Dealing With ADD You’ve got a friend or a co-worker. Sometimes this person amazes you with the concentration he pours into his work, producing prodigious amounts of material with seeming ease and fluency.
He might be late a lot.
He nearly always forgets details. If you ask him to bring wine, salad dressing and croûtons to a gathering, chances are good that you’re going to be croutonless that evening – though the wine will probably be of some special vintage and he’ll entertain you with a story about it.
If he has a task to do – like mailing checks… Don’t count on him to do it. He might get them out on time, but if you’re out of stamps, he’ll know he cannot do the task until he gets stamps. He’ll either forget the stamps or forget to mail the checks AFTER he gets the stamps.
When you talk to him, chances are good that he’s jiggling his leg or playing with the change in his pocket or doodling. You wish he’d stop that crap and just PAY ATTENTION. Screw what’s on the damned radio, and LISTEN TO ME! You might often want to shout.
If you are dealing with someone with Attention Deficit Disorder, chances are good you are going to want to choke that person. It’s a pain in the butt to deal with, no question.
The thing is, it’s not hopeless. Really, it isn’t. It’s just that the person with ADD needs to be able to cope. Here’s some things to keep in mind:
- Ohhhhhh SHINY!The person who has ADD can make his natural tendencies work FOR him. I use a PDA with an audible beep to remind me when I need to do things. I make extensive use of color coding to get things done at work, as well. Make the “oooh! SHINY!” response work for you. You can only blow off a reminder if you’re giving first aid! You’re allowed to reschedule, if you absolutely cannot do something at that moment, but do not refrain from taking action on your reminder.
- Eliminate clutter as best you can.ADDers are not known for being very orderly. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but on the other hand, do eliminate clutter. The very last thing you want are distractions from what you are supposed to be doing.
- Timers are Your FriendHonest to goodness, no kidding, I schedule my day in 15 minute blocks. I do not even TRY to work on a project for more than 15 minutes at a time without taking a break. Because of my hyperfocus abilities, I can get a LOT done in those 15 minutes, so I make the most of them. By then, my brain does need a context switch, but that’s okay.
- LJ, Email and Chat Notifcations are Spawns of the Devil Don’t leave them running when you are trying to concentrate. Turn them off during scheduled task periods.
- Schedule playtime. Allow yourself time for breaks, where you can have unrestricted fun with ferret shock. Your brain actually needs it. You can run your email and chat notifications then. Enjoy!
- Screw verbal instructionsADDers suck at verbal instructions. I mean, REALLY suck. Badly. If you have to give them, let the ADDer take notes. If you can, give written ones. My own family indulges me by sending me emails about things and lets me copy them into my PDA. This really works wonders.
I work in a fairly laid back office as a secretary, where email is the backbone of communication. I discovered that the people who sent me emails for task requests where the ones who got the most attention. I finally had to break down and explain to people who made requests of me verbally that I was not being inattentive by taking notes, but was actually doing my best to be as attentive and cooperative as possible.