health

'I'm working from home with ADD. Here are the 5 things that help me organise my day.'

On Wednesday last week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the government would be extending lockdown for at least another two weeks. 

With the rising case numbers and the highly contagious nature of the Delta strain, most people probably weren't surprised.

But for me, the news triggered a breakdown.

Here are the things successful women do daily. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

I was in some kind of denial that the lockdown would be wrapping up soon. For the last few weeks my life had been a mess, and I knew I couldn't do it much longer.

Last year I was diagnosed with ADD – attention deficit disorder – at 28 years old.

It was something I'd been thinking about for a while, as the more I learnt about ADD, the more it seemed to explain a lot of things I'd struggled with in the past. 

In school, I couldn't pay attention, or retain any information, no matter how hard I tried. 

Once I left school and entered the workforce, I found that I could get by better with the flexibility that work provided.

In previous jobs I'd worked from home without any trouble, as it was never more than a day a week. 

But as lockdown means working from home day in and day out, it's been completely different. When lockdown first began, I found that getting out of my pyjamas, or leaving the house, were becoming optional parts of my day.

This was not conducive to particularly productive days where I felt good about myself, and I didn't know what to do about it.  

So, after I'd picked myself up after the lockdown announcement, I decided I needed to make a change to get through the next few weeks with the help of my partner, psychologist, and psychiatrist.

(Please note: I'm a podcast producer, not a doctor, and these are only things that I've found helped me. If you're struggling at the moment, speak to your GP.)

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1. Wake up early.

I am not a morning person, and for the first few weeks of lockdown I was waking up too late, missing any chance of exercising before work, or even seeing the sun. 

Because I was also missing my alarm, I was starting the day in a shame spiral by not doing the first thing I was meant to do that day. 

The only thing that gets me out of bed is accountability; to a job, an appointment, or a person.

So, my partner and I decided that I'd get up with him at 6.30am every day to walk our dogs together. 

This had me home by 7.30am and I felt accomplished because I'd gone for a walk. 

If you don't have a partner, do you perhaps have a housemate that could bang on your door until you get out of bed, or a friend who wakes up early and can call you and stay on the phone until you're brushing your teeth? 

Something or someone that will help you get – and stay – out of bed.

2. Create a schedule.

If you search 'how to work from home with ADD' (which I did, immediately) the first thing every site recommends is to create and stick to a schedule. However, this is one of the hardest things to do if you have ADD. 

That's why an office environment works so well for me, as the schedule is already in place. Start with waking up early (whatever that means to you) so you can try to start work at the same time every day. 

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Are there things you can schedule each day to look forward to like a call with someone or a coffee run? 

Break down your day as much as you can so it doesn't seem overwhelming. For example, I have been trying the Pomodoro Technique, which involves 25 minutes of straight work, followed by a five-minute break. 

Long stretches of time doing tasks seem more manageable that way. 

3. Do exercise and get some sun.

While I understand these tips seem like things that anyone could take on board as good habits, they can be especially hard to implement with ADD.

Getting outside and exercising is incredibly helpful in both regulating your moods and getting you through the day. 

Strength based exercises have been recommended to me by my doctor, and it's even better if you can exercise outside to make sure you're getting enough sunlight.

I can never make the effort to exercise when it's only up to me, so I've been relying on my partner to drag me out, as well as online classes that break up my day. 

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If you can find a way to make yourself accountable for your exercise, without putting too much pressure on yourself, there's a better chance you'll do it.

4. Speak to your doctor before making any changes to your medication.

Changes in routine can mean a change in your medication intake. Maybe you’re forgetting because your prompt was taken away, or maybe you’ve decided to stop taking them altogether. 

But before making those changes, definitely speak to your doctor. Changes in medication, even if you don’t usually take it every day, can have knock-on effects and make you feel worse.

5. Enjoy your breaks.

The best thing about sticking to a routine and taking scheduled breaks is that you can enjoy them guilt free. 

Reward yourself when you’ve done a block of work so you can recharge. I maintain the best thing about working from home is having a bath in the middle of the day on my lunch break. 

During smaller breaks, get away from your desk to make a cup of tea, play with your pet, or make a snack. 

On longer breaks, try to go outside or listen to a podcast. Avoid naps as you might struggle to regain your concentration afterwards.

ADD, like any neurological difference, manifests differently for everyone, and should be treated by a doctor. 

But the above tips can help bring you out of the slump it’s so easy to get into during lockdown. Keep your chin up, because this too will pass.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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