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A.D.H.D at Work…And What to Do About It

Author: Charlie Cook   |   November 13th, 2014

Paperwork OverwhelmRecently, I joined a new business where despite the founder’s knowledge, strong relationships with clients, and a huge opportunity, the business was losing more and more money every day. The problem?

According to every symptom, my partner was a classic example of someone with A.D.H.D. Despite a surfeit of motivation he suffered from inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. He’d do things like be in the middle of a key project and then suddenly disappear following an urge to drive into town to buy a coke. Work wasn’t getting done and the business was headed downhill as a result.

I was almost ready to ask him to start taking drugs before his behavior lead us to bankruptcy. Fortunately, I hired an “A.D.H.D. coach” for him first.

Over the next 6 months, he eliminated all the sugar he was eating and changed his diet to more basic whole foods and his focus improved. Then he started exercising more regularly and I saw more improvement. Then he turned off his cable TV subscription and I saw even more gains. His A.D.H.D. coach taught him basic organizing skills ones, ones he’d never learned growing up, and his focus improved even more.

Then a few months ago, he got tested for sleep apnea, which it turns out he had. And now that he is getting treated for that, he is getting a full night’s sleep. No surprise his attention span and productivity have taken yet another leap forward, as has our business.

Physicians are taught to prescribe medication, which is what they do. I’d suggest that most cases of A.D.H.D. could be solved instead by changes in diet, exercise, reduction in external stimuli such as TV, getting a good nights sleep, and training in organizational habits.

Yes it takes more work than prescribing a pill, but it’s what most people actually need, not another drug to become addicted to.

So what does this have to do with your small business?

We all suffer from lack of attention to some degree and our work suffers accordingly, even to the point of bankruptcy, if not addressed. Sure, it would be nice if you could just take a pill to solve the problem. But the truth is taking a pill isn’t the solution, it’s:

  • Diet – cutting out sugars, carbs and processed foods
  • Exercise – getting daily vigorous exercise
  • Sleep – getting 7-8 hours of solid sleep, which if you have sleep apnea can be a problem
  • Turning off electronic stimuli well before bed or like my partner did, just shutting off his cable TV subscription
  • Mastering the organizational skills you need to get the most out of every day.

Work hard at these 5 things and you could be five times as successful with your business.

The A.D.H.D. coach I hired to help my partner was Dana Rayburn. Here’s a great article of hers on “How To Identify ADHD Small Business Owners.”


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