Working from home comes with challenges for anybody.
If—like myself—you’re a person with ADHD, it may feel especially difficult to adjust to the lack of structure that can come with switching to a remote-style work environment.
Working remotely means that we are more susceptible to the distractions of our household, and may find ourselves overwhelmed. The traditional style of organization we’ve adapted to and the habits we’ve developed at the workplace are not so easy to tune into. So— how is an ADHDer supposed to adjust to working remotely during the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Here are 3 tips to help us cope:
An issue that arises for ADHDers is that at times we may struggle with internal structure. This means that we may be more distracted and feel less tolerant of boredom, which can affect the ability to accomplish tasks in a routine way. In this case, it’s important for ADHDers to set up a structure and routine that is specific to their unique needs. Instead of looking at a routine as boring and infringing on creativity and freedom, we can look at routine setting as a way to get things done efficiently, so that later we can spend time on unique interests without having to face the overwhelm and guilt that can come from pushing aside work tasks.
Routine-setting doesn’t need to be boring! It can actually be helpful, for example, to structure breaks and fun into the work day. This may look like pre-structuring and planning routine breaks, like scheduling 20 minutes after your first work assignment is complete to go for a walk or have a quick phone call with a friend. Planning a consistent and predictable routine may feel challenging at first, but as time goes on, it can become second nature and habit, which can really benefit ADHDers while working from home.
Decide early on in your remote-working journey where you will be doing most of your work. Keeping this space consistent is helpful for implementing a routine. Be sure that the area you choose to work in is quiet (if possible) and limited in visual distractions. Making sure things are uncluttered amongst your work space can help the ADHD brain to remember to prioritize and focus on only what is in front of it.
You are allowed to be clear about and set healthy boundaries. Now more than ever, it is important to be upfront about what is needed to allow your remote-working journey to be successful. Try your best to make it clear to family and housemates that you have set a specific work-from-home schedule, and that this means you are off the clock for house duties, answering phone calls from friends, having conversations with your housemates, or responding to non-work related text messages and emails.
Implementing these boundaries can help take the pressure off from having to get work done from home while also remaining a supportive housemate and friend.
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