Adults who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) often find themselves struggling in workplaces. They can struggle with basic work duties and essential routines. Neurotypical people thrive on executive function, including:
- working memory
- emotion control
- task initiation
- time management
- defining and achieving goals
- stress tolerance
Executive function skills enable workers to plan, remember and multitask. However, people with ADHD cannot manage these things. ADHD in adults is characterised by fidgeting, irritability, inability to focus, forgetfulness, difficulty remembering, anxiety, mood swings, short attention spans, and insomnia.
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Adults with ADHD often risk job loss when they join the workforce because they can’t apply most executive function skills. A study found that 2.58% of adults have ADHD. But many people in the global south remain undiagnosed. An ADHD diagnosis may not necessarily fix things. ADHD treatments can help, but medications may not always be responsive to some patients. As a result, ADHD can affect job security, relationships, and how people feel about themselves.
What can adults with ADHD do to manage their jobs better
Adults diagnosed with the disorder or suspect that they have it will need specific skills to help them manage their condition. The lack of performance can lead to self-recrimination and depression. One of the other effects of the condition is a fear of criticism and negative remarks, even if they come from the patient.
1. Be honest with your employer
One thing adults with ADHD can do is disclose their diagnosis to their employers to come up with a friendlier schedule. A good employer should be able to work with what you’re capable of if it means letting you work different working blocks and not follow traditional schedules. If you feel your position can be compromised, break down your workload into manageable loads.
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2. Create personalised schedules
Using spreadsheets or specialised apps to list any tasks that need doing. This prevents forgetfulness and enables planning. Using personalised schedules can be treated as being uncooperative in an unfriendly workplace. It may be best to run it in conjunction with the official schedule. Most people have personal systems for diaries. Additionally, you can tell your peers it’s an online version of your calendar if they accuse you of needing special treatment.
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3. Avoid masking
Adults with ADHD may struggle with an established workflow. Usually, they may choose to mask. This means concealing parts of their personality so that they know who they need to impress to keep their jobs. But it’s not sustainable and leads to mental exhaustion. With a supervisor who isn’t accommodating, you can also start the work earlier to meet deadlines by the time they are needed.
4. Look for inclusive job listings
You can also look for a job placement that recognises ADHD as a disability and can accommodate you. Some managers are also willing to learn about diversity and inclusivity. With the reduced stigma of mental illness, you may be lucky to find a workplace that can work with your condition.
5. Design your ways to focus
Try to find ways to focus. For some, it’s chewing gum. For others, it’s noise-cancelling headphones or music. An office that lets you sit in a comfortable workspace or lets you work from home where possible can go a long way toward helping you stay in your groove and be productive.
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