Challenges in Work or College

What are some of the challenges adults with ADHD can face in work or college?

  • The symptoms of ADHD can make it extremely difficult to stay focused and organised.
  • If a person is unaware of their ADHD or if they do not have tools to help manage it, they can sometimes struggle to keep a steady job. If they are in university, they might find it difficult to hand in assignments on time or make it to classes.
  • An increase in demand and stress with university or work can lead to some adults becoming aware of their ADHD and seeking out a diagnosis.
  • Time pressure is a big challenge for adults with ADHD. Limited time to perform or changes in schedules can build stress, making it harder to concentrate and lead to feeling overwhelmed and overloaded. To avoid these feelings, you might want to procrastinate the task.
  • A big list of tasks can make it difficult for someone with ADHD to focus. Even if they’re tackling one task, their minds can be jumping around, thinking about the other things they need to do. This can lead to starting and stopping a several different tasks, without making significant progress on any.
  • Lack of confidence and self-belief can decrease motivation and lead the person to hesitate in trying new opportunities, out of fear of failing.

What are some ways they can be managed?

Interventions for ADHD, like medication or psychosocial therapies, are often a big help.

Time of day can make a difference to someone's ability to focus. ADHD symptoms can be stronger in the evening. If that's the case for you, try to schedule your classes or meetings for the morning when it's easiest to concentrate. If that's not possible, breaking up the day with exercise and fresh air can give you a new start.

Create strategies for yourself to make your learning or focusing more engaging. Write out your notes, use internet extensions to block distractions. You might want to try coming up with three questions you have before a lecture or meeting so you can try to have answers by the end of it.

A lot of the time, taking time to relax or for leisure is a low priority, especially if you feel overwhelmed with your workload. Taking time for your hobbies and to relax is really important for you to work smarter, not harder. Merge leisure time into your schedule and routine. Try walking to work or university or schedule group study sessions with friends that have breaks for socialising.

  • Make use of the professional support you have available to you. Many colleges and universities will have maths centres or writing centres. ADHD Ireland have a helpful booklet on going to college with ADHD here.