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Career Monday: Dealing with ADHD at Work

Does your boss keep giving you the same feedback? You need to follow instructions and pay more attention to details. These could be signs that you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

More than 8 million adults struggle with ADHD. If you’re one of them, you may have trouble keeping track of multiple projects or even showing up for work on time. The symptoms can vary widely in intensity, and many cases go undiagnosed.

While ADHD can make getting and keeping a job more difficult, there are coping strategies and other resources that can help. Find out more about how to deal with ADHD at work.

How to Deal with ADHD in the Workplace:

1. Limit distractions. A quiet environment will help you to focus. If you don’t have access to a private office, maybe you can work in a conference room or turn your desk to the wall. Minimize interruptions too, like checking phone messages and email.

2. Clear away clutter. Is your phone buried under piles of paper? Tidying up will save time looking for lost items and reduce anxiety.

3. Plan your schedule. Managing time can be tough when you have ADHD. Use an app or a paper appointment diary to block out time for activities and meetings. Check your to do list during the day to ensure that you stay on track.

4. Create reminders. You can also use technology or post-it notes to jog your memory. Set an alarm for staff meetings and write yourself messages about filling out timesheets and sending your boss a birthday card.

5. Move around. Relieve restlessness by taking breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk at lunch. Make phone calls standing up.

6. Change roles. Maybe you can develop a career geared toward your personality. Many adults with ADHD flourish as entrepreneurs, using their creativity and energy.

7. Boost your self-esteem. While you’re finding your path, remember that ADHD can be frustrating. It can also cause misunderstandings with your colleagues. Build your confidence by taking care of your health and advocating for yourself.

How to Find More Help for ADHD:

1. Tell your boss. ADHD is a condition recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you’re comfortable discussing your situation with your supervisor or HR representative, you may be able to arrange accommodations to make your work life more comfortable and productive.

2. Consider disability benefits. If your symptoms are so severe that they prevent you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. Working with a lawyer can help you understand the process.

3. Talk with your doctor. It’s important to get diagnosed if you think you may have ADHD. That way your physician can recommend an appropriate treatment plan and helpful lifestyle changes.

4. Consider medication. ADHD can often be managed with a combination of therapy and drugs. Your doctor may prescribe stimulants, as well antidepressants. If you’re unable to take stimulants, there are alternatives such as atomoxetine.

5. Join a support group. As much as your family and friends try to help you, you may still want to talk with others who have similar symptoms and experiences. Organizations like Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) can help you find self-help groups online and in your community.

6. Find a coach. What if you need some assistance with implementing what you learn? Working with a coach who specializes in ADHD can help you master new lifestyle skills.

Some very successful business leaders and celebrities have used their ADHD to their advantage, and so can you. Think of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad or Olympic champion Simone Biles. Find a career that suits your strengths and ask for help when you need it.

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