ADHD for Work and Life

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural condition that includes symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Making it hard to focus and stay on task as people feel restless. It can cause issues with organisation and prioritising.

In a work setting, staying focused in meetings can feel exhausting.  It can be very hard to manage deadlines and co-ordinating, prioritising different tasks.  It can be hard to follow instructions and manage time well.  But employers can help with regular short 1:1 meetings/mentoring or buddying up with other workers. They can help by breaking down and prioritising work.  Flexibility with hours enables those with the condition to work when they are at their best.  It helps if they have a quiet office with less distractions.  Individuals must set themselves goals and reward their success to encourage focus.

Strategies can be developed, that if you have the condition, you should try such as using visual aids, using lists, daily to do lists, put distractions and thoughts/ideas into a book to stop them distracting you and only look at this after periods of focusing, using colour codes, moving around when you can, take short breaks when needed, give earlier deadlines, keep your work area tidy, use magnetic bulletin boards or post it notes, have set places where you keep things, using timers, staying organised, using planners and apps like Remember the Milk or noise-focused apps like White Noise, use a hand held 'fidget', for example, for use in meetings and clarifying your understanding via email. Block non-work related websites to help you focus, keep your phone out of sight, have something to chew on, exercise and stretch, use noise cancelling headphones, have activities for breaks that help you calm and focus, like adult colouring books.  You must find a career that interests you and work to your strengths.

In life, have simple strategies if you have ADHD, like storing vital items such as car keys in a set place near the door so you do not forget.  If learning to drive, you should tell the DVLA about the ADHD.  Everyone is different so you must find strategies and consider options like medication based on your situation.  The NHS explains topics related to ADHD, like, diagnosis, treatment options, like, different medications and Life with ADHD.

There is a strong argument that, like other conditions, ADHD is a Neurodiverse Condition that all people have different strengths and difficulties and that ADHD is just part of normal variation; that everyone is different and there needs to be a removal of the stigma.  This is the view of ACAS that neurodiversity needs supporting and celebrating for its difficulties and its strengths 


Skills and strengths that can come from having ADHD that would be useful for employers include, creativity and high energy that can lead to productivity in the correct environment.  They can get new and fresh ideas.  They are talkative and imaginative, resourceful, curious, they can hyper-focus on details that interest them which can give very useful attention to detail in the right activity.  If ADHD is declared/you tell your employer you can ask for Reasonable Adjustments and you are protected by the Equality Act (2010). Further, you can get a Clear Talents profile to explain your difficulties, find useful personalised strategies and show your strengths.  You can apply for Government Funding from Access to Work to pay for help like coaching where they teach you strategies for managing and understanding ADHD.      

If you have ADHD, you may benefit from CBT therapy (see under Health).  You can do online courses that would fit around life and work and this can be with a trained therapist with IESO Health.  Or you can do CBT self-help, CBT-type activities courses with Live Life To The Full.

You would benefit from adding as much structure to tasks as possible to help you focus, such as setting SMART targets for tasks, ensuring activities are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

Always try to break tasks down.

You would benefit from brain-training to focus and challenge the mind from Lumosity. .  This would help BDNF needed for brain development and growth.  Get enough sleep and develop strategies.  If this is a main issue, look at and look at Tuck and the website section on ADHD and sleep. 

Be mindful of diet.  Look under diet and exercise on this site.  Think about nutrition; reducing caffeine, sugar and the amount of carbohydrate you eat.  Try out Mindfulness - a type of medication for being in the present moment and learning to pay attention to all the details.  Try out apps like Headspace to do Mindfulness and small meditations. 

You can also experience challenges with relationships when you have ADHD due to issues with attention and impulsiveness but there is lots of advice and support from those who have the condition like this YouTube video from this young woman from How to Manage ADHD.  From 2015, Jessica McCabe has run this YouTube channel about life with ADHD and was a Healthline 2017 winner for these ADHD videos.  It also has a toolbox with worksheets on topics like goal-setting and getting organised and a Forum on ADHD.


Jessica McCabe highlights through her YouTube channel How to Manage ADHD and Ted Talks about how you need to find your own way, not rely on self-help books but find good information.  She explains you will have times when more effort is needed, when you will have setbacks, face extra challenges and how you will get tired.  Even if medication works for you, you will have difficulties and may want to give up.  You may need to accept things as things do not always work out but she is a success story, as she accepts her ADHD and takes action finding good information about ADHD which led to her YouTube video and accepting herself, understanding herself and seeing herself  as successful.

Here are some links to explain and provide support for adult life with the condition:

ADDitude.  This website has many informed articles on relationship issues and ADHD, including dating, couples, marriage, divorce, friendships, socialising, parenting and more with lots of personal accounts and lived experiences. 

Buzz Feed YouTube videowhere young people speak about their ADHD experiences growing up.

Understood have produced a YouTube video on What is ADHD? https://youtube/vVZ2qbMgMPs

Totally ADD shows ADHD videos, online resources, downloads, books, forum and a blog that in 2019 won awards with Healthline.

ADHD Pixar Animation that attempts to explain what ADHD is like in a light-hearted and funny way.  https://youtube/SCr3ES97s4k

Mental Health Foundation Easy Read ADHD.

NHS Surrey and Borders Partnership - Me, Myself and ADHD - Learning Disabilities Service For a Better Lifecovers what ADHD is, therapy, medications, potential impact of the condition on adult life with family, friends, work, physical and mental health, different strategies to help you cope, exercise and many more.

NHS Overview of ADHD.

ADHD Foundation.

Living with ADHD website advice for young people.

ADHD and You website.

AADD-UK looks at ADHD and increasing awareness of how ADHD affects adulthood.

ADDitude Magazine is an American ADHD/ADD lifestyle magazine for those with ADHD/ADD that also has interesting webinars about the condition.  They also have interesting videos as seen here.  This one is about the science of ADHD and the brain.

ADDISS and ADHD National Information and Support Service that is good for those with ADHD and their families due to the resources and user-friendly information on ADHD.

The Brain Charitywork with individuals with any neurological condition which can be very wide-ranging but includes Autism, Brain Injury, Stroke, Cluster Headaches, ADHD, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy and much more.  They offer lots of practical help with understanding your condition, employment tips, information and advice, including a large library and many resources, benefits advice, Carer support, young people services.  They also have lots of emotional support services, like counselling, lists of support groups, help with confidence and employability.

Work and ADHD Net Doctor article.

Employers guide to ADHD in the workplace.

Managing Adult ADD and ADHD at work article.

ADHD Work Coach from Access to Work Funding.

Access to Work Support for Dyslexia and ADHD.