How to Manage Your ADHD at Work
As the CEO of the emotional-management company AbilTo, Michael Laskoff has proven himself in his career. He struggles daily with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) but has insight into conscientiously approaching the workplace.
Instead of attempting to get yourself to perform adequately in a position that doesn’t naturally suit you, Laskoff advises determining a job that is a strong fit for your personal strengths.
“For the sake of simplicity,” Laskoff advises, “I think that being able to manage ADD/ADHD at work can be reduced to three simple concepts: avoid, acknowledge, and account.”
Let’s look at Laskoff’s trio of workplace principles for those with ADHD.
Stay away from any career that is particularly challenging to people with attention problems. In those situations, you can end up working long hours, striving to meet your own unsustainable expectations. For example, you have to be extraordinarily detailed-oriented to be a successful auditor. Is that you? If not, avoid.
It might sound obvious that we should be most interested in occupations that are the best matches for our talents, skill sets, and personalities. However, it’s easy to get off-course. For instance, Laskoff once became an associate at an investment bank. He realized soon that the environment and responsibilities deemphasized the strengths (divergent thinking, hyperfocus, etc.) and amplified the weaknesses of his ADD.
Although avoidance can help you steer clear of occupations that are particularly unsuitable for those with ADHD, the condition will be a factor no matter what position you take. The disorder often means that you have to put in more effort than your coworkers to achieve the same results. Acknowledgment is critical in these situations.
“If you acknowledge your own deficits as well as your strengths,” says Laskoff, “you can pick a dream job with relatively few issues to which you will have to learn to adapt.”
Often people struggling with ADD work hard but are fundamentally pointed in the wrong directions. In any occupation, regardless the amount of work you perform, it won’t be appreciated unless you are completing tasks considered valuable to the company. Note that one of the primary roles of your manager is to guide you in defining and meeting reasonable daily objectives. Talk to them if you are unsure what to prioritize.
If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the job market can be tricky. However, you will set yourself up for success by avoiding unsuitable jobs, acknowledging your challenges, and redirecting yourself to enhance accountability.
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