Managing ADHD at Work

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The symptoms of ADHD can present many challenges for the adult in the workplace, just as they do for the child in school.1 Although each adult patient's challenges are unique, some general strategies may be helpful to most adults with ADHD when applied at work:

  • Take steps to decrease distractibility: The patient may consider requesting a private office or quiet cubicle, or he or she may find it helpful to take work home or work when others are not in the office. Another key strategy is to perform only one task at a time; another task should not be started until the current one is done.1
  • Learn how to limit impulsivity: Adults with ADHD who struggle with impulsivity in the workplace may benefit from learning how to anticipate problems that regularly trigger impulsive reactions and develop routines for coping with these situations. Practicing relaxation and meditation techniques may also help.1
  • Channel hyperactivity: A patient with ADHD may find it helpful to take intermittent breaks to move around, exercise, or take a walk. During meetings, taking notes may help to prevent restlessness.1
  • Outsmart a poor memory: To counteract forgetfulness, adults with ADHD can try writing checklists for complicated tasks; using a day planner, smart phone, or other PDA device to keep track of tasks and events; setting up reminder announcements on the computer; and writing notes on sticky pads and putting them in highly visible places.1
  • Avoid the opportunity for procrastination: Having a firm deadline in place can help prevent a patient from continuously delaying completion of a project. Tasks can be broken into smaller pieces, with small rewards along the way (eg, a walk to the coffee shop). The patient may also want to consider working on a team with a coworker who manages time well.1


  1. National Resource Center on AD/HD. What We Know #16: Succeeding in the Workplace. Landover, MD: National Resource Center on AD/HD. 2003. workplace/WWK16. Accessed April 2016.