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ADHD at Work

How to complete a task that has been looming for awhile....

Hello to everyone!

One of my greatest struggles at work is completion of tasks.  That is not to be confused with doing work because I am a hard worker.  However, I struggle to complete tasks in the proper order of priority because I (a) do not feel the pressure to do so (b) simply do not know where to begin and (c) find other tasks or excuses to keep me occupied while I continue to not deal with that task.

For example, I came in to the office today to spend some time cleaning up my desk and to specifically work on a set of tasks that I know I need to accomplish.  During the past hour, I managed to get a list going and complete a few e-mails.  Yet, I have not managed to make a dent in cleaning off my desk, which is bothering me, and I have not addressed the files that desperately need my attention.  Any thoughts on how to help me get motivated?  I need something a bit more creative.  Any suggestions are appreciated.  Thank you!


Two thoughts:  (1) pretend you are supposed to be somewhere else in 10 minutes, that you really oughtn’t to be messing around with those three pieces of paper right there (forget about an entire stack) on your desk, but maybe you can sneak in getting rid if just those three pieces of paper before you absolutely have to rush off somewhere, in fact, you’re already late for that other event almost anyway, but real quick, let me just grab this first paper before I dash out the door even though I have no business being here because I really need to get out of here already and (2) turn on the tunes!  Play internet radio.  Listening to music can really make a difference!!

Posted by hitwcidb on Dec 09, 2013 at 3:09am

Here are a couple great articles from on prioritization for adults with ADHD:

I hope you glean some helpful tips from those articles as well.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 09, 2013 at 8:28pm

This is hard to do for me, and I don’t have ADD!  I am a hard worker, but sometimes important things get put off because I think other things are maybe more urgent at the time.

So some questions come up. Is that task really that important?  Is it overwhelming?  Or does it take a long time?  Sometimes I do the short things first, even if they aren’t that important, so my mind is free to focus on the big stuff. Or I break down the big stuff into smaller chunks.

Hope this helps. You’re not alone!

Posted by Stephanne on Dec 11, 2013 at 3:33am

Pretend you are doing the task for somebody else at their request. I find that the dread goes away if it’s a job

Posted by wrongagain on Dec 12, 2013 at 4:21pm

Good to know others have the same issue. I don’t have any real advice just now, but I’m trying hard to learn a few skills. If I experience any breakthroughs, I’ll post another reply. One thing that comes to mind is that I often get more done cleaning my office if I go in late at night when nobody else is around and I can “hyperfocus” on it until it is done. Not sure if that is considered healthy, but it seems to get the job done.

Posted by Dr. SQUIRREL!!! on Feb 15, 2014 at 8:26am

This is something I struggle with each day.  I find all of the best excuses to not get something done.  That’s a skill in itself!  Hahaha!

Anyway, my suggestion is to do things in small chunks and utilize timers.  When I really can’t get in the groove, I try do a very easy task relating to the overall task.  I need that “jump start” sometimes to get me rolling forward.  I have also found that if I psych myself up on the way to work to get a task done and do it immediately upon arriving, I feel much better.

If you are anything like me, you likely thrive on the rush of getting something done right before the deadline because that is when you are at your best.  See if there is someone at work who can help you create a fake deadline to give you the necessary pressure to do the task, too.

Hope something out of all of that helps.  I know it can be incredibly frustrating.

Posted by conchita83 on May 07, 2014 at 6:31pm

I use music works majority of the time , or working at my peak times whivh for me is after work. Im struggling right now worried about my quality of work as admin not up to standard .

I have an awesome supervisor/colleageu so i asked for reminders, more stricter schedule to submit things and as incentive no coffee till im done with specific task in the morning . Theres not much i wnt do for my coffee

Posted by midge on Jul 11, 2014 at 8:18pm

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