipment and instruments, have a place for them that you return them to when you have finished
Why not read our post on, How I do the weekly shop while having ADHD?
5. ADHD Friendly Lists/Apps
Lists and apps can be your friend. But they can also be your enemy.
We can write lists for things to do and things that we mustn’t forget. Then what do we do? We lose them.
Apps can be great, there are many apps that can help people with ADHD. And can even be used at work.
But we run the risk of opening up a website or another app and then becoming distracted.
I have personally given up writing lists now as I always lose them. Or i forget about them.
But writing lists may work for you. Get a note pad, and when you want to remember something you can just write it down.
What apps can be helpful for ADHD at work?
This is my go-to app for lists. I have it on my phone and tablet, which are synced together.
You can make notebooks for a topic, and then make notes, lists and reminder to go inside a notebook.
It is so easy to type in notes, ideas when they come into your head, set reminders and to-do lists.
They have a feature where you can use tick boxes.
I used to clog up my notebooks and it became a bit messy and as a result became hard to keep track of.
Now i delete a note as soon as I am finished with it.
The only calendar app I use.
The reasons why I love this app is, that you can sync your calendar with other people, which makes life easier for me.
I have a calendar for me and Clair, and we share appointments etc so we both are aware. You can set reminders to go off.
The facility to colour coordinate each event makes it easier for me too. I like to see colour. I designate a colour to each type of event.
A sporting event will be blue, work-related will be red, etc.
Brain focus is a time management app that stops you from using your phone and becoming distracted when you have tasks to do.
This app blocks other apps and silences your notifications, with options to disable wifi and keep your phone silent.
This app is very handy for when you need to focus on a certain task.
You can set sessions into blocks of time. And then allocated breaks.
I use this at work or when I need to concentrate, to stop my phone becoming a distraction.
With ADHD this can be very useful as it aids us to knuckle down for certain time frames without having notifications pop up and becoming a problem.
These Apps could benefit you at work. And allow you to focus and remember what needs to be done. Which could be a challenge with ADHD.
ADHD can cause us quite a few problems in life. Problems that could affect us at work.
If you can take anything away from this, with a bit of organising, understanding and the right tools we can succeed at work.
Not everyone enjoys their jobs, but in the right job/career for you, there is no reason why you can’t go far!
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