May 18, 2017. By Ashley Agnew:
“Guess what? Kids with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. Stunning, I know. Maybe we learn to deal with it, but how do we thrive with ADHD?” -D. Greenwood
This question was the genesis of David Greenwood’s book ‘Overcoming Distractions: Thriving with Adult ADHD/ADD’. ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is something we are very familiar with in our personal and professional lives, and a topic that is increasingly present in our conversations with clients and colleagues as well. We had the pleasure of hosting Greenwood at our office for a networking breakfast in March to provide insight from his research, and to discuss a few the key themes from his book. With many entrepreneurs present in the room, David explained why those with ADHD tend to opt out of corporate lifestyles to run their own businesses:
Another common career theme among successful business persons with ADHD is the trend of hopping from job to job, or industry to industry, before finding a professional passion. David quoted songwriter Jimmy Buffet as a metaphor for his own journey in saying “so something like a Swiss army knife, that’s my life”. Having walked down many paths before finding public relations and writing, he shared with us his own prior experiences:
As David mentioned, “distractions are the enemies of greatness”. Though this statement certainly applies to everyone, for those with ADHD distractions occur at a more frequent rate. Here are some of the key tips discussed at the event to help conquer distraction:
“Find the right job, marry the right person”. The underlying message of this statement is the importance of establishing great personal support systems. Being surrounded by supportive and positive individuals might be the greatest tool a person with ADHD can have in their arsenal. He also recommends working with a mentor or a coach.
Sleep! A tired mind in one that is easily distracted. The effects of a weary mind will be compounded to an individual with ADHD leading to an unproductive day. Keeping a schedule and staying well rested will set the foundation for success. Incorporating daily exercise, even just thirty minutes per day is also a key to maintaining focus.
Focus on strengths, push off weaknesses. Acknowledge what you are not good at, and don’t punish yourself for it. Focus on your strengths and delegate out the tasks where your ADHD is limiting. Putting your energy into your strengths will be a more prosperous effort in the long run.
Batching and hyper-focus, goals and deadlines. Lastly, arm yourself with the tools needed to get through the work day successfully. Setting goals and deadlines leaves less items lingering on the back-burner. With deadlines set, you can batch your weekly tasks. Set aside time to perform your more demanding tasks during times when you are most likely to excel and truly apply your hyper-focus to finish projects efficiently. Those with ADHD tend to hyper-focus on the tasks or skills they particularly like, but time needs to be set aside for the more tedious tasks as well. Entering the work day with a plan ultimately leads to greater productivity.
Overcoming Distractions will be followed by two additional books this summer which study successful professionals who have found ways to harness the strengths of their ADHD. It was a delight to host David at our office and we look forward to reading his new publications when they become available.