Productivity at Work

Ten Keys to Conquering ADHD in the Office

Time management and organization help for adults who want to conquer ADHD at the office and advance at work.

ADHD at Work: Time Management
ADHD at Work: Time Management

If you’re ready to climb the corporate ladder but feel like someone tore the steps to success out of your company handbook, don’t worry. Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) often encounter procrastination, communication, and organization problems both professionally and personally, but that doesn’t have to mean you’re perpetually doomed to entry-level work.

ADHD can indeed cause problems at work, but here are ten ways you can conquer them:

1. Communicate Clearly

Ask questions to understand your assignment fully. Repeat directions that you are given to make sure you have heard them correctly. Ask for specific deadlines, so you know that what is being asked is really doable. If not, address the issue immediately. Do not wait until it is too late and you are forced to bring work home.

2. Get a Handle on Procrastination

Don’t let perfectionism thwart your ability to get things done. Ask yourself how you can make it quick and simple. Try bulleting items in memos and calling instead of e-mailing.

3. Limit the Length of Phone Conversations

Time flies when we’re on the phone. A call that should take five minutes can easily turn into 45. Preface each call with a time limit by starting out with, “Hi, Thomas. I have only five minutes, but I wanted to give you a quick call to let you know…” The person on the other end will most likely respond appropriately by making their comments short and to the point.

[Free Resource: How to Manage Your Time at Work]

4. Use Only One Time-Management System

Use the same time management system for both work and everyday appointments. Differentiate work meetings and personal events with different colors in your digital calendar. Or, if you prefer paper, choose one convenient location at work and one at home to put your planner, so you always know where it is. This location is as important as the hook for your keys. You do have a key hook, don’t you?

5. Check Your Agenda Several Times a Day

All busy people need to do this. Set a timer if you think you might get engrossed in an activity and forget to go to a scheduled meeting. Make it a habit to check your schedule each and every time you get a cup of coffee, take out the garbage, or collect the mail. Habits form by consistency and frequency.

6. Work at Professional Development

Twice a year, pick one professional or social skill to improve upon. For example, being a good conversationalist can be learned, but it takes practice. So practice giving others a chance to respond and wait for them to finish before reacting. Most of all, ask a trusted friend what areas she thinks you need to improve on to become more professional and socially adept.

7. Learn to Delegate

Decide what others can do for you and let them do it. Moving ahead often means mastering the fine art of delegating. Draw up lists of things others can do to help you move things along, and things you must do yourself. This works well at home, too.

[How to Delegate Your To-Do List]

8. Keep Your Private Life Private

Don’t broadcast your personal business at work, or let excessive family responsibilities and phone calls make a bad impression on your boss.

9. Let Your Work Stay at Work

Likewise, leave your work worries at your desk when you clock out for the day. All your responsibilities will still be there tomorrow morning, and you may even feel like doing them if you’ve had a chance to spend time on what’s important to you outside of work.

10. Put Your Personal Health First

Let your mental and physical health come first. Find work that is meaningful to you personally, and watch the weekdays fly by. Can’t cut the dullness or stress from your job environment? Nourish yourself at home with hobbies you enjoy. Take time for yourself whenever possible, using the weekends to rejuvenate your spirit — and use those vacation days!

[The Best Planners to Suit Any Organizational Style]