FOOD & FITNESS / MAY. 18, 2014
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How to Control ADHD at Work Without Medication

If you or someone you know has ADHD, you will be aware of the everyday challenges. Although it is most commonly seen in children, it can continue into adulthood. Adult ADHD can be extremely overwhelming within the workplace. There are several ways to control ADHD so that you can make your career and day-to-day work experience more productive and enjoyable.

Medication is not always the answer. In fact, medication tends to mask symptoms, not help them. Self-help is a great place to start. If you need further assistance, there are professionals that can help you. 

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyper-activity disorder creates challenges for individuals in terms of being able to focus and control their behaviour. Around 4% of people experience ADHD symptoms, affecting both men and women equally.

ADHD within adults can sometimes be hard to diagnose. If your job is a fast-paced environment, you may be able to find ways to hide your symptoms. With that being said, there will definitely be distinct symptoms.

Symptoms of ADHD

  1. Being highly restless. It can be a challenge to sit still for long periods of time.
  2. Issues with organisation. This can be anything from planning activities; to organising finances.
  3. Forgetting about day-to-day commitments and meetings.
  4. Trouble starting projects, especially those that involve high levels of focus.
  5. Being inattentive, which has been seen to harm relationships.
  6. Being drawn to highly stimulating, high-risk activities (e.g. skydiving, gambling, etc).
  7. Struggle with repetitive tasks.
  8. Being impulsive. This can apply to everyday situations as well as within the workplace (e.g. quitting without thinking through the consequences).

ADHD and Your Career

Unfortunately, ADHD can cause issues when trying to develop a career. Here are some of the ways in which ADHD affects you as an employee.

  • Feelings of underachievement not only affect self-esteem, but can inhibit your success in the workplace. 
  • You may experience difficulties when trying to keep a job. It is hard to build a career, when you do not stay at one position for very long. 
  • Following rules within the workplace may be a challenge. This will lead back into not being able to keep a job. Rules are meant to be followed, so this can be a threat to your career. 
  • Time management is a real concern, therefore meeting deadlines is not generally successful.
  • Sticking to a specific schedule can be challenging. If your work day is a 9-5 routine, this may be an issue for you.
  • Depending on the position; you will struggle in terms of finances. Paying bills on time, losing paperwork, and accumulating debt due to impulsive spending, are all common. 
  • It may be hard to handle relationships at work, especially if a boss is nagging you. 

Tips on Controlling ADHD at Work

Here are some self-help tips to control your ADHD at work:

  1. Control Impulses: If you suffer from ADHD, you may be prone to speak before you think. This can have negative consequences in terms of your work environment. It may also hinder relationships at work, which can make your days more challenging. The first step is acknowledging the scenarios where you may speak out inappropriately. When you feel as though you're about to say something that may hurt someone's feelings, or jeopardize your job; take a big breath. Try to think about how your next action may affect your future.
  2. Start to Focus on Structure: Start getting into the habit of keeping your desk organised. Learn what you can discard, and what's important to keep. Keeping your work space clean and clear will benefit your thought processes. Begin making lists, what needs to be done? Make routines for yourself. Structure is very important in terms of being successful, with or without ADHD.
  3. Staying on Schedule: If you suffer from ADHD, you know that time seems to slip away from you. Get a clock for your desk, and be more conscious of time. Set time frames for yourself so that you can try and stay more focused. They key here is giving yourself more time than you think you'll need. That way, if you get a touch distracted, you have time to make up for those distractions.
  4. Learn How to Prioritize: Try to weigh out what needs to be done. What is most important? Begin to focus on one task at a time. Complete that one task before moving onto the next.
  5. Position Yourself Accordingly: If possible, try and set up your work station away from distractions. For instance, it is not a great idea to be positioned by a window with a lot going on outside. It is crucial to stay focused; the fewer the distractions, the better.
  6. Make Sure You're Eating Right: What you eat can highly affect your ADHD. It is a good idea to eat small meals throughout the day. Try to limit your intake of sugar, as well as caffeine.
  7. Seek Out Professional Assistance: You do not necessarily need to take medication. Professionals can help you reach your goals, and get you on track. With professional help you can; increase productivity at work, manage your emotions, learning how to effectively communicate, control your impulses, become more organised, and learn how to manage your time. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, don't worry. It doesn't need to run your life. You can begin to take the proper measures to increase your chances of success. Begin by focusing on some of the tips above. Through these tips, you will not only be able to hold a job, you'll be able to advance in your career. 

Photo credit: Flickr

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