Good jobs for adhd sufferers

16 Good Jobs for People with ADHD

Modified road signs on job search

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Good Jobs for People with ADHD

While there isn't a one-size-fits-all career that works for every adult with ADHD (wouldn't that be nice?), there are certain professions that utilize and celebrate attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) strengths more than others. The following jobs for people with ADHD help many reach their full potential by putting their natural skills to work.

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ADHD Job #1: Teacher

Many adults with ADHD find joy in professions that allow them to work directly with children — in careers such as teaching or child care. These jobs rely on your dynamic personality and thoughtful creativity, though they may put your patience to the test. To succeed in a kid-focused career, you must be able to think on your feet and transition from task-to-task quickly — and understanding the challenges and strengths of students with ADHD is a huge plus, too.

[How Can I Find an ADHD-Friendly Career?]

An adult with ADHD explains why she loved working as a daycare preschool teacher who makes creative projects with kids.

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ADHD Job #2: Daycare Worker

“I love working with toddlers and preschoolers — they understand me! We jump from one project to the next and they rarely know when I’m off task.”
– Lori, an ADDitude reader

Adults with ADHD working as journalists who thrive on daily changes and short deadlines.

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ADHD Job #3: Journalist

A career in journalism is exciting, creative, and rewarding for dedicated reporters and writers who deal well with day-to-day changes in work setting. Most journalists cover a broad range of topics, interact with a variety of people, and deliver a quick turnaround on assignments — all a good fit for a person with loads of energy, a short attention span, low boredom threshold, and problems with sustained focus over days. Hard deadlines, however, may be a challenge.

An adult with ADHD typing on her computer as a copyeditor for a news organization.

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ADHD Job #4: Copy Editor

“My best job was in a busy newsroom as a copy editor. There was constant activity and fast deadlines. If I had 15 things to focus on at once, I was golden!”
— Patti, an ADDitude reader

[Free Download: 8 Dream Jobs for Adults with ADHD]

Chef Alexis Hernández prepares a dish while explaining why culinary school is ideal for creative adults with ADHD.

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ADHD Job #5: Chef

"I left corporate America to join culinary school because that was my passion. ADHD people aren't mentally [inferior to] anyone else. They are extremely creative. If you are able to manage it, understand what your strengths are, and not feel bad about your symptoms, it's not something horrible."
— Alexis Hernández, chef contestant on The Next Food Network Star

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ADHD Job #6: Food Industry Worker

Some adults with ADHD flourish in the culinary arts because the work is creative and relatively unaffected by ADHD-related deficits. Cooking requires you to focus on the task at hand and take immediate steps to create a finished product, while not demanding long-range planning or lots of working memory. Unusual or flexible hours, with sporadic ebb-and-flow pacing, add just the right touch of excitement to promote focus and attention.

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ADHD Job #7: Beautician

Estheticians, manicurists, and cosmetologists are constantly meeting with new clients — each one providing a unique creative challenge requiring only short-term focus. These professionals remain on their feet all day and jump from task to task quickly, an ideal working situation for an adult with hyperactive-type ADHD. Plus, the constant influx of customers provides ample social interactions and quick task turnover, leaving little opportunity for boredom.

A woman with ADHD working as a hairdresser explains why that is the best, most interesting career for her.

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ADHD Job #8: Hairstylist

“Being a hairstylist is the best job for this ADHD mama. I get a new client every 45 minutes and each person is so different! I can work 10-12 hours and feel like I haven't worked more than 3.”
— Robin, an ADDitude reader

A small business owner with ADHD places a Open sign in her shop window.

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ADHD Job #9: Small Business Owner

Starting a small business suits the strengths of ADHD. The hours are more flexible (though often more plentiful, too) and as an entrepreneur you are your own boss. Work settings can vary from day to day, which accommodates the restlessness and boredom that many adults with ADHD experience. Plus, you get to focus on your true passion: making your career and life more meaningful.

A man with ADHD working at home explains why working for himself is the best job.

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ADHD Job #10: Entrepreneur

"I got the feedback in my old jobs that I was good at starting things but not at finishing projects. Being a self-employed grant writer is a way around that, because there are defined projects with a defined life to them. "
— Daniel G., an ADDitude reader

[Free Download: 6 Ways to Retain Focus (When Your Brain Says 'No!')]

EMTs, police officers, and firefighters must work well under pressure and be able to make split-second decisions. These jobs allow you to work in a variety of settings, while providing the kind of adrenaline-pumping excitement that helps many ADHDers focus their minds. When others start to panic in chaos, the ADHD brain kicks into high […]

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ADHD Job #11: Emergency First-Responders

EMTs, police officers, and firefighters must work well under pressure and make split-second decisions. These jobs allow you to work in a variety of settings, while providing the kind of adrenaline-pumping excitement that helps many individuals with ADHD focus their minds. When others start to panic in chaos, the ADHD brain kicks into high gear allowing you to see problems clearly and complete the task at hand.

Nurse treating ADHD girl teen

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ADHD Job #12: Nurse

“I'm a nurse in surgery, which is good for my ADHD because it rolls with my fleeting attention, but has enough structure to keep me focused.
– Rebecca, an ADDitude reader

A computer technician with ADHD works on an enterprise level server.

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ADHD Job #13: High-Tech Field

An ADHD brain is a perfect match for high-tech jobs such as in IT because an under-stimulated frontal lobe gets jump-started by always-changing technology. Computer technicians rove throughout a company working with others to solve computer problems, while software developers generally work independently — creating and troubleshooting computer code for programs, websites, or apps. Both jobs provide ample opportunity to problem solve and harness that ADHD hyperfocus on small details.

A software developer with ADHD works at his computer on stimulating tasks that captivate this attention for a few weeks at a time.

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ADHD Job #14: Software Developer

“Most software tasks only take a few weeks which helps prevent monotony. As a software developer, the problems I deal with are diverse, interesting, and require constant hands on thinking — great for keeping the ADHD mind on track.
– Adam, an ADDitude reader

Woman painting

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ADHD Job #15: Artist

It's no secret that individuals with ADHD explode with creativity, so it's no surprise that they generally succeed when surrounded by other artists. Working in a fast-paced, artistic environment is ideal for anyone who thrives in creative chaos. Whether it's as a TV producer, choreographer, painter, or concert pianist, adults with ADHD are happiest when their work allows them to express their artistic abilities.

A theatrical stage manager with ADHD works with actors and explains why he loves his job in the arts.

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ADHD Job #16: Theatrical Stage Manager

“As a stage manager, it's up to me to facilitate every part of a production: from meetings and rehearsals to performances. It gives me plenty to focus on and no two days are the same. Plus, it helps that theater people are some of the kindest, kookiest people on the planet. I fit right in!”
– Jessi, an ADDitude reader

[Free Download: How to Manage Your Time at Work]

Brain Stimulation and ADHD / ADD: Cravings and Regulation

Advances in technology are offering us an increasingly bigger window into the neurological bases of ADHD. We now know that differences in structure, functionality, activation, and connectivity all come into play. The key to understanding your behaviors — why you act the way you do — is to understand the needs and wants of your unique brain. If friends and family can’t make sense of your actions, and sometimes you can’t either, learning how your brain works will explain your behaviors.

Rules of ADHD Engagement

The brain regulates our responses to stimulation, and needs to be engaged in order to function well. Optimal arousal enables brains to be alert, receptive, and ready to attend and learn. Well-choreographed executive functions cue the skills necessary for effective response selection. Goal-directed behaviors can be fine-tuned without the distractions of emotions or sensations. Generally, non-ADHD brains are adequately aroused by the shifting internal and external stimulation of daily life. Regardless of fluctuations in stimulation, those brains can operate with reasonably sustained focus, fueled by the dependable coordination of neurotransmitters. They can self-regulate with relative confidence, and exercise an adequate amount of control over their behavior.

ADHD brains do not adapt as easily; they have their own rules of engagement. They are motivated by their search for optimal stimulation, rather than by what others label as important. Their degree of arousal differs based on whether the request for attention comes from an internal desire or an external demand. The owners of these brains are not making conscious choices to ignore external demands, although it often appears that way. Instead, internal motivations are intrinsically more meaningful to their brains and, as a result, more dopamine becomes available. Concerns about time or consequences are dwarfed by the pursuit of pleasurable reinforcement. Whether through sensation or hyperactivity, ADHD brains compel their owners to scan the environment for engaging stimulation. When mundane tasks can’t be avoided, ADHD brains may be compromised in their ability to choose goal-oriented responses.

More Dopamine, Please

Learning from experience is the basis for sound decision-making, and the motivation to learn is modulated by the promise of reward. The current Incentive Salience Model describes a dopamine reward system that is responsible for motivation, positive reinforcement, and pleasure for all brains. However, dopamine-increasing behaviors are even more gratifying to ADHD brains.

Key aspects of the reward system are underactive in ADHD brains, making it difficult to derive reward from ordinary activities. These dopamine-deficient brains experience a surge of motivation after a high-stimulation behavior triggers a release of dopamine. But in the aftermath of that surge and reward, they return to baseline levels with an immediate drop in motivation.

[Get This Free Resource: Secrets of Your ADHD Brain]

One of the many consequences of reduced dopamine in the synapses is that the significance of tasks is decreased. If most stimuli appear equally compelling, it’s difficult to attend to the most important task. As a result, stimuli need greater personal relevance — larger, more immediate, or repeated rewards — to be attractive to ADHD brains. Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) has been proposed to explain why ADHD brains need stronger incentives. Deficits in the reward pathway, including decreased availability of dopamine receptors, decrease motivation. Indeed, ADHD brains struggle to sustain motivation when rewards are mild or are linked to long-term gratification. As a result, ADHD brains search for stimulation that can increase dopamine more quickly and intensely. Ultimately, the pursuit of pleasurable rewards may become a potent form of self-medication. In fact, dependent brains exhibit similar dysregulation of the dopamine reward system.

Every behavioral reward that has been studied has been shown to amplify dopamine production, including food, sex, exercise, competition, and music. High-risk activities — driving fast, motorcycle riding, and waterskiing — motivate ADHD brains to focus. Some extreme activities, like daring ski jumps, sky-diving, or taking fast-acting street drugs, elicit a dopamine spike, the brain’s most intense reward. Some ADHD brains have benefited from the greater dopamine involvement that is intrinsic to high-intensity, high-risk careers, like those of emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and ER doctors.

However, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, opiates, risky sex, pornography, gambling, physical risk-taking, reckless driving, and compulsive buying increase dopamine even more. In fact, all substances or behaviors that can ultimately result in dependencies have the ability to increase the release of impulse-reinforcing dopamine, and reduce the impulse-inhibiting effects of serotonin.

The Search for Stimulation

So ADHD brains are highly motivated — to find that unique balance of stimulation that enables optimal functioning. Whether ADHD brains overreact or underreact to the stimuli at hand, they rarely engage with moderate stimulation that falls “in the gray area.” ADHD brains tend to respond at one end of the continuum in most but not all areas of functioning. These opposite routes to the same goal explain how a high-energy, outgoing, talkative, over-subscribed individual and a shy, low-energy, passive, and withdrawn individual can each have an ADHD brain.

[Click to Read: ADHD Neuroscience 101]

For some ADHD brains, optimal functioning involves augmenting the existing stimulation — seeking louder, faster, bigger, funnier, and riskier — the more intense, the better. Boredom is a common complaint for the owners of these brains. For them, it is physiologically uncomfortable when their under-aroused brains struggle to engage with their environment. In fact, in mundane, low-stimulation situations, these restless brains may compel their owners to increase the intensity level with fidgeting, noise, laughter, or conflict, if there is no other route to high stimulation available. These more impulsive ADHD brains have their own logic: If some stimulation is good, more is better. This is the signature short-sighted philosophy of brains compelled to choose immediate rewards over long-term gratification.

Too Much Stimulation

In their hunger for greater stimulation, ADHD brains can suddenly find themselves in a state of over-arousal. Egged on by their need, most are unable to modulate their responses, and can’t anticipate an impending “crash.” The fun suddenly gets out of control, the laughter takes on a tinge of hysteria, sights and sounds bombard them until they are overwhelmed. Ambushed by physiological overload, and depleted of psychic energy, they become irritable, tearful, restless, or aggressive. Their brains abruptly demand respite from the commotion, so that they can regroup with negligible stimulation. Their sudden and total withdrawal is a source of confusion and consternation to those who know only the spirited stimulation-seeker.

At the other end of the continuum, there are ADHD brains that can barely tolerate existing levels of stimulation. These brains teeter on the brink of sensory overload, and seek every opportunity to escape from the bombardment. Unexpected or novel stimulation is experienced as an ambush, evoking discomfort, frustration, and irritation.

Owners of hypersensitive brains reduce stimulation by avoiding group activities, tuning out of conversations, and isolating themselves. They shun busy department stores, loud concerts, big parties, and prefer to stay where they can control the level of stimulation. These brains find comfort in the self-contained world of video games. With an internal structure that offers complete control over the kind and amount of stimulation, they select games with rewards that are strongly reinforcing to their brains. These rewards offer pleasure within a cocoon, shielding them from the unpredictable minefield of personal interaction. As a result, video games have incredible habit-forming potential for the inattentive ADHD brain.

Carbs, Chocolate, and the Brain’s Glucose Metabolism

Food activates the dopamine reward center in all brains. However, especially for the more impulsive ADHD brain, it leads to a torturous daily self-regulation challenge. The low levels of dopamine interfere with focused self-regulation, increasing the likelihood that ADHD brains will be inattentive to the factors that modulate eating behaviors. In addition, ADHD brains exhibit decreased glucose metabolism compared to non-ADHD brains, resulting in less energy available to the attention center in the prefrontal cortex. As a result, ADHD brains send out distress messages demanding more glucose, and the owners of those brains suddenly crave sugary foods and carbohydrates, which can be quickly converted into glucose. Glucose increases dopamine and serotonin, so brains experience pleasure and greater calm. Many people with ADHD chide themselves for indulging in pasta and cookies, when their brains are actually demanding those foods instead of salad. Chocolate is appealing to ADHD brains because it increases glucose and has the added stimulation of caffeine.

It is no wonder that those with ADHD struggle with diet and nutrition. When they self-medicate with food, their brains enjoy a surge of dopamine, an increase in glucose-based energy that improves attention, and a serotonin-based calming of restlessness. Particularly for the impulsive ADHD brain, this perfect storm of rewards increases the likelihood of overeating.

Sleep and the Reticular Activating System

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) in the brainstem is responsible for regulating arousal and the sleep/wake cycle. In ADHD brains, the RAS is dysregulated; circadian cycles skew toward higher activity levels in the evening, resulting in later bedtimes and waking times. In fact, many individuals with ADHD celebrate when they finally have time to themselves late at night. This is when they are attracted to internally driven activities, like watching TV, engaging with social media, looking at porn, or playing computer games. With their greater arousal, which is often experienced as a second wind, these brain-pleasing behaviors are reinforcing. Studies show that the blue LED light from screens further increases alertness while suppressing the normal elevation of melatonin. With delayed melatonin production, ADHD brains are flooded with both internal and external stimulation into the early morning, delaying sleep and making it difficult to be an early riser.

Neurology Explains a Lot

Understanding what ADHD brains want makes it clear that the struggle for self-regulation is neurological, and has nothing to do with character deficiencies. For example, it would be easy to misinterpret the following scenario as a standoff between two partners: Imagine that your partner asks you to pay the electric bill, and you say to yourself, “OK, I have time to do that today.” But when you sit down to do it, you keep getting distracted. The ADHD brain needs higher stimulation in order to complete this rote task with minimal payoff. Your ADHD brain says, “That task is way too boring, and I can’t focus on it. Find something that interests me more, which offers me a bigger dopamine reward, and I’ll work with you.” It doesn’t matter that you know you should pay the bill as promised; if your brain won’t engage, it’s an ugly standoff. Perhaps, after a day of procrastination — when your partner will be home in 20 minutes and the bill is still unpaid — there may be enough of an adrenaline rush from a sense of crisis that your brain will engage and you pay the bill.

The ADHD brain and its owner are at odds with one another. It’s difficult to compel a disengaged brain to engage by force of will. In fact, much of the treatment for ADHD involves learning to psych out the brain, so that it will attend to necessary, low-stimulation tasks.

Appreciating the tug-of-war within that pits intellect against neurobiology increases compassion and acceptance for one’s hidden struggle. ADHD behaviors are frequently mislabeled and misjudged by society, and there is some comfort in knowing that there are neurological explanations for seemingly incomprehensible behaviors.

[Read This Next: Everything You Never Knew About the ADHD Brain]

Ellen Littman, Ph.D., is a member of ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.

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ADHD. Eternal procrastinators, liars and sluts

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

We are 5-10% (depending on the region). For most of us, after hormonal balance in the post-pubertal period, the pathology becomes less pronounced. In this case, we are distinguished by slovenliness, procrastination, noise, carelessness and lack of punctuality. We are disgusting workers if the work we have chosen requires a systematic approach and long-term concentration. In fact, to be honest, almost any business requires a systematic approach and concentration. Even marketing and sales in the 21st century are dozens of techniques and hundreds of Talmuds. Well, programming, engineering is not for us at all. Sales and communications are the areas where we usually settle. We are fast and chatty, and often very empathic, so we seem to ourselves to be superman managers compared to the rest of the bumpkins. But the thing is, there are a lot of incompetent idiots working in this area. In Russia, we are saved by the general lack of professionalism and the wildest incompetence of the gray mass of workers in this area.

Oh yes, we are also convinced that we are not a gray mass. Our brain has a built-in mechanism that blocks the perception of the fierce chaos that accompanies us in any business. And the more pronounced the pathology, the more brutal those cognitive distortions that accompany our thinking. By the way, at the first meeting we often know how to impress. But for any lead, it will be a very useful skill to learn to recognize people like me. You won't have to wait until midnight for the carriage to turn into a pumpkin. Before midnight, we'll have time to screw up three times.

We always think of ourselves as oh… Supermen. I am 33 years old, I have a severe pathology, and in my case it did not get better. My world is a mess and a complete procrastination. My home office is not just a mess. I am sure that new forms of life are intensively formed here. I am not able to organize my desk, but I live with the feeling that I am the Messiah, the only one who knows how to organize the life of all mankind. In the most direct sense. It doesn’t help to realize that such patients have incredibly high self-esteem, and on average we are dumber than people without ADHD, due to the fact that our brain has never solved complex volumetric tasks that require prolonged concentration. Namely, the solution of such problems develops the intelligence of an adult. The entire Internet in Russian and English is littered with articles about ADHD, written by grown-up ADHD people, where 100,500 advantages of thinking an ADHD patient are necessarily given. And in general, the Internet is pretty littered with us. Leaving a thousand comments without reading the article itself is our typical case.

To be honest, I haven't commented or broadcast anything for a long time. Because most of the comments are some kind of game of infinitely stupid people. I have weaned myself from adding to them my own stupidity. At first I grabbed my hand and stopped myself with the question: “What is my competence in this matter? Is my opinion the most competent among all readers?”. Answering this question ALWAYS removed the need to comment on anything.

Most of my comrades are also hyperactive. It is easier for us to understand each other and share the plans of our space enterprises and accomplishments with each other. All these achievements are distinguished by one feature - they are always in the near future. Never past or present. We are good liars because we lie all the time from early childhood. But over time, the people around us notice this lie and stop believing us. But we manage to lie to ourselves throughout our lives.

We turn any bad habit into a serious addiction. Cigarettes, weed, sweets, burgers and porn. Especially porn. But we will prove to anyone that we have no addiction and on a bet we can quit smoking, stick to porn, absorb sugar even right now. And indeed we can for the next five minutes.

Science does not know the exact cause of ADHD. This is probably due to the regulation of dopamine, metabolism and some other factors. Strictly speaking, several types of ADHD can be distinguished, and in exceptional cases, hyperactivity and / or impulsivity may not be accompanied by an attention deficit. I have inherited my disease. My mother is incredibly impulsive. But her impulsiveness is expressed in the fact that, having received a task or set a goal, she immediately and without delay starts its execution, not stopping until the task is completed. Rare case. I'm not so lucky. I have a classic type of disorder.

Elon Musk has an atypical case of hyperactivity. Complete and sincere inadequacy in assessing the size of the task and the timing of its implementation is a typical case. Breaking deadlines is also our thing. But Musk is atypical in that, in its classic form, hyperactivity is about how the patient starts, but does NOT complete ten things at once. And Musk knows how to finish everything he has started. In general, a normal person releases a stress hormone if his brain fixes unfinished business. And I can wash a mountain of dishes, but when only knives and forks remain, leave them unwashed, because I'm tired. A normal person, being a minute from completion, even with the last of his strength, finishes washing them, because dopamine reinforcement is so close, and the release of cortisol due to dirty forks left in the sink will not let you relax. It's not a problem for me.

Musk is also atypical in that he appears to be a psychopath and has reduced or absent empathy. Because in general, we most often have a very strong empathy. In my case, this is super-empathy. I sympathize and empathize even with a psychopath, although most people are not able to understand his inner world at all. And when they come into contact with him, they perceive him as a monster in which there is nothing human.

We may also have a state of hyperfocus. This is an amazing phase for the hyperactive, during which we achieve fantastic concentration, almost inaccessible to normal people. Many hyperactive people never find an activity that can trigger a state of hyperfocus. And this could become their safe harbor. A vocation in which slobs and eternal amateurs could become real pros. I know this field of activity for myself. And with my pathology, the state of hyperfocus is incomparable even with the influence of [Roskomnadzor]. I am a pyromaniac. Fire completely subjugates my consciousness. No, I could not be a pyrotechnical engineer. In this profession, before the fire phase, you need to do a thousand calculations and not mess anything up. It's not about me. But as soon as I light a burner or an electric arc, and I can wake up only after 14 hours, realizing that my mouth is Sahara, I haven’t eaten anything, and my back and wrist hurt so that I can’t budge and need to call for help, because I can't crawl off the bench. But my ambitions extend far beyond the horizon of the profession of steelworker or welder. But I would be the most skillful and the happiest welder in the world, if not for the poisonous desire to be the messiah.

My attempts to find a good psychiatrist in Russia were unsuccessful. The competent ones did not take up my case, preferring to work only with children. The second carried a blizzard about the fact that there is no such disease, and you just need to be more attentive, concentrate, quit smoking ... ADHD was invented by American killer doctors to put healthy people on drugs ... hair on end, and this is not an isolated opinion. Unfortunately, only psychiatrists who themselves suffered from ADHD, who could not help themselves, were called to treat me. They scratched all sorts of nonsense about the virtues of hyperactivity, citing themselves as an example. Initial consultation, although also so-so, I received only in Israel. And damn, it's not cheap.

By the way, my advice to parents who suspect ADHD in a child is to find a way to emigrate. Any methods without drugs that are strictly prohibited in Russia will not give even 5% efficiency. For all this “limit sugar” stuff, do method X, and use method Y, you will pay a high price in old age when you watch what total chaos your child has turned his life into.

We are perceived as hopeless slobs. But just as drunkenness and promiscuity is different from alcoholism, ADHD is different from slovenliness. (i.e. almost nothing). However, the thing is, my closets were filled with books about how to stop procrastinating and start working effectively, books about how to think slowly, decide quickly, and how to learn to concentrate. But I lacked the concentration to even finish reading them, let alone form new habits.

Two factors forced me to write this article. The first one is my friend. He is a techie, a computer security specialist, a clever man and the owner of an outstanding intellect. His eldest daughter suffers from severe ADHD. The doctor told him that later it would pass, but for now he advised him to give sedatives. His advice fills me with anger and unbridled rage. Being impulsive, I would have hit this doctor with a vase if I had been present. To give such a child a sedative is to ruin his life and bury his intellect. Such children in normal countries are prescribed drugs based on [Roskomnadzor] or [Roskomnadzor]. Here, crazy psychiatrist gurus talk about killer doctors and harm [Roskomnadzor], offering some kind of shamanism and homeopathy. Others simply, without blinking, advise sedatives.

People often ask me why I don't have children. And having heard the answer that I am not ready, and I still do not consider myself competent in this difficult matter, they fill in that they say that you will never be ready. Our ancestors, grandparents, as well as parents gave birth in more severe conditions, nothing. Coped.

One of the manifestations of the Dunning-Kruger effect is not that the ignoramus is not aware of the full scale of the problem, but that he is not aware of the very existence of the problem. Because our ancestors DID NOT COME. From generation to generation, for centuries and millennia, they did not cope, producing stupid people, villains and freaks. And with this crowd of cripples, fools and scoundrels, we walked through the darkness of our history, illuminating our path with madness burning in our eyes, paving the route with irresponsibility.

5% like me. Another 5% are psychopaths. Up to 2% of people with bipolar disorder, >2% of people with borderline disorder… The statistics are merciless, and the list of mental disorders in the ICD-10 is very long. Most of these disorders are detected from early childhood. And it depends on the qualifications of the parents whether the disease will be a compensated feature, or turn into an ongoing nightmare over time. The chance that your child will not have any of this list is not so great. Wanting a child, rocking him in your arms and taking him to the home of the pioneers is not enough. You need to be ready to love and give all of yourself, all your time to a psychopath who will never experience love or gratitude for you. Or to teach how to live a dumbass, who is not only able to study properly, even the order in the room is not able to maintain.

There is a second reason why I am writing this article and starting to publish mini-reports on my page in the form of a blog. I suggested to our small team of VR movie fans that they should set up a commercial video studio to produce presentations in VR glasses. Such a studio could well raise funds for those small sci-fi films based on my scripts that we all really want to implement. For grants and budgets are allocated for all sorts of rubbish about how robots become human, instead of sawing beautiful fantasies about how artificial intelligence, instead of destroying humans, could help the weak, stupid, psychos, autists and people like me become better. The guys have written an application for remote content management, and the creative team is ready to take on the implementation of projects. But my challenge is to become the CEO of a company.

My knees are lead with fear. I've started a million things in my life and failed every one. Accounting, sales, organization - something that I better not touch. An ADHD person will fail any of these cases. And all at once with a guarantee! But I have scientific knowledge and the desire to become a messiah. My plan: to start making this world a better place, starting from my desktop. And it is important for me to report publicly on each stage. We ADHD people hate external control. But at the first stage, it is simply necessary. Besides, when you know that your brain is full of crooked mirrors, it would be good to lean on someone who sees the path without hallucinations and distortions. As for the guys, they are all excellent swimmers, and it seems to be just fun for them to watch me learn to walk on water. Cruel old-fashioned way to teach a child to swim. And my feelings tell me that the method is stupid and inefficient. But I'm already in the water. And I can only sink to their perky jokes or push off and walk on the water.

Deep work. How to restore your attention and immerse yourself in work

My name is Anastasia Yarmosh, and I have been working for Virtuace for 6 years now. I got into the IT world by accident, I started from the position of an office manager, even when our company did not even have an office in Kyiv (such a paradox). Over the years, the company has grown, and I have grown with it. My functionality has increased and now also includes internal communications and organizing events.

Communicating with people who worked and still work for us, I noticed that people are different, but their problems are similar. It is difficult for many to concentrate on work, but as soon as they concentrate, urgent matters immediately appear ... I myself, while working on various internal projects in the company, have come across this more than once. So the problem of procrastination and superficial deepening into a task is relevant for many, regardless of specialization. I am sure that my experience will be useful to everyone - both non-technical and technical specialists. In this article I want to tell you how you can fight this and not just fight, but win. To spite all deadlines!

Illustration by Alina Samolyuk

Why can't I start working

I have a blank sheet of paper in front of me. You need to focus on writing an article. But I guess I'll make myself some coffee first. After all, you can’t start without coffee, it’s hard to think, and in general, what is drinking coffee? It's only five minutes, and then I'll get to work right away, right away.

Approximately such thoughts accompanied me for several weeks, and every day there was a whole pile of everything: from personal affairs and work to coffee-tea-Facebook. And no, postponing and distracting from writing an article is not the case when "I don't want to do it, I'm just dragging it out" because I really want to. What I really do not want to do is not enough, I delegated almost all of this. I learned to distinguish between what I want and what I really don't want. And I am not unique in my problem, for good reason there is a saying “you are always torn between important and urgent”. And the urgent wins. There is always something that needs to be done yesterday, there is always some kind of five-minute task, and more than one. They end up eating all day long. And then another day and another. But how can you focus on the important here when more and more new messages from the client are coming in, in the work chat the junas are crying out for help, and the coffee won’t drink itself? Let's figure it out. In the end, I took up writing this article precisely in order to find out once and for all what kind of "bug" this is and how to "fix" it.

Psychologists all over the world say two things: that laziness does not exist and that something more is always hidden behind it. To summarize everything that I have read in my life on this topic (for example, the books "Parkinson's Laws" by Cyril Norkot, "Willpower" by Kelly McGonigal, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, Psi-Factor, Psy Practice, Association for Psychological Science), then the following items can be distinguished:

  1. Unwillingness to perform a task
  2. Incorrectly equipped workplace
  3. Misaligned time
  4. Lack of energy due to lack of sleep, illness, or stress
  5. Not knowing how to complete a task
  6. Procrastination
  7. Inspiration addiction
  8. ADHD syndrome

    Unwillingness to perform task

    This is one of the most common reasons. For example, you realize the meaninglessness of the action being performed. When no matter how much effort you put in, the task does not lead to the desired result. Or the regulated actions are illogical and actually hinder more than help to complete the task.

    The human brain is not a fool, it knows how to consider the expediency of any action even before we have time to understand anything. And often, feeling unwillingness to perform this or that action, it makes sense to break it down into points and check how much they correspond to what should be the result.

    When I worked on one of the customer's projects as a content manager, one of my duties was to upload documents of different clients to the portal. It was impossible to download everything at the same time, it was necessary to download one at a time and manually set confidentiality everywhere. The portal was written on an outdated platform, so nothing could be automated. But each time, performing several hours of actions (there were a lot of documents and they were updated frequently), which can be done in two minutes with the correct organization of the process, I was greatly demotivated and felt pointless.

    Periodically it is worth setting checkpoints and seeing how close we are to the goal, and immediately doing an analysis: if not, then why? Can it be done faster/easier? Always look for easy ways, even if you happen to be in the 15th century, then do not drag the cart yourself where you can harness the horse.

    Incorrectly equipped workplace

    This item is often underestimated by people. Because when the workplace is arranged conveniently and correctly, we take it for granted and do not pay attention to all these convenient little things. And when something is wrong, we cannot realize what the problem is, but we begin to evade work. It is easy to check whether your workplace is comfortable, whether at home or in the office, you need to pay special attention to such things for one or two days:

    • Are your eyes too tired from the monitor screen, if so, you should change the screen;
    • Does your back or other parts of your body hurt by the end of the day from a chair or other surface you sit on;
    • Is it too noisy where you sit? You can check it this way: if by the end of the day you hear the noise of voices or other sounds in your head, it means that your brain is under additional load, it perceives noise as information and endlessly processes it;
    • is not too bright or, conversely, dim lighting. This point could be attributed to the convenience of the monitor screen, but still it is a little different: incorrect lighting is perceived by the brain in the same way as noise, and when you take your tired eyes away from the screen, you do not relax them, but strain them with the wrong light;
    • whether the desktop is conveniently equipped, is there a place to neatly fold papers, personal items, put a cup, and so on. If there is bedlam, then see the paragraph above, the brain will be distracted and process unnecessary information all the time;
    • cleanliness of the desk, chair. This, it would seem, is obvious, but I will emphasize again: dust, dirt, food debris and stains cause subconscious disgust and unwillingness to touch and be near such objects.

    If at least one of the points matches, you will unconsciously avoid long and thoughtful work, as if looking for a reason not to stay at the workplace for a long time. For example, in our company, some people, despite the opportunity they have to work from anywhere in the world (which was especially clearly shown by quarantine), still strive to come to the office. Often the point is that the workplace is more properly organized in the office. The conclusion is simple: there should be nothing superfluous at the workplace, a table, a chair should be adjusted to the height and rigidity you need, the lighting should be neutral, and noise should be kept to a minimum.

    Wrong allocation of time

    Of course, we all sin with this point, and no matter how we try to ideally allocate our time, it is impossible to do it completely. But still, in order to minimize throwing between urgent and important, you should follow these simple rules.

    Do not schedule too many diverse tasks for one day. It takes from 5 to 15 minutes to switch between tasks, so some items will be unrealistic to complete.

    For example, my friend team leader during the day coordinates the work of testers, business analysts, his team, trains juniors, sometimes acts as an admin and writes code. Naturally, he doesn’t do everything, he gets exhausted day after day, and as a result, from time to time he generally feels apathy for work. After all, it is extremely difficult when writing logic to answer an urgent call from a customer with a call for help “My VPN is not working, what should I do”. Then answer the questions of the juniors, then return to writing code and coordinate the work of everyone in the process.

    Look at the problem. Estimate how long it takes to complete it. Now multiply by two. It's always better to put in more time than less, especially when you're giving an estimate to a client. It will be better to turn in work before the deadline and be known as a person who does everything faster than vice versa.

    Go through the list of tasks and delegate everything that can be delegated , and do only what is really up to you. Thus, the list of "urgent" cases will clearly decrease. The higher your qualifications, the more difficult tasks you leave yourself, and the whole routine, for example, changing a label, can be done by a person with less experience. How to check what can be delegated? If few people can do the job, then this is what you are on the project for. Give away the rest if you can.

    Among your tasks, highlight strategic and long-term tasks , where the result is needed not for tomorrow, but, for example, in six months. And by all means, devote time to these tasks every day for 1-2 hours. This will prevent the situation when you have to complete the task "for yesterday".

    When completing a task, give yourself time to rest. No matter how infuriating the advice “take a break every hour for 10 minutes and do a warm-up”, especially when we finally just focused on work, these breaks will not allow fatigue to accumulate, they will not start to “choke” from the volume of the task, but they will provide an easy reboot and the opportunity to review what has already been done and improve, optimize something.

    Turn off all notifications mail, facebook and so on while doing work, they will only "slow down". Even if you don't look at your phone or email, the feeling of anxiety that something has come to you will eat up your attention.

    Lack of energy due to insufficient sleep, illness or stress

    We all live in conditions that are far from ideal. We sleep little, eat improperly, get sick and get nervous. But no matter how much you want to put up with it and live on, you won’t be able to ignore your body. A tired person cannot just physically concentrate and perform work efficiently.

    We always find time to refuel the car, change the oil in it, fix the faults, put on the tires in time, because we know: it won’t work out, it just won’t go. But you can agree with yourself, you can persuade yourself to “watch another episode of the series at night”, and as a result, sleep for 4 hours and wake up the children with a blurred mind, take them to school and then get to work.

    Once I read a whole meditation on the topic of how to start going to bed on time at the writer Anna Starobinets. Anna got to the bottom of the reason: she did not go to bed on time, because the night is the time of her freedom, when she owes nothing to anyone, no one expects anything from her. Everyone is asleep and she can just rest.

    Many people have a similar problem. You can deal with it in this way (I haven’t tried it myself yet, but let’s start together!): clearly indicate the time when you can be “pulled” by customers, the team, children, wife, dog, and the time when you are unavailable in any form . In work, it is easy to limit yourself to business hours. By the way, people who are ready to communicate only during working hours look more valuable in the eyes of clients and employers than those who immediately answer and rush to fulfill any requests instantly.

    It’s more difficult with loved ones, but if you agree on an hour or two just for yourself, for example, right after work or in the morning, indicate that even if you are at home, you are not available at all, the feeling that you need to wait for the night to stick to the series / book, feed in social networks, will disappear by itself. You need to rest no less efficiently and correctly than work. There is a good phrase: "Lack of rest leads to underwork, and this is a direct path to poverty." I'm going to print it out and hang it on my fridge.

    Not knowing how to complete a task

    Coming to a certain position, we often think that universal knowledge is expected of us. But it is impossible to know everything, and what distinguishes a competent specialist from an illiterate one is the ability to find the necessary information and navigate the situation. The fear of the unknown and the fear of being exposed are quite understandable, but you need to fight them by admitting the fact “I can’t know everything”, and then proceed to study the documentation, Google, turn to colleagues.

    In the end, the team is needed for this, in order to support and prompt at the right time. As soon as the fear of making a mistake disappears and that someone realizes that you don’t know something, it will immediately become easier to perform new tasks.

    When communicating with colleagues from different teams, I saw the emerging fear in people (especially juniors or those who recently came to work on a project) because they did not know how to perform this or that task, and thought that they would certainly fired, demoted. But the truth is that often the team lead and tech lead see everything perfectly: what kind of specialist you are, and what you know and what you don’t, and understand how your soft skills will help in solving difficult problems, whether you read the right things, whether you persevere in solving tasks, ask for help.

    Team leads are people who are good at "seeing" others, they already know your weaknesses. When I explained this to my colleagues, they calmed down, tuned in to work, and everything worked out for them. Fear helped people survive in primitive conditions, but in the modern world it often hinders than vice versa. How often has fear kept us from real danger? And how often from success?


    Procrastination is the constant companion of all perfectionists, they are also excellent students in life. People who are used to bringing everything to the ideal, in reality, suffer because they spend a lot of time and effort, and the ideal result often remains like the horizon - beautiful, but unattainable. It is extremely difficult to deal with this, we were taught to do this in schools and institutes, showing how important it is to rewrite sticks and hooks ten times in order to get that very cherished "five" and be known as a good fellow. Until the next day. In which there will be a new portion of imperfectly even sticks and rewrite them again to a perfectly even state.

    Over the years, the perfectionist's friend, procrastination, invariably appears. It brings with it a reluctance to do anything at all if there is still no ideal result. This is a dangerous condition that sucks strength and energy out of us, preventing us from working in return.

    According to my personal observations, our Western colleagues have this problem many times less often, because no one forced them to draw even sticks at the age of 7, when fine motor skills of the hand were not yet developed, but they were taught that the time would come and the stick would be perfect even. And you are already doing well now, because by doing this today, you are one step closer to the result. You can always do better, but you need to understand that "great things take great time", and do not demand from yourself the perfect result "for yesterday".

    Dependence on inspiration

    Inspiration is an insidious thing and often leaves us at the right moment. On this path, the ideal interceptor will be perseverance. Inspiration has run out, and the work is still not half done? Keep doing. Even if it seems that the previous half of the code was great, and now you write junk - still continue. It only seems that that part was written for you by inspiration, and without it you cannot. You wrote it - both then and now. And the second part will be no less good than the first, because you are a professional in your field.

    Once upon a time, I was at a master class in photography with a famous photographer - Katerina Upit, and throughout the lesson she talked about building a composition, choosing angles, processing methods, color wheel, geometry in photography, in short, about tools . And not a word about the great secret "how to catch the muse." Apparently, this question tormented not only me, because at some point they asked from the audience: “But what about inspiration? And if it is not there, then how to work?”, to which Katerina replied: “What does inspiration have to do with it? I just sit down and process the pictures or go and shoot. It's a myth that an artist needs inspiration. He needs professionalism, a set of tools and a desire to work, and inspiration is a fleeting thing, it will not make you a professional. Just take it and do it." I have remembered this advice for the rest of my life.

    ADHD Syndrome

    A medical problem that is little known in Ukraine, and in general in the CIS. It is known that about 2.9% of adults in the world suffer from this problem. There are various forms and combinations. Let's start with what it is.

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a neurological-behavioral developmental disorder that begins in childhood. It manifests itself with symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, and poorly controlled impulsivity. Also, with a tendency to ADHD in adults, a decrease in intelligence and difficulty with the perception of information are possible.

    In ICD-10, ADHD was classified as a hyperkinetic disorder, a group of emotional and behavioral disorders that usually begins in childhood, while in ICD-11 it refers to neurodevelopmental disorders (according to WHO). It is believed that some children, namely 30%, "outgrow" this syndrome or adapt to it in adulthood. There are various combinations of this disease: "inattention" and/or "hyperactivity and impulsivity". Next, I will list the main symptoms.


    1. Often fails to pay attention to details: due to carelessness, frivolity, makes mistakes in the work performed and other activities (for example, skips details, work is inaccurate).
    2. Usually has difficulty maintaining attention when performing tasks.
    3. Often one gets the impression that a person does not listen to the speech addressed to him (for example, that he is mentally in a different place).
    4. Often does not follow instructions and does not complete tasks, duties, or routines at the workplace (for example, starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily distracted).
    5. Often has difficulty managing tasks and other activities independently (eg, difficulty managing sequential tasks, difficulty keeping materials and things in order; messy, disorganized work, poor time management, missed deadlines).
    6. Usually avoids engaging in tasks that require sustained mental effort (eg, school or homework, for older adolescents and adults, preparing reports, filling out forms, reviewing long documents).
    7. Often loses things.
    8. Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
    9. Often shows forgetfulness in everyday situations (for example, performing duties, errands, paying bills, making appointments).

    Hyperactivity and impulsivity

    1. Restless movements in the hands and feet are often observed; sitting on a chair, wriggling in place.
    2. Often gets up from his seat in situations where he needs to stay put.
    3. Often shows aimless physical activity, suffers from feelings of anxiety.
    4. Usually unable to quietly, calmly do anything in his spare time.
    5. Is often in constant motion and behaves “as if a motor was attached to it” (for example, it is uncomfortable for him to be in restaurants, at meetings for a long time).
    6. Sometimes talkative.
    7. Often answers before the question is asked to the end (eg, completes people's sentences, cannot wait for a turn in the conversation).
    8. Usually has difficulty waiting for favorable events in various social situations (for example, waiting for the right to be served on a first-come, first-served basis).
    9. Frequently interrupts or intrudes on others (eg, butts into conversations, may start using other people's things without asking or getting permission).

    Many adults who were not diagnosed with ADHD in childhood do not realize that this is precisely the reason for their inability to maintain attention, difficulties in learning new material, in organizing the space around them and in interpersonal relationships.

    That is, the inability to concentrate for some people is not their personal unwillingness to work, but a medical problem that needs to be addressed comprehensively. It is important to remember that an accurate diagnosis can only be made by a specialist who will prescribe the correct treatment.


    It is difficult for everyone to focus on work from time to time, but the more interesting and meaningful for you what you are doing, the easier it will be to complete tasks. But if you put your workplace in order, correctly allocate time, get enough sleep and are healthy, figured out how to complete tasks, didn’t give a damn about the lack of inspiration, and the work still doesn’t go, then perhaps what you are doing does not correspond to your level and your own expectations from yourself? Think about it.

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