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Effective Workplace Accommodations for ADHD: A Comprehensive Guide

Living with ADHD can present unique challenges in the workplace. These challenges differ for everyone, so accommodations are never one-size-fits-all. Knowing how to ask for accommodations effectively can significantly affect productivity and overall job satisfaction. Here's a comprehensive guide on accommodating your needs at work and how to request them if needed.

Understanding Your Needs

Start by clearly identifying how ADHD affects your work. Do you struggle with concentration, time management, organization, or impulsivity? There are lots of free online executive function self-tests that can help to identify your unique ADHD challenges.

Questions to Consider

These types of questions can help narrow the root of the problem so you can brainstorm ways to address it.

  • What is difficult about this particular job task/process?

  • Think about each individual step

  • Be specific about what makes it challenging

  • What executive function is involved with this task, and what makes it challenging for you? (ie. working memory, prioritizing, managing time, focus, etc.)

  • Are there environmental sensitivities that make focus more challenging than it should be? (ie. lighting, certain noises, smells, temperature, etc.)

  • Do you have trouble setting boundaries or have unrealistic expectations of yourself and/or possibly others?

It's easy for us to disregard that last challenge as a limitation of our ADHD. The reality, however, is that this limitation is typically a direct result of the perfectionism that often causes ADHDers to be overly hard on themselves. Because of this, setting personal boundaries, like knowing when to stop working or having realistic expectations, becomes difficult. So when we take work home or work after normal business hours, we're often given a heavier workload because it "looks like" we can handle it. Unfortunately, this is what causes so many ADHDers to eventually reach the point of burnout.

Identifying Accommodations

Once you identify the challenges, you can begin exploring and experimenting with ways to accommodate yourself with them. It can be difficult sometimes, though, to determine what we need. Here are some things we can ask ourselves to more easily come up with solutions:

  • What would make the task/process easier?

    • Is there a way to simplify it?

  • What about this task makes me want to keep putting it off?

    • Is it boring, or does it feel like a waste of time?

    • Is there no clear deadline?

  • Do I fully understand what I'm being asked to do?

    • Do I need more details?

  • What makes this process uncomfortable for me?

    • Is it the person(s) I have to interact with?

    • Am I intimidated by someone or something?

    • Am I unsure of where to start?

Once you start digging deep into these questions, you might be surprised at how quickly you can create relatively easy self-accommodations. Below are some examples of accommodations that many ADHDers have implemented for themselves:

Overall ADHD symptom management

  • ADHD Coaching

  • Medication

  • Online research

Focus and/or Concentration

  • Find a quiet space for focus work

  • Use earphones to listen to a colored noise

  • Block specific times to answer emails or make calls

  • Color or doodle during meetings

  • Body doubling

Time Management and/or Memory

  • Schedule tasks and set reminders

  • Use timers to gamify tasks

  • Visual reminders and cues

  • Checklists, cheat sheets, templates, whiteboards, wall calendars, flow charts, etc.)

  • Using phone recorders or AI notetakers for meetings

Organization and/or Prioritization

  • Establish a mentor relationship with a trusted colleague

  • Dividing large projects into smaller chunks

  • Frequent updates with a direct supervisor

  • Incorporate automation whenever possible

When to Seek Additional Support

If your job limits your ability to implement certain self-accommodations, you may need to consider formally requesting them. If that is true for you, preparing well for these types of discussions with your boss and/or HR is best.

Preparing for Accommodation Requests

  • Documentation: It can be helpful to have a diagnosis from a healthcare professional that clearly states instances of how/where ADHD impacts your work.

  • Timing: Choose an appropriate time to discuss your request, such as during a performance review or a meeting with your manager.

  • Clarity: Be honest and straightforward about your ADHD and how it impacts your work. Be clear and precise about what accommodations will help you perform better.

  • Focus on symptoms: Frame your request in terms of how the accommodations will enhance your productivity and contribution to the team.

  • Follow up: After accommodations are in place, remain aware of what's working and what isn't, and keep the lines of communication open with your boss.


Determining and asking for ADHD workplace accommodations requires a thoughtful approach backed by a clear understanding of your needs. You can create a work environment that supports your success by advocating for yourself effectively. Remember, seeking accommodations is not just about overcoming challenges; it's about optimizing your unique skills and talents in the workplace.



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