Managing Adult ADD, ADHD at Work

Learn about ADD at work, the problems faced by adults with ADHD at work, and proven strategies for managing adult ADD at work.

In today's tough economy and competitive job market, it's essential for adults to properly manage their ADD at work. Adults with untreated, unmanaged ADHD have trouble focusing on immediate tasks, daydream in meetings, miss deadlines, and ultimately cannot hold down a job for a long period of time (read about ADHD Treatment for Adults).

One study revealed that 50 percent of adults with ADHD were unable to hold down a job with full-time hours. When they did land a job, they earned about $8,000 less annually than others with similar skills, in similar positions. You must take steps to manage your ADD at work; you deserve success and peace of mind as much as anyone else. Do what it takes to make it happen.

ADHD at Work – Its Effects on Employment

Most adults with ADHD do not organize personal and workspaces efficiently, have trouble completing tasks and meeting deadlines, and exhibit impulsive behavior. Coworkers and superiors falsely assume that these behaviors show that the ADHD adult is lazy and unintelligent, resulting in poor performance reviews. Some of the negative behaviors exhibited by those with poorly managed adult ADHD at work include:

  • Excessive tardiness
  • Poor anger management
  • Poor organization
  • Missed deadlines and unfinished assignments
  • Procrastination
  • Inattentiveness
  • Speaking out of turn
  • Poor time management
  • Following directions
  • Poor attention to detail

Tips for Managing Adult ADD and Work

In addition to properly complying with your doctor's instructions regarding taking stimulant medications and regular visits to a therapist, you can help manage your ADD at work by developing skills for coping with daily challenges.

Check out the following strategies for managing adult ADHD:

  • Invest in noise-canceling headphones to mitigate distractive noise.
  • Keep a notebook with a calendar handy for jotting down lists and appointments.
  • Request a low-traffic, quiet workspace.
  • De-clutter your desk each afternoon before leaving.
  • Break down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Set a timer (15 or 20 minutes) at a specific time a day for answering emails and voicemail. These two tasks can turn into a time waster. Setting specific and limited times each day to take care of them will help you avoid time-wasting pitfalls.
  • Take detailed notes during meetings and phone conversations.
  • Set up your computer and smartphone calendars to deliver audible and text messages to remind you of important meetings and deadlines.
  • Ask a well-organized coworker or supervisor to assist you in organizing your desk, files, electronic documents, and calendar. They will probably feel flattered you asked them to help.

The Americans with Disabilities Act lists ADHD as a disability. Your company cannot discriminate against you because of your ADD at work, but it is your responsibility to do all you can to eliminate the negative effects of your disorder.

article references

APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2021, December 20). Managing Adult ADD, ADHD at Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: January 2, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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