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Succeeding With a Lack of Structure: Tips for Working On Your Own (Part 2)
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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 memory.

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 different things.

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 eNews.


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.

 

 

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