Everything you need to know | COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal


Organising your Environment

Home and personal relationships are tough for people with ADHD, but at least they take place in a relatively private arena. However the work environment puts all our strengths and weaknesses on show for all to see, making failure in this place much harder to endure. Nowadays there is a lot more information about ADHD, and how you can avoid the pitfalls and achieve success. The upcoming ADHASA conference offers great advice for adults but in the meantime here are some basic tips to help you get started:

Conquering the Dreaded Paperwork

Many people with ADHD report they do wonderfully well in their jobs until they have to complete the dreaded paperwork. Then the wheels come off! It is essential to develop some method to ensure the paperwork gets done and this can include:

  • Creating a regular time to do paperwork daily, weekly or monthly;
  • Asking a supervisor to help you with doing daily paperwork, setting deadlines; and creating simple systems so that the task does not become overwhelming.

For those with ADHD small and regular encounters with paperwork are almost always better than waiting for deadlines. It may be helpful e.g. to do one task daily rather than a whole lot at the end of the week. It may help to bear in mind the idea that the only way to begin is to begin. Prioritize and always do unpleasant tasks like paperwork before doing something you enjoy. Ask the successful people in your environment how they cope with their paperwork, and use the tips you find helpful.

‘Boring’ a Bother?

Those with ADHD often enjoy the stimulating parts of their jobs but are most stressed by the mundane and boring aspects. It helps to figure out what there is in these tasks that causes anxiety and stress. Managing this anxiety can go a long way towards creating a happier work environment. Often people fear some aspect of their work and avoid doing the task. Simply acknowledging this to ourselves allows us to figure out what we cannot do and who we can ask for help.

Routine, Planning and Play

It is very helpful to create a pattern or routine within the week and day. This will differ depending on one’s work commitments but could include making time within the week to cover all aspects of the job.

We are all inclined to do the tasks we like best and neglect those we dislike or where we feel less competent. It helps therefore to start each task with a brief period of planning, and some people prefer to do this just before they leave work in the evenings. Decide what can be achieved in the next day. Be realistic especially if your job entails interruptions you cannot control. Become mindful of how long it actually takes to complete various tasks. Check at the end of each day on what you have achieved.

If you are very restless in the work environment consider what would make you work better: an improved diet, medication, standing when you work, having ‘toys’ to play with while you work: Prestik, stress balls, play dough, soft background music, etc. Be aware of how much coffee you drink as going to the coffee machine may be part of your avoidance strategy, and it could also interfere with your concentration. Play games with yourself: tell yourself you’ll work for 10 minutes and then take a break. You may find you become absorbed in the task and are able to work a little longer.

Always do similar tasks together (chunking) e.g. make your phone calls at a particular time. Manage the internet as this is such a magnet for those with ADHD. Attending to e-mails can be a wonderful way of pretending to be busy while achieving nothing. Highly successful people set aside time to respond to e-mails and have a system for organizing them (e.g. answer immediately, file for information purposes, think about and respond to later).

Anita Decaires-Wagner


Article Courtesy of:
ADHASA (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of Southern Africa)