The ADHD Entrepreneur: Three Ways to Manage Symptoms at Work


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (often called ADHD or ADD) can have a huge impact on an entrepreneur's ability to remain productive at work.  Here are just a few tips that can help you manage symptoms of ADHD at work.  And by the way, these tips are great even if you don’t have ADHD!

#1:  Take an Honest Look at your Social Media Use

By now, you’ve probably heard that to increase productivity, you need to shut off your phone and stay off social media.  Sound advice, but people with ADHD really need to take this to heart.  Individuals with ADHD are more easily distracted and more likely to sucked down the proverbial rabbit hole when online.  Maybe you opened Facebook with the intent to quickly wish someone a happy birthday, only to find yourself watching funny cat videos 45 minutes later.  Do yourself a huge favor:  delete social media apps off your phone and save your social media usage for before or after work. 

#2:  Schedule some daydreaming into your day

Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m advising people with ADHD to schedule some daydreaming into their day.  Here’s the caveat:  you need to schedule the right type of daydreaming.  Dr. Srini Pillay, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has written extensively about the power of positive constructive daydreaming.  The key is to pick something “playful and wishful” such as having fun at the beach.  (note: This is not the time to mentally rehearse what you wish you said to the person who cut in line in front of you at the grocery store).  When you daydream in a constructive way, your brain’s Default Mode Network kicks in, and you can start connecting different ideas in creative ways.  It allows you to have a mental break, while boosting your creativity and re-energizing your brain. 

#3:  Set a Timer

Dreading a task?  If so, you are not alone.  It’s hard for anyone to start a task that they dread.  But add to the mix that people with ADHD have difficulty initiating tasks, and you’ve got yourself quite the recipe for procrastination.   One way to get around this block is to set a timer for a short period of time (think 15 minutes) and give yourself permission to stop working on that task when the timer goes off.  Committing yourself to only 15 minutes is much easier than committing yourself to completing the whole task.  It also greatly increases the chance that you will actually start the task.  And once the first 15 minutes is under your belt, the next 15 minutes won’t seem so bad.  Maybe you’ll even feel comfortable making your next stretch of time longer.  Either way, you’ll be building some much-needed momentum to achieving your goal! 

I hope that you find these tips helpful.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if you want to learn more about how to manage inattention.  Here’s to your productivity! 




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