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For many people with ADD, work life can be difficult. If your working environment is not ADD-friendly, then you may find yourself feeling chronically disorganized and stressed out at work. Whether or not you choose to share your diagnosis with your employer, the following strategies can help you become more effective at work.
1. Find a Career that You're Passionate About
People with ADD have the most success when doing something that they are passionately interested in. If you are in a career or a job that you're not passionate about, chances are your ADD challenges will manifest themselves. The best way to avoid this is to find work that you truly enjoy and believe in.
2. Develop Structure
It's no secret that ADDers work well with structure. If your job lacks structure, create some!
If you're self-employed, set up a schedule for yourself. Determine what your working days will be, and what your days off will be. (And stick to them!) Also, schedule specific working hours for yourself.
If you're employed by another person or company, ask for specific deadlines on projects you are assigned. Additionally, you can request a weekly meeting with your manager in which you update him or her on all the things you have going on. This will allow YOU to review your progress and stay aware of all the tasks you're juggling.
3. Delegate the Details
I've never met an ADDer who enjoyed dealing with details! Typically, people with ADD are the problem-solvers, the creatives, and the strategizers. Most ADDers will be extremely effective when dealing with these exciting and challenging aspects of the job, and a lot less effective when dealing with administrative work.
If you're self-employed, hire an assistant - even if you think you can't afford it! Imagine how much more effective - and profitable - you could be if you didn't have to worry about paperwork!
If you're employed by another person or company, delegate work to administrative assistants and anyone whom you manage. If there is no one for you to delegate to, explain to your manager that you work best when you don't have to be bogged down with administrative tasks. Point out all your skills, strengths, and accomplishments. Tell your manager that you could be contributing even more if you had someone to help with the details.
4. Plan the Time to Plan
It's not enough to plan your day, you must also plan the time to plan! Before you leave work at the end of the day, take 15 minutes to look at your to do list. See what you accomplished and what still needs to be done, and update the list. Also use this time to update your calendars, and break up outstanding projects into steps. Taking the time to do this every work day will have you feeling more in control, and will also help you transition out of work time and into personal time.
5. Get Over Perfectionism
Perfectionism prevents progress. If you find something that could be improved every time you look at a paper or a report, it will never get off your desk. There's a big difference between "a good job" and "a perfect job." "A good job" is work well done; "a perfect job" doesn't exist! Nothing in this world is perfect, so do yourself a big favor and get over it!
Jennifer Koretsky is an ADD Management Coach who helps adults learn how to manage their ADD and move forward in life. She offers individual and group coaching, workshops, and skill-building programs. Subscribe to Jennifer’s free email newsletter, The ADD Management Guide, by visiting http://www.ADDmanagement.com/e-newsletter.htm