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Letters from AdultsHi Heidi,
Thank you for this invitation to contribute to ADHD awareness.
ADHD in the workplace:
This past year was my first being out of school and into the work world, and it has been a challenging one. All of a sudden the routines, structures, expectations and rules that I was so used to, and didn't realize how dependent I was on, were no longer applicable and I had to adjust to a new set of routines, structures, expectations and protocols that i had no idea about.
Also, not being a student, I no longer had free services to counseling for ADHD, no longer had a medical plan to pay for medication, no longer was eligible for bursaries to attain services like coaching. My support structure was instantly taken away from my non-student status kicking into gear and i had to fend for myself.
What this year has mostly been about is learning. I'm learning everyday how my ADHD affects me an a daily basis, and how to improve myself and feel happier about how I perform at work everyday.
I've learned that I need to carry out boring tasks like database entry in intense spurts, because otherwise I take way too long finding myself getting distracted constantly and forgetting where I was. I am now aware that I am addicted to multitasking, and am often compulsive behaviour to stop something right in the middle of doing it because a flash of an idea comes into my head that seems to be so urgent and important. I have learned that multi-tasking is less efficient in the long run, and I try to discipline myself, although not always successfully, to take on tasks one at a time.
I've learned to always keep a notebook handy and write EVERTHING down because it is likely that i'll forget anything anyone says. Notebooks save me at work everyday.
I've learned to use my hyperfocusing tendencies to hyperfocus selectively, on things that are higher priority and on things that are more important, or worth spending time on for the big picture - or the things that really affect others.
I've learned to observe the work habits of others in my office, and get inspired by the way the unique and effective ways they do things and feel less bad about myself when I see them with all of their own quirks and inefficiencies... a reminder that it is not only people with ADHD that can struggle at work - we all have our individual tendencies that we sometimes need to work on to improve and move forward.
I've learned that my erratic thinking styles, although difficult to articulate and logically explain to others, is also a value because it creates a unique perspective on things, and produces original and interesting ideas. This is a value of ADHD that I could never trade in for any "normal" trait.
I've learned to slow down and communicate only the words that matter, instead of compulsively blurting out everything exciting flying through my head. Communication is an art, and half the fun can be trying to figure out what is the most effective thing to communicate to people. This has helped me articulate things in my head more effectively, and I enjoy seeing the instant effect of engaged listeners or an equally focused and stimulating response. It helps me feel less alone in conversations.
Last but no least, I'm learning not to be so hard on myself and laugh at my mistakes. After all work is just work.
That was a bit of a ramble. hope it is useful for you. If used, I would not like to have my name attached to this because I prefer to keep my ADHD a private matter.