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ADHD at Work

Troubles with focusing at work- Recently disciplined at work.

I am 26, and I’ve been working in mortgages and finance for going on 6 years.  I recently started a new job at a credit union about 6 months ago.  I’m finding it more and more difficult to focus at work, and I believe I am upsetting my team members as well as my managers.

I am medicated (1 20mg Adderall XR per day), and I see a therapist who specializes in ADD. While it does help, I do have some bad days where my attention and focus is completely shot.  I work in a “cube farm”, which has an open office setting and it can be very distracting to me.  My biggest vice is getting distracted with a thought, and running to Google to search something “really quick”.  Due to the nature of my business, there are times where we will need to search addresses or companies to verify employment, but for the most part, we are not allowed on the internet.

My boyfriend and I are planning a vacation in August for Jamaica. (YAY!)  3 weeks ago, I put in my application for a passport, and I’ve been searching flights/vacation packages at home to book our trip.  I recently brought these home searches to work, and I was caught looking up non work related websites twice (travel site and US Department of State Passport site). I was caught popping the screen down when someone walked by my desk and I received an email from my Asst. Manager stating she caught me.  My direct supervisor was CC’d on it as well, yet she wasn’t in the office and has yet to read it.

I immediately went and talked to my Asst. Manager and admitted what I did and apologized. I know what I did was wrong.  She was very receptive and thankful that I owned up, and I feel I worked it out very well with her.  My supervisor has not seen the email yet, and she will see it Monday morning.

I have been worrying all weekend over this.  I know I have ADD, and my supervisor knows, but I am beyond embarrassed, since this isn’t the first time I’ve been talked to about my attention at work. All I want is some help to keep me from doing these things and possibly sabotaging my good job.  I’m worried I’ve put my job on the line.  Any advice as to how I should handle this going forward and helpful tips to keep my attention in check?


I’m sorry to hear you are struggling so much at work @leahtaylor11! Staying on top of things can be very difficult when you have clinical-grade inattention.

I found some articles on with some solid strategies to improve focus and time management at work. (this one provides tips straight from other ADHD adults!)

Good luck!
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 08, 2014 at 2:27pm

Leah, I completely identify with you.  I often struggle to “get back on track” once I have gone to look something up for just a “minute”.  The fact that you are in a cube definitely makes things harder.  If possible, I would suggest that you try to get in to work earlier than the other staffers.  If you can start your day out in a quiet environment and have time to settle in, it sets up your ability to stay focused for the whole day.  I now have an office but when I was in a cube or shared office, that was the only way I could make things work for me.  Giving yourself that bit of an edge might really make a difference for you.  Wishing you the best!

Posted by conchita83 on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:16pm

Yup, I know exactly what you mean and I have been dealing with for ten years longer than you! I don’t have any advice, I’ve never been able to change it myself. I tend to hyper focus (and be very “all or none”) so once I go down the rabbit hole of “I’ll just read one news article while I’m waiting for this turnaround,” my day is almost shot. And yes, it is soooo embarrassing.

It sounds like you still manage to get your work and get it done well though. Maybe the answer is to find a new job where they don’t monitor internet usage unless they have reason to believe you’re doing something very wrong? Those jobs are out there—thank god.

Posted by LLB827 on Aug 27, 2014 at 8:33pm

...also I might add that if I try to forbid myself from doing non-work related things or reading about non-work related things online at work it makes me want it SO much more. It’s like going on a diet—if you tell yourself you absolutely cannot have ice cream, it’s all you’re going to want. This is what makes it so difficult to deal with.

Posted by LLB827 on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:16pm

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