Category: Tips and Tricks

Working from Home with ADHD: Useful Articles

Working from home is both heaven and hell for people with ADHD. Here are a few of the better articles that offer help.

This is one of the two best articles I’ve found, so far — a quick sampler of suggestions edited by ADDitude Magazine:

ADHD Brains Working at Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Telecommuting

This is the other best article I’ve found so far — a comprehensive list with good commentary:

If you have ADHD, here’s how to manage working from home

All the fundamentals in one organized list, without much commentary:

Suddenly Working from Home

This is worth reading for thoughts on self-care and kindness:

5 Perils of Working from Home with ADHD

Eat right to keep your brain and body on track!

Succeeding with a Lack of Structure: tips for working on your own, part 4

“Stop Talking”

stop talking business card

I wouldn’t give one to a stranger, but I’d gladly get one from a friend.

I ask clients and colleagues to interrupt me if I’m going on too long, and I’ve teamed with colleagues to interrupt each other* if one of us is hogging the floor, talking at our clients instead of conversing with them.

Facts to remember:

  • Other people need to speak.
  • We need to listen.
  • Bite-sized statements are easier to digest (and easier redirect if they’re on the wrong track).
  • Not everything needs to be said right now, if at all.

“Stop talking” is a welcome interruption when requested in advance.

*It helps to use nicer words than “stop talking” or “STFU”. ☺

Let Other People Stop You

Give your colleagues the power of No!
They’ll keep you in line.

“Don’t let me go to lunch with you!” 

Tell your favorite lunch-mate that you can’t go out because you have to finish a task. Later, have them tell you how awesome it was, so next time you’ll plan ahead.

“Don’t let me sign up for anything at today’s project meeting.”

Tell your colleague to poke you if you start to accept any new tasks or responsibilities. They’ll probably poke you harder than you like, but it will be worth it.

“Don’t let me leave my office unless I’ve handed off the mailing list.”

Tell your assistant to block the door unless you’ve finished the task. Let them tackle you if you try to escape.

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Photo by Planetbene, Creative Commons License

“The Next Physical Action”: Break Out of Churn-Paralysis

“What is “the very next physical action required to move the situation forward”?”

— David Allen, author of Getting Things Done

If you know your objective but are stuck churning over what to “do” next, break the mental paralysis via physical action.

From David Allen’s Getting Things Done site:
90+ % of the to do lists I’ve seen are incomplete inventories of still-unclear things. The Next Action definition (if you’re really getting down to having no ambiguity about the next visible physical activity required to move something forward), actually finishes the thinking you’ve implicitly agreed with yourself that you’ll do. “Mom ” is an unclarified to do item. But when “Mom ” is translated into “Celebrate Mom’s birthday with a party” as a project outcome, then “Call Sis about what we should do for Mom’s birthday ” is a clear next action. Because “Mom ” is vague, it still triggers stress when you look at it on a list. “Call Sis . . . ” triggers action and positive engagement.

Leave a Bookmark for Tomorrow

Before you leave the office, make a “bookmark”  — a physical note that reminds you where to start when you get back to work. Then leave it on your chair or keyboard where you can’t miss it.

Here’s a sample from my desk:

1. SiM edits due at NOON ← this reminds me that I have a priority morning task (so I won’t start some other task and miss my deadline)
2. Pick up @ chapter 7 ← this tells me where to start (so I won’t waste time finding where I stopped yesterday)
3. Remember TPS cover ← this keeps the boss happy (I’ve forgotten several times and he’s starting to lose patience!)