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Learn how ADHD affects workflow and discover methods to organize it effectively.

Discover how ADHD impacts workflow and explore effective methods for organizing tasks to manage this syndrome. Learn strategies to boost productivity and maintain focus.

June 16, 2024

Workflow organisation for ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects about three in a hundred people (National Health Service England estimate). There are three main signs of ADHD - inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Also, people with this syndrome often have difficulties with executive functions as well as emotional regulation.  

It is important to realize that ADHD does not define the person but rather is the particular prism through which he or she views the world. This means that there are self-help and regulation mechanisms that allow a huge number of people with this diagnosis to achieve career success and build healthy personal relationships.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

If you suspect you have the diagnosis, you can see a professional who will determine whether your symptoms meet the clinical criteria for the diagnosis. The DSM-5, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, identifies 18 symptoms of ADHD, divided into two groups: one is "inattention" and the other is "hyperactivity and impulsivity".

Symptoms of inattention in ADHD include the following nine manifestations:

1. Frequent occurrence of careless mistakes in task performance, difficulty in paying proper attention to details;
2. Problems with maintaining attention: it is not easy for a person to concentrate on a lecture, reading and even conversations; it is difficult to listen to anyone for a long time; his attention slips away, jumps from object to object;
3. If you address a person directly, it can be as if he did not hear it, and to get his attention, you have to try hard;
4. Inability to follow clear instructions and difficulty in bringing things to completion. A person can be engaged in one thing but, in the next second, lose concentration and direct his attention in another direction - to a dog running under the window, a melody heard, a fragment of conversation between colleagues, etc.
5. Often, there are difficulties with consistent tasks, including storing things and organizing order. Even if every thing in the house has its own place, a person will need to make a tremendous effort to put things back where they belong. Keeping the desk and documents in order also becomes critically challenging. Meeting deadlines for tasks and managing one's time effectively is also challenging;
6. The person will avoid at all costs work that requires prolonged mental effort and concentration, including preparing reports;
7. Easily lose things, even if they are important for certain tasks: it is difficult to remember where they put their glasses, phone, and driver's license;

8. Easily distracted by stimuli, "floating in the clouds";
9. The person has difficulties in everyday activities: he/she has difficulties in calculating taxes and reconciling meter readings, in paying receipts and making appointments.

The following are symptoms of hyperactivity+impulsivity:

1. A person often taps his legs, moves them, has difficulty sitting without fidgeting;
2. It is very difficult for him to stay in his seat even when it is regulated: he will find an excuse to walk, "air out" or at least just stand, even when in a formal meeting;
3. Frequent feelings of restlessness;
4. Surroundings note that this person performs almost any activity loudly;
5. The presence of a certain internal "motor" that provokes fidgeting. A person can not feel calm for an extended period of time. For him it will be excruciating to delay the order in a restaurant and a long serving of a dish;
6. Often talks a lot;
7. Interrupts the interlocutor, gives an answer without waiting for the end of the question;
8. Can't stand queues, they are a real torture for him, he can easily leave the queue, even if it would be important for him to stand it now;
9. Interferes in the affairs of others, in what exactly they are doing now.

If you are diagnosed with ADHD, you will also recognize your DSM-5 subtype. You may have a mixed subtype, meaning you have criteria for inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. The other two options are predominantly inattentive or predominantly hyperactive.

What should you do if you suspect you have ADHD?

If you've read the list of symptoms and recognize yourself and your behavior in many of them, here are three simple ways to make your life easier and your workflow more efficient. These are all ways to implement into your life before an official diagnosis is made.

How does ADHD affect a person?

What to do for people with ADHD

For a person with ADHD, everyday life can be a constant source of anxiety. However, understanding the problem and the fact that you are not alone allows you to correct the manifestations of this syndrome. It is important to gradually change behavioral habits and reduce stressors. It is necessary not to procrastinate or wait for the perfect moment for a new life, but to start with small steps. The Voiset planner, based on artificial intelligence, will help you with this. Voiset will take the burden of the most complicated activities we've discussed above off your shoulders - making a schedule, following it, controlling time, etc. But more about it later. But we will talk more about this a little later.

It is important to realize that everyone is affected differently by ADHD. A person is affected by genetic factors, the environment, adolescent experiences, family situations, and so on. Therefore, the impact of ADHD on people with different histories and life experiences is differentiated. However, research shows that ADHD is associated with asthma and migraines in some people, and there is a study that shows that women with ADHD have more difficulties than men due to hormonal changes.

How does ADHD affect executive function?

A person with ADHD seems to live a somewhat different life than others. What is just a background for someone else will be an impossible stimulus for him. Working in a co-working space across from someone talking on the phone, he will instantly lose focus and switch to that conversation. And his attention is often so easily lost that anything can become an irritant - an unpleasant odor, a sudden movement, a missed call, etc. Imagine how difficult it is for such a person to perform routine tasks that require concentration, which are part of our lives! All because ADHD affects the executive function of a person.
Executive function is a set of cognitive skills that assist people in organizing their time, planning, behaving toward their goals, and performing meaningful, necessary actions.
It is the executive functions that shape our ability to control our primary impulses and our emotions, as well as our attention. They are also the ones that can either enable the completion of a desired action or prevent it from happening. These skills are part of our lives, and we train them during school, work, and life. If there are difficulties with these functions, we find it more difficult to cope with emotions, follow directions, and even impossible to concentrate.

The executive functions include:

- the ability to understand and manage your feelings,
- the ability to think first and do later;
- the ability to think flexibly and adapt to unexpected events;
- the ability to keep track of things as they happen;
- working memory, i.e. the ability to retain important information and details in the mind;
- initiation for getting started and completing tasks;
- planning and prioritization, including the ability to define a goal and understand how exactly to follow through to achieve it, etc.

One of the most important executive functions is working memory. This function is often severely impaired in people with ADHD, but it is not easy to achieve professional success without it. Working memory is responsible for temporarily storing information, processing it, performing various thinking operations, as well as understanding and reasoning. It is thanks to this memory that we suddenly remember that we have already had a similar precedent and retrieve the factors related to this situation.

ADHD can create problems in the following types of working memory:

1. Non-verbal working memory. It is formed in childhood, and it is what helps us to memorize information from what we see and hear. This is how we learn to imitate, manage our time, and also how to form rewards for ourselves and put them away;

2. Verbal working memory. This is the internal dialogue we have with ourselves. Children develop this ability through the example of solving problems that arise: "If I don't do my homework today, I'll get a «D," then mum will get angry. So, I have to do my homework". This system also partially regulates our moral judgments, and helps us to follow the rules and think rationally.

Self-help techniques for organizing the workflow of a person with ADHD:

Organising the workflow of a person with ADHD

1. Using the voice memo feature in the Voiset scheduler for emotional regulation

Many people with ADHD are critically affected by emotions, and they arise uncontrollably. However, some situations in our lives are repetitive, and we can develop coping strategies to deal with them. While most people are comfortable keeping an ordinary diary, for a person with ADHD, it can be almost impossible: try to find a diary and a pen and formulate all these thoughts. It's easier to speak them out.

Recording voice messages in a planner helps with emotional regulation, for which verbal and non-verbal working memory is usually responsible. They help you use your imagination to feel less angry or sad, negotiate with yourself, distract yourself from the situation, etc. If you're in a situation where none of these things are happening, and emotions are taking over, your phone will likely end up in your hands. Tap on the "Voiset" label and formulate a note - vent your emotions, re-listen to it later, and think about how you could help yourself in a similar situation. And if you forget about this note (with a huge probability it will happen), the artificial intelligence will remind you about it.

2. Use the reminder functions in Voiset

One of the critical issues for many people with ADHD is the inability to actually START doing something. It can take hours or even days to just sit down and get started. That's why reminders to get started on a task are critical. Following them is much easier than trying to sit down to work on your own.

3. Trust AI at Voiset

One of the consequences of impaired working memory is that time management in the case of ADHD works with great difficulty, as well as the prediction of deadlines and, in principle, the formation of schedules. Therefore, when a person with ADHD is told something like: "Just try to keep a diary of things to do, and everything will work out for you", he finds himself at a loss. He tries it, but it doesn't work. This is normal because he has impaired executive functions responsible for making a schedule and following it.  

Voiset is truly indispensable in the case of ADHD. Based on artificial intelligence allows you to shift the responsibility of scheduling to AI. Let it sort things out, help you prioritize, help you allocate the number of things to do for the day, and not forget about them. It also listens. That is, you just dictate a note when you have a minute, and it later forms a task from it and puts it into your schedule by analyzing its workload.

You can trust Voiset to organize every area of your life. You know which ones are problematic: maybe you have trouble falling asleep, so it's important to develop the habit of going to bed at the same time. Do you want to remember to go to the supermarket every weekend and pay your receipts on time? Add a task and Voiset will choose a convenient day in your schedule.

ADHD is the prism through which you look at the world, and Voiset is the corrective glasses that level out the disadvantages of ADHD and allow you to focus on the positive aspects of the diagnosis. And they are, by the way: someone will dream about the ease with which you can run away to spontaneous meetings and suddenly decide to fly to the other side of the world in a couple of hours. Your willingness to drop everything to immediately respond to a message in messenger, someone will only be happy. So, if you haven't installed Voiset yet, do it now. Right now. Don't put it off until later because you know it won't happen later, right? :)))))

Experience effortless task management today. Try Voiset for free and transform the way you work!

Try Voiset for free now