You know what you need to do, but your brain keeps drifting off. What can you do to retain focus and get through the day’s tasks? The key is working with your ADHD brain. Not against it..

#1 Keep all electronic devices – OOS (out of site) and OOM (out of mind). If possible, put them in storage spot (cabinet, drawer or locker), when doing important tasks. This is an absolute must! You can’t force focus, but you can create an environment to help your focus flourish.

#2Work with your body’s Natural Energy Cycles. If you are an early bird, do not expect to be at maximum focus and performance on a complicated project at 8:00 P.M. in the evening. Find you’re most productive time of the day and do your tasks then.

#3 The, ‘But wait a minute rule.’ When you feel your attention and focus fading, give yourself a 60 second break. Drink some water, quick breath of sunlight and fresh air. Stretching exercises, or a quick look out the widow can really help re-focus. But, don’t step away for too long, else you might not get back on task. Limit your break to 60 seconds by using your phone timer.

#4 Do something that is both interesting and challenging to you. This may sound awkward, but if you really enjoy something, plus it’s challenging, you will probably stay fairly focused. When something does hold your interest, you’ll be highly motivated to pursue it. ‘Trouble paying attention’ can also be thought of as ‘flexible thinking,’ which is in no way a bad thing.

#5 Reach out for help. When you hit a snag and you find your mind wondering, reach out for some help. This will help keep you focused on the task at hand. If you find yourself daydreaming, call a friend for ten minutes. A little break and some encouragement from a trusted friend, can help your brain not to dismiss the task, but give you extra focus and determination to finish it.

 



You have reached a plateau in your professional life. Work is not as enjoyable as it has been the last couple of years. Maybe your new supervisor has come in ruling with an iron hand, and morale in the department has slipped to the lowest in the five years you have been there.

You want a new job. So, let’s take a look at a slow, deliberate and methodical way to cover all of the bases in the employment change process. One that should minimize the ADD “impulsivity monster,” and help you make a very informed, clear and solid career change decision. (This decision process will proceed in a direction from small and subtle to large and drastic, depending on the driving force behind the perceived need for an employment change).

Option #1 Consider a transfer within the organization.  If there are multiple location options to work at, and the ‘alignment’ with the newly supervisor is not as congruent as you would like it to be, a lateral move to another location within your current organization, is all that may be necessary.

Option# 2 – Consider the same position but within a different organization. Take a ‘big picture’ look at the new opportunity from the viewpoint of ADHD friendliness, administrative beliefs, policies, procedures, use of technology, employee turnover, and physical layout of assigned area. Plus look at their autonomy, noise level of work environment, repetitiveness of work and  teamwork. Be as diligent as possible in reviewing these factors. Salary and benefits should be the last items you evaluate.

Option # 3 – Different Job in the same field.  If you have reached the end of the line in the operations part of a job, maybe a consider a total job change. Training or a marketing position may be worth considering.

Option # 4 – Further enhance your career by enhancing your skill set and taking extra classes or a certification program. One word of caution – Perform a cost benefit analysis before you commit.  With the rising cost of all of the various education programs, you don’t want to set yourself up for a big debt. Ask yourself, will the educational program increase salary sufficiently to pay for the cost of the educational in an acceptable period of time?

Option # 5 – Look at an ‘Advanced degree’ in your current area. Again, pay close attention to salary increase in comparison to paying for the advanced degree. Also, consider the possible strain on family life will be short term while the degree is being pursued.

Option # 6 – Complete Career Change. Once again, evaluating educational requirements, time to acquire new skill set. Plus, will an initial pay cut be necessary? And, consider if a complete career change will put any strain on your family life.



The “neuro—normal” person (not affected by ADHD) usually stays at a job for four to six years. However, the employee challenged by ADHD, is typically out looking for new employment opportunities every eighteen to twenty-four months.

This could be because of yet another poor performance at work, or the impulsivity and novelty seeking characteristics of the ADHD brain. This has a major emotional toll on the employee, and their family each and every time an employment change is made. So, before you go out and buy a new set of interviewing clothes, start talking to recruiters, and updating your resume, lets put on the “ADHD Brakes” and  take a very close look to see if modifications to your current employment can be made, so your ADHD strengths can be utilized better, and “ a win-win” situation will result for you and your employer.

If your current employer sees an improvement in your workplace performance, they will much more likely to give you a positive recommendation when you are ready for a job change in the long -term future. So, start by conducting an evaluation of your current job using two sets of factors – External and Internal.

External employment factors are related to work environment itself. The physical layout of your surroundings, modifying your job duties, changes in the way you are supervised or mentored, working with a different team in the department, and changing your assigned shift.

Possible External factors that could be changed include:

  • Training to utilize modern technology (computers, e-mails, texts, electronic calendars, beepers, cell phone alarms, etc.) to perform your job more effectively than you currently are.
  • More structure– Have a check list or some other reminder system that clearly spells out how and when certain tasks are to be completed.
  • More Autonomy – ADD-ers can very creative and outside the box thinkers when allowed to utilize that trait. Working independently, within a well understood performance expectations, and occasional periodic check-ins with management ,may help creative, outside the box ADD-ers flourish. Examples are Pharmaceutical Sales, Financial Advisors, or utility and appliance repair.
  • Less distracting environment – Particular for office- based employment.
  • Less stressful work environment– Employee must still have a very clear understanding of performance expectations and make every attempt to maximize performance and productivity in the new opportunity.

Internal Changes – The important self-directed question for the employee to ask is What kinds of changes do I need to make within myself?

  • Action plan to present and discuss with supervisor regarding compensating for the ADHD Challenges.
  • Temporary mentoring (two weeks absolute maximum) with an employee that flourishes in the area or tasks where you may be challenged (if the employment setting allows this).
  • More frequent interaction with a supervisor regarding the areas where improvement is necessary. A Career Coach can assist setting your deadlines and goals for improvement.
  • Work with a fellow employee or career coach, regarding organization and time management challenges.

Taking a close look at all of these various factors may help the ADD employee find work more rewarding and fulfilling, without the need to see out new employment opportunities.



“It is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences.”

Isabel Briggs Myers 

The Myers-Briggs Type indicator (MBTI), is a tool that looks at personality preferences to help guide individuals in taking an in-depth look at personality preferences, and how they can relate to better decisions regarding employment and career choices.

The MBTI is different from most psychological assessments in that it focuses on personal preferences, whereas most of the other models focus on pathological conditions. In creating the theory, Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs, said, “The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.” Their aim was to make the insights of type theory accessible to individuals and groups.

The MBTI Model takes a detailed look at the four sets of preferences and how they relate to situations or performance in the workplace. The four sets of opposing preferences are as follows:

Extroverted (E) or Introverted (I)

Sensing (S) or Intuitive (I)

Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Over the next several weeks, we will be taking an in-depth look at how the MBTI preferences can be applied to the ADHD population in the work force. The areas that will be looked at closely are:

  • Work environment,
  • Structure of the duties
  • Interacting with coworkers.
  • How the ADHD lens can impact the entire dynamics of the entire workplace and workforce.

The best reason to choose the MBTI instrument to discover your personality type in relation to ADHD, is that hundreds of studies over the past 40 years have proven the instrument to be both valid and reliable.

Why use Myers-Briggs personality test if you have ADHD? According to a study published by Kans J Med on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) “Personality types occasioned with the diagnosis of ADHD could be useful in establishing/normalizing treatment regimens and approaches to assist families better.”

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