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Dealing with ADHD at Work

22/01/2018
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ADHD in the Workplace

Focused, organised, patient and has keen attention to certain characteristics – these are some of the qualities that an employer looks for in an employee and in a job candidate. However, when you suffer from ADHD at work, landing a good job can be quite a challenge and be a big hurdle in your life. Having ADHD at work makes it difficult to excel and sometimes be a challenge to just keep your job. Most of you might feel restless and cannot focus clearly  – these are classic symptoms that go along with the disorder. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that you can do so you can find a better job and succeed despite having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Sometimes, having ADHD can also be beneficial for you.

How is ADHD affecting your work?

A rough estimate of about 8 to 9 million American adults suffer from ADHD  and a lot of people who are subjected to similar situations are having a hard time with their jobs.

In fact, a national survey even displayed that only half of adults who are suffering from ADHD are capable of holding down a fulltime job in comparison to 72% of grown-ups who do not have this disorder. Adults with ADHD who have found a job tended to earn lesser compared to what their peers have been earning without the disorder. This job problem roughly translates to a loss of less than $78 billion in lost yearly income.

How ADHD influences your job depends on how severe your disorder is. Adults who are suffering from ADHD tend to have trouble staying on a certain assignment while others could not get through a whole workday without being involved in a huge quarrel with a coworker. Adults who are greatly affected often lose their jobs in the process and end up jumping from one job to another otherwise they need to ask for disability assistance.

ADHD often affects how you do your job in a number of manners. When you find it hard to keep still and if you are not capable of organising, you often find your mind dozing off which will make you highly unfocused during a meeting. Thus, keeping track of tasks and deadlines would be a great hurdle for you to handle.

A study displayed that people who are suffering from ADHD often have a hard time being attentive, remembering things, mentally processing and being fluent in verbal communications. When you suffer from ADHD, you might find it hard to:

  • Control time
  • Be organised
  • Be attentive
  • Obey instructions
  • Complete tasks
  • Be punctual to work
  • Keep still
  • Keep your feelings under wraps

ADHD oftentimes lead to unhappiness and creates a low self-esteem for the individual. Whenever you can’t finish a job on a given deadline and are not capable of completing that task on schedule, the feelings worse.

How to get and keep a job with ADHD?

If you are frequently restless, unable to concentrate and are starting to show other symptoms yet have never been formally diagnosed with ADHD then the first step should be to go and see a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of adult ADHD. They can help you determine if you really do have it and if you do, then you can start on the right treatment plan for you.

Mostly, you get better through medication, therapy or both. Nowadays, there are organizational strategies with which you can learn from a coach and begin to practice. If you are about to go job hunting, then it would be best for you to work with a career adviser to help you find a job that would really suit your interests, needs and your capabilities.

Tips on the Job

Once you have already landed a job, you can try out these tips:

Finding Peace: Ask to be assigned to a serene space so you won’t be distracted.

Buddying Up: Work with someone who is well-organised and someone who is willing to help you through projects from start to finish.

Booking It: You must keep a daily planner with a calendar and list of things to do. Remember to update it most of the time and set up your phone to send you reminders for deadlines or meetings.

Writing it down: You must take notes during a meeting or during a phone conversation and remember to add your newest tasks to your to-do-list.

Scheduling an interruption: Set aside a specific time every day wherein you answer your voicemails and emails so that they won’t interrupt your responsibilities at work.

Setting a realistic goal: You must learn how to break up your days into a series of individual assignments and try to tackle one assignment at a time.

Delegating: If you can, you see to it to get an assistant to take care of small details so that you would be able to focus on the bigger picture.

Relaxing and making it a habit: It would be best to practice relaxation techniques that could help you concentrate better. Meditation or deep breathing are areas that you might want to explore. You can also get up every once in a while to take a walk, drink a glass of water or just talk to a coworker.

For you to be able to adjust rightly with your new job, you can enlist the help of a career counsellor since they can offer you guidance on any issues regarding the job that you might encounter.

Positive Side of ADHD at Work

Since ADHD is considered a disability which is under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act requires a company to accommodate your needs which means they won’t be able to discriminate you on the basis of your condition. However, you must be comfortable enough to inform your employer that you are suffering from ADHD. It would also be better if you research more with regards to ADHD prior to discussing it with your boss so you would have a plan.

Lastly, learn to take advantage of the benefits that can come with ADHD. Being restless, impulsive and having this urge to try new things might become a great asset. The trick in succeeding is in finding a career that is the best fit for your interests. In doing so, you can channel your energy, creativity and strengths in making the most out of your job.

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