Managing Distractions for ADHD Mompreneurs
How do you manage distractions as a work from home mom with adhd? Being a mom is a challenging task, when you add ADHD and entrepreneurship into the mix, it feels as though you are pushing a boulder uphill while blindfolded with your hands behind your back. As mothers, we all want to give our children the time and attention they need, but we also need to have our own identity, with our passions and goals priorities.
ADHD mompreneurs face unique challenges, with their attention split in 15 different directions, as well as constantly reigning in the “squirrel brain” and raising good humans. One of our most significant hurdles is managing distractions, whether it be external, or mental, especially when working from home with children present. This sounds almost next to impossible… but with some planning, asking for help when you need it, and a few little tricks to help you get focused, it IS possible.
How do I manage my distractions?
Discovering the essential strategies for ADHD mompreneurs to conquer distractions and boost your work-from-home efficiency in this blog We off practical tips, balancing parenting, and professional responsibilities with a blend of understanding ADHD, structured planning, and utilizing time-saving and tools to help out.
Understanding ADHD and Its Impact on Productivity
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is “defined” as a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Yes and no….
In reality, especially for women, ADHD affects several different and often unexpected ways based on personality, upbringing, and skills learned throughout their lives. What remains true is that there are Executive Function challenges. That means, we struggle with the processing of information and organizing it in our heads. It also means that we are more sensitive to the multiple sensory stimulation (like noises, smells, sounds, touch) that seem to be constantly vying for our attention.
This makes focus EXTREMELY difficult unless its something we are super-interested in, and then the “feel-good” chemicals in our brain flood our system and we can spend HOURs on that one thing. If only we had a “Productivity” button.
In my case, that thing is problem-solving and making databases and interconnecting systems that resemble huge lego-block castles in my brain. It just makes SENSE, and I love the satisfaction of looking at my creation once it’s complete…. but I digress.
Unfortunately, we can’t go down our rabbit holes all day, we have responsibilities and little mini-me’s that need our attention and patience, so we need to do deep work while we can and leave the other parts of the day available for those that need us.
This unique situation can lead to increased distractions and decreased work efficiency. But there is hope… if you know how to deal with it.
Identifying Distractions at Home
Distractions are a common issue for individuals with ADHD and can come from a wide variety of sources. These can range from external factors like noise and interruptions to internal distractions like racing thoughts or hyperfocus on non-work-related tasks. (Don’t I KNOW it!)
For mompreneurs working from home, additional distractions can include home maintenance issues, children’s needs, and other family responsibilities. These distractions can (and do) significantly impact work efficiency, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress.
Ever heard of “mom guilt”? You know, when you have half your attention on your kids, but you feel guilty for not being fully present, but then also half attention on your work and you feel as if you suck at what you do? I feel you girl…
So sit down for 15 minutes with your cup of coffee, and write down a list on whatever scrap of paper is available of all the things that have distracted you in the last 24-48 hours.
Strategies for Managing Distractions
There are strategies that ADHD mompreneurs can use to manage distractions and improve work efficiency, believe it or not. And these are not strategies that I’ve just read about and repeating to you. They are things I have tried and have had success with myself.
Keep in mind, that some strategies that work one day may not work the next, this is the fun that is ADHD (and motherhood in general), but with these in your back pocket, you can always try another one.
- The first step should be to create dedicated workspace or home office that will help separate work from your home activities during your work day. An “office” if you will, even if it’s a corner of your dining room. Generally, it is better to have a door between you and the “distractions” so they are out of sight. A “place” to do work is a silent clue to your body that you are in work mode and you are more apt to be able to focus on it.
- Structured schedule. Okay folks… I know you ALL cringed at the word “structured”, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. While having a schedule, or certain times of day for certain tasks, sounds confining, it ALLOWS you more freedom for the things that matter. Here is my example. Routines are your friend…. so are habits, especially when you have ADHD brain. This doesn’t mean you have to always follow the schedule… but it does allow you to pay attention to the pressing matters
- Use tools and apps for focus. When you have the chance to sit down and work, there are a variety of things you can utilize to help you. Some of my favorites are The Pomodoro Technique, The Calm App (ambient noise) quick meditations for mindfulness, and Essential Oils like Doterra.
- Turn OFF the things that are most distracting for you. (I’m looking at YOU Instagram and Facebook,…. and sometimes YouTube and Pinterest)
Balancing Work and Parenting Duties as well as ADHD
Balancing work tasks and parenting responsibilities let alone house duties and cleaning is another significant challenge for ADHD mompreneurs. If you are like me, not only are you doing client work, “pounding the pavement” for sales, and marketing, but you are also the first in line for your kids needs.
While both my children are school-age, I am still the one to pick them up if they are sick, attend all of their 504 and IEP meetings, organize their distance learning if a snow day calls for it, let alone do all the runs for their doctor appointments. My children, with their own unique needs end up being my responsibility because I am the one that works from home, allowing me more flexibility, but it also means I am more easily distracted.
Their school days also end at 2:15 (which feels EARLY), and therefore my afternoons are taken up by snacks, homework, piano practice, fits, broken toys etc. so I need to make use of the morning hours to do the majority of my business work.
This means that I have to be strict with myself on when I work and PLAN before the week to circumvent those “things” that pop up unexpectedly. I also need to think ahead as far as how my daily schedule is going to work to make sure I have the time to get it all done.
If you have a plan, you can change the plan if something derails you. If you don’t have a plan, your life might as well be ruled by chaos.
Weekly Planning: Sitting down with a cup of tea and some ambient and relaxing music on Sunday night or Monday morning and do the following
- Write down all the events you have going on during the week for your home and work schedule
- Write down anything you need to do in order to be “ready” for those events.
- Write down anything else that needs to get done this week outside of those events
- Look at the “quiet” times in your schedule for the week, plan the “heavy thinking” items for those times.
- Admin things you can get done during kids practices, while they are watching Bluey (which I have never seen by the way… but I hear it’s good).
- Self-care time. Yes, this is important.
Then at the beginning of every day, write down your big 3 priorities for the day keeping that initial llist in your mind.
This allows for flexibility but still keeps the most important items.
Also remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity for maintaining balance and managing ADHD symptoms. Make sure you save time for a shower and a hot cup of coffee.
Tips to manage those distractions IN the moment
So I know that all of these hints are well and good, but what do you do when you are IN the moment, and you KNOW you need to get things done but your noisy brain keeps taking you down the rabbit holes?
Well my friend… first, recognize that you ARE going down rabbit holes. Recognizing WHEN you are distracted goes a long way to figure out what is distracting you and why.
If you are thinking about if you have the ingredients to make dinner, write down that question in a notebook or something and GET it out of your head so you can refer to it later or the next day.
If you have too many tabs open, and every time you go to one to close, you get distracted by what’s on the page and start doing something (not that I just did that 5 times in the last 10 minutes). Close your WHOLE browser and start fresh. Open ONLY the PM tool, or wherever your online task list is, or your manual notebook with your priorities for the day and ONLY open what you need.
Headphones and ambient music. I don’t know what it is (and it may be different for everyone), but it’s like being in a cave for me and all of the “noise” falls away.
Seeking Support and Resources in Motherhood
Regardless of what distracts you and when, your mental health is important. If you have executive function struggles (either from ADHD or just being over-tired and overwhelmed) it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey.
Seeking help when needed is crucial for managing the challenges of being an ADHD mompreneur. There are numerous resources available, from ADHD coaches and therapists to online communities and support groups. I know I didn’t hesitate to reach out to these support networks, even before I knew that I was neuro-spicy. They can provide valuable advice, encouragement, and understanding. Something we all need from time to time.
CHADD – https://chadd.org/
Additude Magazine – https://www.additudemag.com/resources/
More to ADHD – https://www.moretoadhd.com/
All in all….
Managing distractions is crucial for work from home efficiency, especially for ADHD mompreneurs. Despite the challenges, remember that with some help, you have the strength and resilience to overcome them.
Try these strategies, search for some more resources, and local support, you can manage your priorities, balance work and parenting duties, and achieve success, whatever that means to you.
Keep going, keep striving, and remember to take care of yourself along the way. You’ve got this.
The only way to learn something is to USE it!
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