How To Work From Home For People With ADHD

It is typical of people with ADHD to waste a lot of time messing about. So how do you build the needed structure to work from home and be productive?

How To Work From Home With ADHD - Lioness MagazineYou have a great idea: making jewelry, children’s games, or the best widgets ever, and you want to do it from home.

I worked at home for years. I dropped the kids at nursery school, drove to the office, ran my programs on the computer, grabbed my listings, collected the kids and studied my results at home for the next day. My work as a computer programmer was ideal for telecommuting.

Today with the Internet, creating your own business right from home is a real possibility. It means less time wasted in commuting hassles (saves gas too), and precious time used more efficiently, but it’s a lot of work.

What does it take to start your own business? First, of course, you need an idea, but it takes more than an idea to create a business.

Successful entrepreneurs have strong internal motivation. They are able to set goals, schedule time, meet deadlines and communicate regularly with partners about problems and progress.

But what happens if you have ADHD? Organizing, planning, deciding, managing time are bombs in a mine field for people with ADHD.

Just a minute, ADHD is where you get all those ideas, enthusiasm and energy, the very ingredients you need for success. Yes you still need good strategies for organization and time management just like everybody else.

Here are some tips to keep ADHD from turning your dreams into nightmares:

1. Set boundaries.

People with ADHD often have difficulty keeping areas of their lives separate. That means the whole family must respect your work time. If children have difficulty accepting that Mom is home but not there, get a baby sitter. It means keeping a clear division between home and work papers including bills and financial documents and material such as telephone and computer usage. Your accountant will love you.

2. Get started.

It is typical of people with ADHD to waste a lot of time messing about. That nasty commute you want to avoid is actually a useful transition from home to work. I plan fidget time as much as half an hour; it helps me to get started in the morning or to switch from one task to another.

3. Curb perfectionism.

Know when to stop. With ADHD you may have difficulty knowing when enough is enough. When in doubt, ask a partner or a colleague to do a reality check on what more you really need to do.

4. Stay on task.

Do you wander from one task to another and find at the end of the day that you haven’t done half of what you planned? So ADHD! Set a timer to go off every hour. When it rings, check that you are doing the task planned and review the agenda for what’s next, or try a vibrating watch to refocus your attention. With practice you will learn to control your attention without the fireworks.

5. Delegate.

One big problem for many entrepreneurs is trying to do it all. Everything is in your head and it’s difficult to trust others to do it the way you want it done. With ADHD, it’s important to recognize your weaknesses and find a partner who is good at doing what you can not like accounting.

6. Regulate your energy level.

Accept that you aren’t always in racing form. We all have good moments and less good moments. I have to take time to recharge my batteries with a cup of tea or by walking the dog. These are the moments when I get my best ideas. Schedule time to eat, exercise, sleep and relax. You’ll still have time to succeed.

Now you are all set. On your mark, Go.

In a nut shell:

1. Set boundaries: keep work and home separate
2. Getting started: allow time to warm up
3. Curb perfectionism: know when to stop
4. Stay on task: do what works to stay focused
5. Delegate: let others do things you are not good at
6. Regulate energy: respect your natural rhythm

Sarah Jane Keyser is an ADD coach. For more visit,

Photo Courtesy of Alessandro Valli [FLICKR]

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