Learn how to thrive with ADHD at work!

Slay Like a Boss and Manage ADHD at Work


Adult ADHD is both a gift and a curse. When you’re hyper-focused and inspired, the workday flies by and productivity soars. You feel like you can accomplish anything, and you do! You’re like a ninja at work, zooming through tasks with the speed of light, ideas flowing like a waterfall of creativity. Then there are those times when you are either too hyper or frazzled to focus on anything, zone out in a meeting because it’s all too much info and return to your desk completely daunted and unable to prioritize or even get started.

Yes, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can feel like a rollercoaster ride of productivity highs and focus lows. But, with the right strategies, you can navigate the professional world and thrive. Check out our tips on how to be productive with ADHD at work, so your desk doesn’t feel like a puzzle you can't solve.

Some Adult ADHD Stats

Learn about Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Source: CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2.6% (139.8 million) of adults globally suffer from persistent ADHD from childhood. And it's been rising. In 2022, the CDC reported a 43% increase in adult ADHD in ten years. Further, Adult ADHD is linked to a significant economic burden, contributing approximately $122.8 billion to the total societal excess cost. This is attributed to factors such as unemployment, productivity loss, and healthcare services.

Per WebMD, people with ADHD experience lower activity of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters in the areas of the brain responsible for attention control. The precise cause of this chemical imbalance is not fully understood by researchers, but there is a belief that genes may contribute to ADHD, as it frequently appears to run in families. Let's dive into what you can do to thrive at work and in your life in general!

Accept Your ADHD and Unleash Your Inner Maverick

ADHDers are creative out-of-the-box thinkers

You know whenever you fight something in your mind, it tends to become bigger and trickier to manage, taking on a life of its own? The same is true with ADHD. It has its challenges, but it also makes you unique and comes with extraordinary gifts. People with ADHD are creative out-of-the-box thinkers in both creative and corporate settings. For instance, Bill Gates famously dropped out of Harvard over his struggles with ADHD and went on to found Microsoft!

They are adventurers, explorers, and innovators. Because your brain gets easily bored and distracted (Oooh, TikTok meme! Flashing lights! A cute cat!), you are always seeking out new experiences and knowledge. People with ADHD are also great at multi-tasking and thriving under pressure. When they are focused and keenly interested, they are super passionate about their work!

So, the first step towards success is accepting and embracing your ADHD. Understand that your brain works differently, and that's okay. Embracing your ADHD can lead to a more positive mindset and increased self-acceptance.

Embrace your uniqueness

ADHDers are creative, innovative, and adventurous

ADHDers are fantastic multitaskers

Develop a Structure and Become a Rebel with a Cause

Overwhelmed by ADHD? Develop a structure

On the one hand, we reject structure and even rebel against it. On the other hand, deep down, we know we need it to thrive. Thus, embrace that the idea of establishing a structure is neither tedious nor limiting but immensely beneficial for people with ADHD. The Mayo Clinic recommends establishing a consistent structure, including specific times for work, breaks, and tasks. Use tools like Apps or digital calendars to help you stay organized and on track. The best structures to stick to are creating morning and evening routines, so you have something to bookend your day and "hold it together."

Make sure you don’t add too many tasks and to-dos to your list because that could backfire and feel overwhelming and daunting. Use an app to help you plan with routines, tasks, and time for breaks, or sit down on a Sunday afternoon and create your plan of action. A low-dopamine morning routine could include setting the alarm for the same time every day, drinking a glass of water, and doing a mini-yoga session, or a breathing exercise to feel grounded. An evening routine might include a stretch, a cup of tea, and banning your phone from the bedroom.

Establish a consistent schedule

Don't pile on too many To Dos

Create A.M. and P.M. routines

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps and Micro-Manage Like a Pro

ADHD? Learn to micro-manage like a pro

Next, use an App like Neuromodus or Clarify ADHD or a digital planner and write down just three main tasks you need to accomplish at work today. The longer the to-do list, the less likely you’ll be to follow through. So keep it short and sweet. If you work from home, sit down at your desk and mentally clock in at the same time every day. Separate your work time from "me" time. It's time to focus!

Big tasks can be overwhelming for individuals with ADHD. Break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This not only makes work more approachable but helps maintain focus and motivation throughout the process. Every time you accomplish a task on your shortlist, check it off and get rewarded with a little dopamine boost. And as we all know, us ADHDers are suckers for feel-good hormones!

If you feel overwhelmed at work, try this exercise we learned from a cognitive restructuring coach. Close your eyes and picture each overwhelming thought or task as a slogan on a T-shirt. Try and see it with your mind’s eye. Then take it off and toss it into a bin in the corner. Do this for a few seconds or minutes until you run out of stressful tasks! There, much easier!

Focus on three main tasks

Try a mind exercise

Use Apps like Neuromodus or Clarify ADHD to manage your day

Prioritize, Set Clear Goals and Conquer the Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix

People with ADHD can get easily distracted or feel like they’re having so many thoughts and ideas all at once, they start to blur or form what feels like a ball of chaos. Tasks you need to accomplish at work sometimes just get sucked into that simultaneously exciting and frustrating matrix. Therefore, prioritization is essential when managing ADHD at work. Identify your most important tasks and set clear, achievable goals.

Use techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance, allowing you to focus on what truly matters. The Eisenhower Matrix, known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, can help you prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. It gets its name from Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States.

The Eisenhower Matrix divides tasks into 4 quadrants:

1. Urgent and Important: Tasks that require immediate attention and are crucial to your goals should be addressed first. Period.

2. Important but Not Urgent: Tasks that contribute to your long-term goals but don't require immediate action. Schedule time for these tasks.

3. Urgent but Not Important: Tasks that demand immediate attention but don't necessarily contribute a whole lot to your goals. Delegate or minimize time spent.

4. Not Urgent and Not Important: Tasks that are neither urgent nor important. Eliminate or postpone!

Incorporate Breaks & Energy Boost Pit Stops

Dealing with ADHD? Remember to take breaks at work to recharge and focus

Allow yourself short breaks during the day to recharge. Enjoying brief pauses can help prevent burnout and enhance your overall productivity. Use this time (even just ten minutes) to engage in activities that help relax your mind, such as stretching, deep breathing exercises, listening to music or a podcast, or taking a short walk.

Also, do not neglect regular breaks for meals and snacks. You might be on a roll and not feel like stopping your workflow, but do take time for lunch, so you don’t crash later. Alternatively, if you feel blah, uninspired, and short on dopamine, you might just need a high-energy, high-protein snack to get your amazing brain jumpstarted again!

Take frequent breaks to recharge

Don't forget meals and snacks

Engage in activities that calm your mind during off-time

The Bottom Line

Embrace your ADHD, unlock your unique strengths and gifts, and ride the productivity rollercoaster with complete confidence! Establish a structure, break tasks into smaller steps, prioritize like a pro, and take regular breaks to keep your momentum going. Your ADHD is not a burden; it's the secret sauce for innovation and creativity. Let the adventure begin — slay in the professional realm and turn your 9-5 into an awesome and productive day! 🌟 #ADHDProTips #ProductivityMastery



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