If you have Adult ADHD here are my top practical business ideas for really making most of the opportunities in a business either as an employee or a business owner
Time management strategies at work. Manage priorities not time
Of course you need to keep a diary and manage your day but don’t get hung up or too focused on coordinating meetings and activities because they need doing. The key thing is not what needs doing but what needs doing most. All of us have too much to do and you hear people talk constantly about “not enough hours in the day”. I break my to do list into Essential (Highlighted in Green) Desirable (Highlighted in Yellow) and Nice to Have At Some Point (the rest). I only have 10 things highlighted (5 green and 5 yellow) to focus on over the next couple of days. Use post its or an App (e.g. Evernote) as reminders of your top ten. Find something that works for you.
There are some great courses on time management specifically designed to help those with Adult ADHD. Get all the help you can and check out some of the online resources.
The Adult Audio Library provides a wealth of information on virtually every topic to support you.
2. Create space in your diary to travel and for me time (to think)
I was recently on a driving course and at it they shared some research that showed that the typical business traveller underestimates their journey time (in this case by car) on average by 20%. So an hour long journey to that meeting we actually estimate to take 48 minutes. One of the main people cite for speeding was being late because they hadn’t left enough time to get where they were going. It causes stress and means that you turn up at your meeting not in a great state or frame of mind. For those with ADHD this is even more acute. I started to at least ‘double’ (yes I did say double!) journey time estimates and still plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time. Guess what? I become more productive not less. The quality of meetings and conversations is much improved which means better decisions, cleverer solutions and better performance generally.
Yes, this really is a business tip. In fact, I would say of all the things that have been shown to me over the last few years this has had the greatest impact on business success when trying to cope with my ADHD. I had actually started to focus on it even before my diagnosis with great results. A current trend is to talk a lot about ‘mindfulness’ which I am a great believer in. The practical element of this is focusing on and controlling the breathe. If we are in control of our breathe we are in control of our emotional state and stress. It means whatever the circumstance, the difficult presentation, the irate customer, the disgruntled boss, the argumentative colleague if we are aware and control our breathing we can stay focused, positive and controlled. I use the acronym B.R.E.A.T.H.E. (Breathe, Rhythmically, Evenly and Through the Heart Everyday). With practice more rhythmic and even breathing can become your default. Companies like Heartmath produce clever devises to help you train yourself.
4. Become a coach or mentor
I have found that I learn the most and develop the most when I am actually helping others. Amazing huh! But it is true. Coaching or mentoring someone not only is rewarding in itself but actually means you learn valuable things yourself. It doesn’t have to be done formally it is easy to find people around you who need and would welcome support. You don’t have to be an expert either. Of course, it helps to have some ideas about what good coaching looks like and you can Google your way to some good information but don’t underestimate you own ability to be useful to someone in support of their development by having the conversation. It doesn’t have to be hierarchical either. These days with technology changing the way business is done its the younger generation who may have the knowledge and can act as coaches or mentors to the older, maybe more senior, colleagues.
5. Get creative and fail fast!
This tip is right up the ADHDers street but applies generally in business today. Business moves at such a pace that we don’t have the same time for full analysis, eliminating all the risks or fully evaluating all the options before we make a decision. Don’t get me wrong we still have to do analysis, risk assessment and consider options but we have to do it in quick time. It is a must to do it with other people but get to a point where you can actually try something out and then get on with it. If it fails you’ll learn and move on. The risk of not making decisions and being slow are greater risks today.
We have to be innovating not only our products but also the way we do things and the way we go to market. This is thinking and getting creative about new ways to excite the customer is always done better in groups. If an ADHDer is involved it often helps the process – just sayin’!