Quick Tips for working with ADHD
Choose a job that you enjoy doing. PET brain imaging shows that there is a decreased activity of the reward system in persons with ADHD. It is believed that this makes it harder for people with the disorder to engage in activities they do not find inherently interesting. To stay engaged, people with ADHD need to be involved in activities they enjoy doing. Make sure you are pursing work you enjoy. In many cases, people with ADHD do not do well in jobs that are repetitive or require great attention to detail. Think about the kind of work you like to do and pursue jobs that will allow you to do that.
Think about your work environment. The physical space you work in everyday can make a huge difference. If you are an active person and enjoy the outdoors, you may need to work in a job that lets you stay out in the elements. If you enjoy the structure of a real office, you will want to pursue a position that puts you indoors. A fast-paced environment keeps most ADHD people stimulated, focused and productive.
Use a reward system. After you tackle a significant number of tasks that are inherently uninteresting to you, try to reward yourself with something you enjoy doing. For example, an hour of work could translate into ten minutes of checking a personal email account or taking a walk outdoors. Think outside of the box when it comes to tapping your reward system. Remember: First you work, then you play.
Prepare lists. Keep a running list of your tasks and deadlines. Quickly review and prioritize them based on the dates of deadlines and the amount of work they will require. The list needs to be kept in the same place day after day so you do not misplace it!
Plan each day the night before. Take 30 minutes every night to think about the next day. Grab your planner, review it, and walk yourself through the day. For every meeting, visualize what you will need. Start with basics such as pen, pencil, paper, etc. Drop those items in a sack or box as you think of them. Place the bag with your belongings in front of the door you walk through each morning, so you don’t forget what you need for the day.
Surround yourself with the right people. Have a support system at work. Identify coworkers who have strengths that compliment you and try to work closely with them. The key is to surround yourself with good people who can help you make the contributions that only a very unique you can make.
Exercise Research shows that regular exercise is good for us physically and mentally. It can relieve stress and improve focus for people with ADHD. People who exercise regularly often report feeling a sense of accomplishment which builds self-esteem and instills discipline, both of which are extremely important to people with ADHD.
Utilize Technology From checking your spelling to organizing your day, there are a number of technological devices, apps, etc. that can help you succeed in the workplace. Consider using your smartphone to schedule reminders for yourself, keep track of contact information, or to record meetings.
Schedule Office Hours To avoid constant interruption from colleagues, consider designating time during the day for meetings. Of course, if your boss wants to meet you need to do that, but for others you may be able to block out a window of time each day for meetings and dedicate the rest of the day to getting things done.
Excerpted and summarized from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=ADHD&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=106390