How to Focus at Work with ADHD
Updated: May 3
If you suffer from untreated adult ADHD, you know one thing for sure: it’s hard to concentrate. Everyday tasks become exceedingly difficult. You have trouble remembering details, and you inadvertently neglect chores. Regular life isn’t easy.
This inability to focus on the task at hand compounds when you’re trying to work. You may find it impossible to retain information and to pay attention when your boss or coworkers are talking to you. You need a system to keep things in order and to get your job done.
We at Klarity understand the challenges that face people with untreated ADHD. Toward that end, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to focus at work with ADHD. First, we’ll discuss the signs of the disorder.
Signs of Adult ADHD
There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with adult ADHD. They differ depending on the type of ADHD, and some may be more severe than others. Being diagnosed with the condition depends on how many of the symptoms you exhibit.
There are three types of adult ADHD:
The inattentive type of ADHD is typified by a lack of focus and forgetfulness. There are several symptoms; a person with inattentive ADHD may suffer from the following:
Has difficulty paying attention
Is forgetful and often misplaces objects like keys and wallets
Is easily distracted and has trouble maintaining focus on tasks
Has trouble listening to and following directions
Has trouble with organization
Hyperactive ADHD is most often diagnosed in children, but can also follow a person into adulthood. Here are some of the symptoms:
Has an inability to sit still
Exhibits impulsive behavior
Consistently feels restless
This type of adult ADHD is a combination of symptoms from both Inattentive and Hyperactive ADHD. Combined is the most common type of ADHD.
Challenges to Working with ADHD
Work presents a number of challenges to those suffering from ADHD. Having considerable trouble paying attention is an obvious complication. In addition, those with adult ADHD have problems staying on task and issues with procrastination.
Not being able to effectively listen to and process information from higher-ups can put your job in jeopardy, as can the propensity to procrastinate on work tasks. The challenges of working with adult ADHD is that it can result in disciplinary measures and, at worst, loss of employment.
There are, however, a number of tips that can inform you how to focus at work with ADHD. We’ve shared a number of them below.
Tips to Focus at Work with ADHD
There are various strategies that can help you succeed at work despite your ADHD. These tips capitalize on strengths while minimizing the symptoms of ADHD. Try to establish them as part of your daily routine and you’ll likely have an easier time at work with fewer of the complications that can accompany your condition.
1. Limit Distractions
The first step in adding this tip to your repertoire is to identify any distractions that keep you from concentrating on your work. If you work from home, this could be the television, your phone, or other potential intrusions on your workday. In-office distractions include chatty coworkers and background noise. Whether you work in an office or at home the internet can provide countless distractions that can pull you away from your job.
Make a list of your distractions and work to eliminate them from your daily routine. It may be difficult at first, but the more you are able to remove distractions from your day the easier it will be to focus on your work despite your ADHD.
2. Avoid Multitasking
Jobs provide a number of opportunities to take on more work than you can handle at one time. Multitasking, however, presents a number of serious challenges to actually completing tasks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to juggle a number of tasks at once.
Try to avoid multitasking. If you’re assigned a number of important things to do, work with your employer to identify which tasks are more important and create a list. Tackle the most crucial tasks first, then work your way through to the others. This clarity will help you avoid multitasking and keep you on track.
3. Break Up Large Tasks
Large tasks can seem insurmountable, and when it’s difficult to complete a task it’s far easier to procrastinate and not get anything done. As you create a list of tasks by importance, break down large assignments into smaller components. You can accomplish these smaller tasks and work through them one by one. TWhile it can be tempting to attack the entire task at once, you’ll be far more successful if you break it down and work in increments.
4. Use Sticky Notes as Reminders
When you break down your workday and break down tasks, you might be presenting yourself with a fresh challenge in how to organize their components. In addition, one of the symptoms of ADHD is forgetfulness, which complicates your efforts.
Using sticky notes to plot out the progression of how to work through tasks helps you stay focused and prevents you from forgetting important components. In addition, keeping reminders in obvious places can prevent you from losing items, such as your keys.
5. Repeat Back and Write Down Instructions
Paying attention can be a serious challenge to those with adult ADHD. Paying attention and retaining a complex set of instructions can seem insurmountable. It’s easy to become distracted and miss critical components that will allow you to complete the assigned task.
Repetition helps you retain information and helps to cement instructions in your brain. Repeating back directions makes it less likely that you’ll forget. In addition, writing the instructions down can act as a safeguard and provide a point of reference if you do lose track.
6. Use a Planner
Feeling scattered is one of the symptoms of adult ADHD. As we’ve discussed, it’s difficult to keep things in order and there’s a significant chance you’ll forget details. Consolidating details and important dates in one place can be a solution and a useful tool to getting things done.
A planner provides a single source of information, one that simplifies the potential challenges of having to manage multiple lists and reminders. Make a habit of keeping all your lists and marking down important dates in your planner, and keep it with you as you move throughout your day.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Adult ADHD is typified by a noisy mind, one that refuses to settle down when you need it to. It can seem uncontrollable and impossible to concentrate. Mindfulness is a powerful tool you can use to quiet your mind and reduce the numerous distractions that prevent you from focusing on both everyday tasks and your life.
Mindfulness is a practice of stepping back, taking a breath, relaxing, and taking stock of what’s going on at any given moment. Like any other skill, it takes practice. Your mind will wander. It can seem frustrating at the beginning, but continuing the practice can eventually make it second nature.
Have Your ADHD Diagnosed and Treated Online on Klarity
While all these are important steps in learning how to focus at work with ADHD, untreated ADHD will continue to cause problems throughout your life. Online ADHD treatment can make the difference between being able to function well at work and in life.
Providers on Klarity make it quick and easy to get your adult ADHD properly diagnosed and treatmented by a licensed professional. You’ll get your diagnosis and evaluation after a 30-minute online visit, which may help you at work with accommodations for your disorder. If you’re prescribed medication you’ll be able to pick it up from your pharmacy right after your initial visit.
If you have shown several ADHD symptoms and are looking for a professional evaluation, you can start your journey toward adult ADHD diagnosis and treatment by taking this free 2-minute self-evaluation.