March 11, 2018 at 12:04 pm #78687
I really need some help… So I’ve been working retail at a pet store for the last 3 years. Despite it being retail, I actually have a decent job that works for me. I love
working with animals so I am very motivated, I enjoy cleaning and organizing (I wish I could apply that at home!), I’m constantly doing things and never forced to stand still (I’m never on the register), and all my managers say I have great customer service.
Even though I have a lot of positives that help with my ADHD, I still have some major struggles. My job requires me to open the Pet Care department every morning (5 days a week) which includes feeding, watering, and giving any meds to sick animals properly, then do all the bedding changes (there is already a set weekly schedule for that which is great), and provide customer service at the same time.
I can usually get a lot of stuff done, but now I’m biting off more than I can chew. I used to always have at least 2 people that I could count on to help get things done from my old teams in the past. My current team is fine, but they forget a lot of small things that end up being super important. I feel like I can’t rely on anyone so I end up taking on more projects and tasks because I don’t trust that these animals will be taken care of the right way, or I’m the one that gets screwed over and I end up being forced to do tasks that should have been done already.
My biggest problem now is that my ADHD is making it difficult to complete my original tasks, let alone all the added stuff. I find myself forgetting a lot more items so I’m constantly running back and forth grabbing things, which wastes time, I end up forgetting important things because I’m trying to get the bedding change of the day done, I have multiple overload moments where I panic because I don’t know what to do first, that leads to a lot more procrastination which wastes more time. THEN add the constant customer distractions and animal shipments that come in that I have to take care
of immediately on top of all that and I’m a complete mess…
All my lists and preparations aren’t working
anymore and I don’t know what other strategies I can do… I try so hard to come up with task strategies that might work, but I always forget something, or I think something is going to take less time than it actually does (even when I try to account for it), or I’ll be doing great and then I get super busy with customers and nothing gets done. I can’t eliminate the main distractions that kill my productivity (customers) so I already have a big obstacle as it is. I’m tired of feeling like a failure and I’m tired of wasting hours of my time trying to come up with strategies that end up not working.
Any help would be appreciated.
March 11, 2018 at 6:35 pm #78699
Oh my goodness – that was exactly me 6 years ago. I had already been working for an animal hospital for 13 years. I absolutely loved my job and woke up everyday with a smile on my face. During that last year though, I felt I was unravelling. I didn’t know I was dealing with ADD yet. It seemed, each morning, I would confess to my friend, who was one of our veterinarians, that I always seem to be exhausted and overwhelmed by everyday routines. On top of that, I had a witchy colleague (hired by the owner/main vet of the hospital who knew her through his very beloved church) who kept an eye on me all day, complaining regularly to my boss/her friend from church that I don’t pull my weight, I’m forgetful, I don’t always do a thorough job of preparing for the next days appointments before I go home, etc. – which, to me, was unfathomable. I had regularly, through the years, often been complimented by the veterinarians and clients alike and told that I would be irreplaceable. Well, after yet another oocasion of my witchy colleague talking behind my back (if I didn’t supply her with any gunfire, she’d invent her own or would over exaggerate any problem I have/had). I personally, always thought she didn’t like me because I had such a good rapport with many of our clients – jealousy). On this occasion, I just blew up. I know my forgetfulness seemed to be getting worse but I always said that I would quit once it would (if ever) get to the point that I could endanger an animal in our care. Now, since my colleague decided to call me out again, I just exploded and decided on that day, to quit my beloved job. Since then, it took me another three years to find out why I always seemed exhausted. My psychiatrist (treating me for depression and anxiety) had a new theory – it could be sleep apnea. I thought, because I didn’t snore, the visit to a sleep clinic would be a waste of time. I have severe sleep apnea!!! For years, I always wanted to sleep on my side, but because I was struggling with (chronic)inflamed rotator cuffs from years of lugging huge bags of dog food, lifting big dogs onto the surgery tables, etc., I could not comfortably sleep on my side without hurting my tender shoulders. And, when I tried sleeping on my back, I was informed that my throat closes off my breathing. So – in other words – I was always tossing and turning the whole nights through without getting any proper restful sleep!!!
Now that that problem was solved, I had to find out why I could never relax, concentrate on tasks properly, forget things so easily. That answer came a year later – I HAVE ADD!!! I know when I first heard that and wholeheartedly agreed after hearing the symptoms, I must have cried for at least an hour.
With this story, I just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one going through this. And, because you also used the word “overwhelmed”, maybe part of those feelings also due to sleep apnea. Do yourself a favour and get it checked out! I wish you all the best! I have not gone back to a full time job since the animal hospital. I now volunteer three days a week at my local humane society which I love doing – lots of TLC with the four leggers and socializing with other animal lovers!
Unfortunately, since the day I found out that I have ADD, nothing has made my ADD any easier to live with. Since trying many ADD drugs unsuccessfully, I am back to the first ADD drug I was ever on – generic Ritalin, and still do not believe it is effectful. Has anybody out there had any huge success with their ADD drugs?
March 12, 2018 at 12:34 pm #78778
It sounds like you may have tried a checklist but it’s not working for you now? Changing it up might help… are there tasks you can move around into a different order? Can you change the format of your checklist? Or maybe it’s time for more of a quality control checklist — a list you work through after you are finished with routine tasks to check and make sure you completed everything and did it well? Newness is often a motivator of the ADHD brain, so, when newness wears off, attention and motivation wane. You sound very motivated to do well at your job, but you may need to change things up from time to time to help your brain stay engaged.
I’m also wondering if you can listen to music while you are doing tasks that don’t involve interaction, even if it’s just an earbud in one ear. Rhythm can help with focus tremendously, and music can help tasks feel less mundane. My husband and both my kids have to have music on all the time to focus and such.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
March 12, 2018 at 5:09 pm #78825
I was actually on a low dose of Focalin when I was first diagnosed at age 15. My psychiatrist worked with me to improve my time management skills and try to wean me off the meds if I could. I worked really hard and was actually able to be off of my meds near the end of my senior year of high school. That was about 8 years ago. These past 2 years, though, I’ve felt like my ADHD has gotten worse so I’m working on trying to get back on my old meds to see if I can level the playing feild again.
We have a set daily task checklist that I’m technically not supposed to deviate from, but my managers don’t care if I change it up because they know I am doing my job and I’m not trying to weasel out of doing work. I’ve tried a bunch of different checklists by moving tasks around, but I still get stuck doing tasks that I shouldn’t be working on (but I’m the only one that does them so they have to get done).
I wish I could listen to music! That’s how I got through high school and college homework. However, I can only listen to music an hour before the store opens. There is music playing in the store, which helps (especially since I lived through a time when our store did not have any music!), but it’s pretty easy to tune out because I can’t always hear it.
When I’m doing the bedding changes in the back rooms (where our new animals and separate room where sick animals are in) I will have either Coroline or Moana playing on my phone as background noise. But I can’t do that on those bedding change days where the animals are out on the sales floor.
I went ahead and did a Mind Map on paper to see if I could figure out where I was tripping myself up most. I found that a lot of my problems stem from trying to make too many on the spot decisions which kept fluctuating my priorities. So when I first start, I had my check list in order of priority, but then something will happen that I didn’t expect (like finding a sick animal that needs to be isolated) and then ALL of my priorities will change in an instant in a completely different order. Then I’ll start second guessing those as I’m going along and they’ll change again and again.
I actually did try something new today to see if I could help myself. Instead of doing things in sections like normal, I broke everything down by simple tasks and put those tasks into rounds. So instead of getting everything I need to do for the hamsters, then birds, then reptiles, then the back rooms, then the bedding change, I broke it down into rounds: Round 1 is feeding hamsters, birds, the reptiles that eat crickets, putting clean dishes away, then 3 tasks of the bedding change. Round 2 would be going back around and giving everyone water, then a clean up task, then 3 bedding change tasks.
The system actually worked pretty well. But it’s only been one day, one type of bedding change, and there are still some very fine tuning that needs to happen.
I’m still curious to see what other strategies others have tried! It’s nice to have a support group to brainstorm with! Thank you for helping me so far!
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