By Alan Brown
In the last issue of the ADDA eNews, I described
a benefit of working in a corporate or group environment; the inherent
structure provides an external structure that we ADHDers lack “internally” –
and contrasted it with the perils of working independently – at home or
otherwise on our own.
Without the “safety net” of an external workplace
structure (e.g., a boss keeping us accountable or a team member providing the
occasional timely nudge), a key in our success is to build our OWN structures
to compensate for those we lack inwardly.
Let’s take a look at a series of specific
structural deficiencies along with some ways you can build your own structures.
And even if you’re employed in an
environment with a boss who keeps you on your toes and plenty of support staff,
these tips will boost your productivity…
Lacking Structure… in Time
and Memory: Similar to prioritization, in a corporate or
group environment, there’s always someone who will remind you of a meeting or a
due date. Not so at your home office,
where you’re at the mercy of a dysfunctional sense of time and weak working
Build Your Own Structure: Let’s assume you’re already using a planner of some sort (if you’re
not, GET ONE – it’s the sine qua non of time and memory management!) The question is, are you using it to provide
as much external structure as possible? For example:
· Use Outlook or
other calendar/planner software to set alarms/alerts (at least 15min prior to
event) like crazy – for everything you need to remember.
· For every call
or meeting scheduled with an auto-alert 15min prior, create an ADDITIONAL
calendar entry a couple of hours before the call/meeting called “PREP MEETING
w/BOB”, which builds in an additional nudge for readiness.
· Schedule time
in your planner to PLAN – a set time every morning, even if just 5 or 10
minutes – to look at the day and week ahead.
· If you’re using
an electronic (vs physical, paper-based) planner, make sure it is regularly
synced automatically across all your devices. You need ONE calendar/planner/list. There are few things worse for the
unstructured ADHD brain than the chaos of different calendars/lists saying
Remember: even if you’re working in a
well-structured office environment, implementing these tips will take your game
up a notch. So, start structuring!
More to follow in an upcoming issue of ADDA
Alan Brown, creator of the acclaimed ADD Crusher™ videos, was undiagnosed until adulthood and coping with chronic
underachievement, substance abuse and worse. Upon diagnosis, he struggled to
learn coping strategies from books, so he developed his own strategies. He is also co-author of best-selling 365+1
Ways to Succeed with ADHD.