Individuals with ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, have spent their lives developing ADHD coping skills. However, the work-from-home challenges recently brought on with the rise of COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) have shaken things up, no matter how you look at it.
Without the constant structure of an office in place to guide you, ADHD can become an even tougher challenge. In the following article, we’ll be discussing what you can do to overcome the struggles of the days, weeks, or months ahead as well as the challenges of remote work.
The challenges for ADHD-affected employees are not unlike the challenges that all work-from-home employees face. Those can be broken down into four main categories.
Lack of Time Structures
When you work from home, there is not a ticking clock on your day. You decide when you get out of bed; when you do your morning rituals; and when you send your first email or take your first official work action.
You’re always tempted to get a late start or take more breaks than the typical work schedule would allow. For ADHD-affected employees, the problem is only amplified.
No Immediate Supervision
Something about having a boss or supervisor around keeps you on track. Even when you’re caught up, seeing them coming can send you off looking for things to do.
ADHD employees lose that extra layer of insulation against distraction. It makes them even more vulnerable than the average employee to going down rabbit holes of lost productivity.
Working around others is a great blessing that you may not realize until you lose the ability to do so. Of course, working from home doesn’t mean you lose the strength of collaboration altogether, but it does put you at a disadvantage when considering that you can just peek over their cubicle at the office.
Limited Access to Tools and Resources
Not everyone who works from home has access to the files, tools, and resources they need to accomplish all that they can achieve from the office. Adding that obstacle to the ADHD-affected employee can cause even more significant delays to complete projects.
Now that you know what the basic obstacles to working from home are, it’s time to get solution-focused. What are some things you can do, as someone with ADHD, to harness your challenges and turn them into advantages? Let’s have a closer look.
- Five Minutes of Mindfulness
One of the first ADHD coping mechanisms to employ is time alone with yourself. Try to exercise mindfulness for at least five minutes. Set a timer if you have to.
What does mindfulness consist of? Simply sit still in a quiet room, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.
Your thoughts may stray during the duration. Still, as long as you remind yourself to count your breaths and notice each inhale and exhale, you’ll be able to bring yourself back in and have better control over your ability to focus.
- Physical Lists
Another of the vital ADHD strategies for adults is to create physical lists of the things you have to get done. As you complete each task, draw a line through it to map out your productivity. This holds you accountable and provides a small “thrill” to look forward to at the end of a work period.
- An Easy Walking Path
When managing adult ADHD, you can’t cut off the ability to move around and give your body and mind the exercise they need. You might suggest setting up shop in your kitchen and walking around at the end of each work block. Working in the backyard is another great idea.
- Controlled Permission to Stray
Part of how to cope with ADHD is knowing it will need to win out occasionally. Give your mind permission to stray for periods, but always attach it to some type of a task that you need to get done first. This will help you maintain the reward incentive.
- Work in the Least Distracting Room
Another of the adult ADHD tips you need to remember is to cut yourself off from all forms of distraction as much as possible. If you have a problem with playing video games, don’t work in the room where your PlayStation sits.
- Create More Manageable Schedules and Projects
When coping with ADHD, the worst thing you can do is allow the big picture to overwhelm you to what needs to be done immediately. It’s good to keep the end of a project in mind but focus on action steps.
Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Likewise, don’t allow yourself to take on too many big projects in a single day.
- Remember Your Medication
If you are on medication for ADHD, do not stop taking the recommended dosages. Also, make sure you are correctly medicated as there are different choices on the market. It’s essential to know these differences between the two most common meds and to talk to your doctor about the effects.
- Work on Just One Thing at a Time
Multitasking isn’t something anyone is particularly good at doing. It’s even tougher when you have ADHD. Work instead in a linear fashion, staying with a single task until it is complete.
- Use Technology to Your Advantage
Reminder functions on your phone, apps that restrict social media access, cloud-based platforms that allow you to work while going for a walk. All these factors can keep you on-task and productive while working from home.
Lastly, you have to give yourself time to get away from your workspace. Leave the house, even if it’s just to go to the grocery store or a walk in your neighborhood. Of course, you’ll want to stay mindful of any public health restrictions that might be in place when doing so.
These ADHD Coping Skills Will Improve Your Remote Working Experience
We hope this look at ADHD coping skills has been informative and that you will start putting them to use right away if you aren’t already. Best of luck! For more productivity tips and helpful work-from-home info, check out some of our new posts!