Career Advice for Job Seekers

Tips for navigating your ADHD when working

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
April 19, 2023

Navigating the challenges of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is difficult for many, especially in the workplace. Whether remote or in-person, office settings can have many distractions, making it hard to focus regardless of whether you have ADHD or not. In today’s work environment, it’s harder than ever to focus attention when needed. 

According to a recent study from Skynova, just 47% of workers with ADHD feel that their work environment suits their unique needs. This speaks to the need for a broader understanding of ADHD and organizational changes within companies to better accommodate employees with ADHD, and this is something that needs addressing across industries. 

Until then, if you’re struggling with ADHD at work (as are 2 in 3 American employees, according to Skynova’s study), there are some simple ways to manage it that can be very impactful.

One suggestion that may be useful is to create a private space for yourself whenever possible. If you work in an office and have a private office space to yourself, close the door to block noise and keep out any distractions that could come up. If you work remotely, try working in a quiet room at home rather than a coffee shop or co-working space so that you can be free of any distractions.

As for the common ADHD symptom of hyperactivity, making sure you take breaks is extremely important. Taking time throughout your day for breaks is the best way to manage the feeling of being unsettled or unable to relax in a work or meeting environment. Taking a walk can help to relieve tension, but when that’s not possible, even just occasionally stepping away from your workspace has its benefits.

Organizational habits can be hard to foster when you have ADHD, but doing so can be immensely helpful as well. That’s partly because staying organized can help you improve your time management abilities. And since 86% of workers with ADHD have problems focusing or managing their time at work, organization is especially important. Here are a few tips that may make it easier: 

  • Create a document where you can take notes throughout your day
  • Create a to-do list and update it as you encounter new tasks and assignments
  • Schedule breaks by setting alarms
  • Specify certain times of day for certain tasks (aka time blocking)

ADHD can feel like an impossible struggle in the workplace, but there are ways to make it easier. With small actions like organizing, finding space for breaks, and working in quiet environments, you can cultivate a productive work environment for yourself and help your colleagues better understand your access needs at the same time. It’s a way to advocate for yourself and create the environment that you need at your own pace. Working looks different for everyone, regardless of how their brain works, so going at your own speed is essential. Taking these steps is a great way to start figuring out what that might look like for you.

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