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8 ways to manage ADHD on the job

A cartoon man frantically juggles a laptop, phone, clock and more.

Working with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can be challenging. These tips may help you become happier and more productive in your career.

If you have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a job to do, here's something you may know all too well: Your ADHD goes to work with you. ADHD symptoms can make work tasks more challenging. You might have trouble organizing your workday, sitting still in meetings and getting tasks done on time.

The good news? Along with following your treatment plan, there are things you can do to manage your ADHD symptoms on the job.

Don't let ADHD boss you around

Working may be easier with these tips from Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other mental health experts:

1. Decrease distractions. Ask for a quieter work area or a private space. If possible, consider working at times when others are not around. If your work area is noisy, try using headphones to drown out sounds.

2. Take one task at a time. Many people with ADHD struggle when they try to tackle too many things at once. Break large projects into smaller tasks. And try not to start another task until the first one is done.

3. Get organized. Carve out a few minutes each day to organize your workstation. Toss anything you don't need. Clutter can cause distractions. Use a calendar or set reminders on your smartphone or computer to stay on top of deadlines and appointments.

4. Do your best to get plenty of exercise and rest. Regular physical activity and sufficient sleep (about 7 to 9 hours per night) may help you to stay calm and focused on your work.

5. Practice relaxation. For example, close your eyes and slowly breathe in and out. It may help reduce impulsivity.

6. Take frequent breaks. Get up and stretch. Get a drink of water. Walk around your workplace. Movement can provide an outlet for hyperactivity, such as fidgeting or restlessness.

7. Try something new. If you get bored with your everyday tasks, ask your supervisor if you can help with other projects you find more stimulating.

8. Fight forgetfulness. Write down everything. Ask if you can record meetings where you'll be presented with complex instructions you'll need to follow. Place sticky notes in can't-miss places, like your computer screen or employee locker. Keep often-misplaced items, like keys, in the same place every time.

Don't go it alone

If ADHD symptoms are affecting your performance at work, let your provider know. They can offer advice and help you adjust your treatment plan.

Reviewed 10/5/2022

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