Neurodiversity: Running a Business with ADHD
Hi, I’m Fiona and I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
It’s presented a few challenges when running a business but none that I haven’t been willing to find a way around. In the name of Neurodiversity week, I’m sharing my top tips. Here’s how it impacts my job and all the fail-safes I have in place to mitigate each one:
I struggle to stay engaged with tasks I think are a waste of time, like running platforms or ad sets I know aren’t working. This means I opt out of meetings that can be an email or I simply don’t need to be in and will constantly be reviewing client work to re-divest time and resource into what actually works. I have an extremely no-fluff approach. If it ain’t working, we ain’t doing it.
Big picture thinking is my jam, detail can get overlooked. I have Grammarly installed and have all my work proofed before it goes to clients and out in the public domain. I TRIPLE check everything I do from payments to ad setups and emails before they go out.
Gamification. I use a timer to see how much I can get done in that frame of time. It’s just a little kitchen gadget from Amazon but lord, it’s great. It means I CANNOT switch tasks or I’ll not complete what I set out to in that time.
Accountability software. We use Notion as a team so all our daily, weekly and monthly tasks are laid out clearly and everyone can see where I’m at in the week.
I forget things. All the time. Appointments, my glasses, laptop cables, my lunch and to charge my phone. I use mobile and Apple reminders and time block every single task into my outlook calendar so I get reminders of what’s next and how long I’ve got to do it. I have Trello boards for every client with my daily, weekly and monthly tasks so nothing can get missed. I also keep an extra one of everything at work and in the car.
I get waves of inspiration wanting to pause the task at hand to go follow through with this fun and great new idea. Instead, I keep multiple phone notes, post-its and take voice memos to go through when I do have the time to action any of it.
I think and talk way faster than I type. A lot of my clients are now used to voice notes as our main point of contact, much quicker than a phone call and giving myself RSI with a ridiculous typing speed.
I have periods of hyper-focus on tasks. I block out mornings for project work and have both earplugs and soundproof headphones playing low-fi for deep work so nothing can distract me. This is when the magic happens.
Limiting distractions. I switch my personal phone off in the day and have time restrictions on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn I know are my weaknesses. I keep healthy snacks on hand always to ward off reaching for something full of sugar.
I constantly change tasks. My days are built around this desire for new and fun. I plan in a variety of different tasks each day rather than a WHOLE day of content creation or reporting, I spread it all through the week.
I struggle to sit still and fidget. Every morning I get up early to run, lift weights, bike or walk to get the excess energy out so I can then sit at my desk in peace. Without this outlet, it’s like I’ve got ants my pants.
I’m insanely impatient, I want results NOW, I want to get on with it NOW, why are you stalling, why can we not just all crack on and get going? Why do we need an hour in this meeting rather than five minutes to delegate and go do? This is trickier, I appreciate not everyone lives life at breakneck speed so meditating, yoga and giving myself time to breathe helps shove down that voice screaming GET ON WITH IT.
I cannot switch off. My work is my life, I’m constantly checking client socials or emails and can easily pull 14 hour days without realising it’s home time and I’ve missed dinner. Locking my laptop and phone up from 5pm, outsourcing work so I can take weekends and holidays off and having non-work friends who just don’t care about marketing is the solution I’ve found.
If any of this has impacted you or you just want to mouth off your concerns then I’m happy to chat! Drop me a message.
Love, Fiona x