ADHD / ADHD and the Workplace / Adult ADHD / Coping Strategies

Adult ADHD: Set Work Schedules. The spawn o’ Satan.

I just want to clear something up here, before I even launch into this topic: I get a lot done. I get more done than most people I know. I get more than probably a significant percentage of people I don’t know. I’m the employee that is 150% effective when everyone else is rockin’ 80%. But only if you get the eff out of my way and let me do my work.

On my schedule.

I made some great decisions about how to live my life this year, and it all centered around being realistic about who I really am, how I really roll, and how there’s no need for me to keep living in constant friction with my environment, struggling to conform to rigid expectations, when there’s no quantifiable reason for it. This is something I discussed with my therapist: You only work to meet face to face with the unpleasant, the impossible, the “norm” when it’s absolutely necessary.

Now, I pick and choose when I will enter a situation where I know that I will have to adapt in a way that is extremely difficult for me. For example: I am mostly self-employed now, and it gives me just a few times each week where I have to be someone at an exact time. It’s extremely difficult for me to BE on time, so I don’t want to be having to make that effort every single day.

The rest of the week…well here’s what happened. I had a great freelance account, at a nice place, for nice people, and they requested that I be present in person at their site, three days/wk. I’m still building up my work load, and it’s a nice account, so I agreed. And I set a schedule.

And I have been miserable with it every since.

I absolutely put in the amount of work time that I’m supposed to, and get the work done. However, often times it’s not while I’m there on site. While I’m on site, I’m often struggling to “make” myself “work” when I know perfectly well that no matter how many stimulants I take, it’s not going to work. Then I end up doing the actual work later, or on the weekend, when I’m able to focus. Which takes times away from the things I’m supposed to be doing in the evening and on the weekends (like continue to build my businesses…and spend uninterrupted time with my family).

The obvious solution here is that I need to request a different schedule. I will. I’m just waiting until I feel that the time is right to do that. I can’t continue wasting half days like this, when I could be spending them being productive. I need the freedom to adjust my work tasks to suit what I will be most effective at, at a given time. When I am working at my own office, or at home, I can adjust as I need to. I can’t do that when I’m on site for chunks of several hours, and it’s simply not possible for me to focus on one thing for several hours (unless hyperfocus kicks in…but that’s not a reliable factor…and it’s more likely to kick in at some point if I’m allowed to work on my own schedule).

Generally speaking, I need to alternate between thinking tasks and moving tasks, and I need to do it when it’s time to do it.  Answer some emails…wash some dishes…write some marketing copy…vacuum the living room…work on a website…go out and distribute some flyers…not “sit for 5 hours staring at a computer screen”.

So my coping tool right now is stepping away from the staring to work on a blog post. Later, I’ll go home and actually get some work done.

And…think about setting a deadline for getting off of this unproductive hamster wheel of a schedule.