ADHD and Adults — Daily Strategies

The impact of ADHD is not limited to any single setting — ADHD symptoms may affect adults in different daily circumstances.

That’s why some adults with ADHD use coping strategies that may help them manage their symptoms — at work, home or school, and social events.



Work

The symptoms of ADHD can be challenging for individuals who are in the workforce. Below are some helpful suggestions for managing ADHD symptoms during the workday.

Working with ADHD — Limiting Distractions

  • Use earphones, soothing music, or other sounds to drown out office noises.
  • Work in an uncluttered space, such as a conference room, where distractions are few.
  • Send phone calls directly to voicemail, and respond to them at the same time every day.
  • Write down ideas in a notebook to avoid interruption of the task you are currently doing.
  • Keep a list of ideas that you get during meetings so that you can talk about them more effectively.
  • Perform one task at a time. Do not start a new task until the present one is completed.

Working with ADHD — Organization and Planning

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  • Use a voice recorder or take notes at meetings.
  • Write checklists for complex tasks.
  • Use memory triggers such as a bulletin board or a reminder list on your computer for announcements.
  • Learn how to use a day planner to help you keep track of tasks and events.
  • Write notes on sticky pads and put them where you can easily see them.

Working with ADHD — Time Management

  • Use timeline charts to break down large projects into more manageable smaller parts, with due dates.
  • Reward yourself for achieving due date goals.
  • Use watches with alarms or buzzers, daily planners, or computer software with alerts or reminders.
  • Program your computer to beep 5 minutes before every meeting on your calendar.
  • Avoid overscheduling the day by blocking out more time than you think each task or meeting will take.

Talking to your employer about your ADHD

You may decide to tell your supervisor or human resources department about your ADHD. Let them know of ways they can help you manage your ADHD symptoms (for example, sending a list of tasks in an e-mail to help you keep track). Your employer may also be able to provide certain accommodations, like time management software.

You may find it helps to get regular feedback from your supervisor and co-workers to see if there are any areas that you could work on improving with a behavioral therapist or an ADHD coach.

How often should my symptoms be reassessed?

Even if you are currently being treated, follow-up appointments several times a year will help your doctor assess your progress and adjust your management plan, as needed.

Social Situations

ADHD can sometimes make social situations more challenging. For example, you may often blurt out things without thinking first, or have trouble focusing on conversations. 

Here are a few tips that may help you in social settings:

  • Before speaking or acting, pause to make sure that what you want to say or do is a good idea.
  • During conversations, observe others—pay close attention to what others are doing and saying and learn from your observations. 
  • Ask your friends, therapist, ADHD coach, or teachers to help you practice conversational skills, including providing feedback on how to improve. 


Home

ADHD can impact adults when they’re at home with their families, while handling household tasks, or running daily errands. 

Here are some techniques that some adults with ADHD use at home:

  • Set up a table by the front door to hold essentials like keys or a wallet.
  • Keep an organized environment at home to increase productivity and reduce clutter.
  • Use a day planner to help keep track of deadlines and important tasks to complete.