Of course, everyone has challenges at work.
However, as an adult with ADHD, you may have greater struggles than your colleagues with issues, like:
- details and instructions
- getting places on time
- stopping and starting tasks
There are steps I have outlined below that you can take to address these challenges and create a better work environment for yourself.
To cover the widest range of applicable topics, this article is a mix of new writing and links to a few of my old articles.
Getting To Work On Time:
Getting to work on time sets the stage for the rest of your day. So, if this is one of your challenges, check out Are You Tired of Being Late.
Maybe you can get yourself to work, but your mojo is missing. (You can read more about The Disappearing Mojo here)
Getting started and following through on your work tasks is a typical challenge for many with ADHD. But completing tasks is much harder when you are also not motivated because you do not see the value in doing a task!
Do you use self talk, like “I should,” “I must” or “I need to” to try to get yourself started? Do you chastise yourself with phrases like, “I’m so dumb” or “I can’t believe I did that again.”
If you are like most of us, this type of self talk will not motivate you. In fact, you will likely become even more resistant to doing your work.
But when you can tap into a reason that resonates for you for doing the various tasks associated with your job, you may find the encouragement you need.
“I want to prepare for the meeting because I want to be seen as a valued member of the team.”
“I want to return the calls in timely way because I value being dependable”
Before you try strategies to help you focus, consider whether you need to address motivation, first.
Then the next step is identifying your challenges and the strategies to address these challenges.
For example, if noise hinders your ability to attend when doing particular tasks, consider whether you can find a quiet space to work so you can concentrate better.
At other times, you may have trouble focusing because you do not have a plan. Without one you may struggle because:
- the work seems too overwhelming.
- you are unsure if you can do a particular task.
- you are not sure where to start on a large project.
Create a plan where the tasks are broken down into discrete doable chunks. Then schedule time to do these steps; you can read more on how to do this in Want A Better Memory? Follow These Three Key Steps.
Be sure to include enough “white space,” time in between tasks, in your plan. Doing so will give you the time you need to collect your thoughts and prepare and be present for the next activity.
Once you have a plan, actually transitioning from one task to another can be a challenge. Using a timer to signal you to stop and move on can be helpful.
But what about interruptions?! Yes, they are an unavoidable part of a work place. And when focus is already a challenge, they can really throw you off your game.
Do you say what you mean and hear what they intended?
Communication comes in many forms at work. It could be 1-1 meetings or group meetings.
First, always take notes. This will help you
- pay attention
- have a record to refer to later
- write down your thoughts and questions during the meeting so that you can decide when to speak up. You will not feel the need to interrupt for fear of forgetting what you want to say.
From your notes add all new tasks to your to-do list and time sensitive commitments to your calendar. It is best to do it right away or at least that day.
If there is any chance of miscommunication, be sure to reflect back instructions or details of a conversation in order to clarify your understanding.
As email plays an important role in communicating, it critical to have a system for keeping on top of this. Check out Streamlining your Email for tips on managing your in-box.
Of course, controlling your emotions at work is critical. Look at this article, Follow These Steps, to learn more about how to manage your emotions, especially if you can be impulsive.
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
The first step is identify your reasons, motivation, for addressing the challenges you have at work. Once you do this, the second step is identify the strategies that will help you minimize these challenges.
And, if you think the support of an ADD Coach may help you, contact me to set up a complimentary Strategy Session to find out more about my services.