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Q&A: ADHD Accommodations at Work and Working from Home
We’ve had so many great questions come in over our workplace ADHD series that we’re dedicating this week’s show to digging into them. We’re talking about building great systems, and why that might not be the right goal! We’re talking about relationships with your supervisor and your peers. We’re talking about rejection sensitivity and how you can move through it at work. Finally, we’re talking through what we’ve learned in our out journey transitioning out of the workplace and working from home.
Links & Notes
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Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.
Pete Wright: Hello, Nikki Kinzer.
Nikki Kinzer: How are you?
Pete Wright: We’re all sick. We’re all sick, so I’m trying to keep my mood up. I drank some tangerine tea infused with, what is that, Yerba Mate something. It’s something like caffeine-infused leaf, and it says, “It’s supposed to give you energy and mood enhancement.” I need a mood enhancing.
Nikki Kinzer: Did it work?
Pete Wright: I think so. I think so.
Nikki Kinzer: Good.
Pete Wright: I don’t know. When I smile, does it go kling? Do I have a twinkle in my eye?
Nikki Kinzer: You seem very cheery and…
Pete Wright: I hope so. We’re talking about… It’s a Q&A episode today, so the glorious and supreme Q&S episode, taking on some questions that have been coming in over the last several weeks for our workplace episode. This was fun.
Nikki Kinzer: It was fun and good questions too.
Pete Wright: Good questions. Lots of meat, lots of meat on these bones to talk about, so we’re going to be taking on these questions momentarily. Before we do that, head over to takecontroladhd.com and get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list, and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. Of course, you can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD.
Pete Wright: If this show has ever touched you, consider allowing this show to touch you back. Visit patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. It’s been a long time since I’ve reminded folks of this, but if you are a transcript reader, if you’re the kind of person who likes to go and peruse what we have said over the last several episodes, I would say many episodes, many, many moons of episodes, you can do that. Thanks to the generous contributions of our patrons. Patrons pay for transcriptions.
Pete Wright: Getting human transcriptions comes at a cost, and it’s sometimes annoyingly high, and so we have a great transcriptionist, a great service that gives us reliable, fast transcriptions. I don’t know if you’ve done this recently, Nikki, but if you go read us…
Nikki Kinzer: I try not to. I purposely avoid it.
Pete Wright: I feel like I’m having a seizure like, “Who is this guy talking right now? Why doesn’t he stop his mouth moving?” I’m saying these things right now fully aware that they’re going to be transcribed. A message to our transcriptionist, I’m sorry, I don’t know what comes over me.
Nikki Kinzer: I know. I’m sorry.
Pete Wright: I feel like I’m having some sort of an event. Anyway, the transcriptions were a goal for us. Our very first goal was to make sure that we made enough to cover transcriptions for those who need it, for those who need to read because they are not able to listen to the show for any reason. We hope that it has been useful. It is an ongoing service that comes to you directly as a result of contributions through Patreon.
Pete Wright: If you’d like to see more of those kinds of things, if you have suggestions for things that you’d like to see implemented into the show and you think Patreon support would be a great goal, we’re always open to those kinds of suggestions and we appreciate your participation there, so patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Go read a transcription. It’s fun.
Pete Wright: Here we go.
Nikki Kinzer: We’re entertaining.
Pete Wright: We’re talking about Q&A. You have done the yeoman’s work of organizing these questions into something that we can talk about.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Yes. First, before we go into the questions, I wanted to bring up a couple of really good tips that were on discord that came from Melissa, our discord coordinator.
Pete Wright: Discord mom.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes, discord bomb, and about online interviewing, because when we talked about interviewing, we certainly talked a lot about in-person, but we didn’t really touch a whole lot on online. She had two really good tips that I thought were really good. First of all, be aware of alternate time zones. Depending on who we’ll be interviewing, verify the time of the interview, and correct time zone can save someone from showing up late or completely missing the interview.
Nikki Kinzer: That is so true, so true, so a really good thing to think about.
Pete Wright: I picked up an app for my phone called CalZones, C-A-L-Z-O-N-E-S. It is so cool in terms of managing time zones. It shows you this… You choose all the time zones you want to manage, and then it shows you this gigantic fantastic grid that says, “If it’s this time here, then it’s this time in Perth, Australia.” Right below the grid of time zones is your calendar, your Google calendar. It says, “Here are all your meetings, and you can go up and see what all the time zones are.”
Pete Wright: Every week for this show, for example, when I post the link in Facebook and Discord and Patreon, it says, “Here are the main time zones where we’re going to start all the way through Sydney.” It’s thanks to CalZones that keeps me on track through time changes, time zone changes, all those sorts of things. It’s amazing. Highly recommend having some sort of a source to give you that relative view of calendars. CalZones is a great one, link in the show notes.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. The other point was to try to have the interview on a desktop, laptop, or another stationary device. However, if that will not be an option and someone will be doing their interview via smartphone, it is wise to set up a tripod docking station to allow for a video that is not constantly wavering while the device is being held. Oh my gosh, what a great tip, because this could be so annoying from an interviewer’s standpoint, and it could actually-
Pete Wright: Awful.
Nikki Kinzer: It could actually cost you the job. So I think this is really smart, really smart.
Pete Wright: I do too. Tripods for your phone are super cheap, right? I mean, I have here a little mountable stand for my phone, and it has a little grip. I can turn it and twist it and do all sorts of things with it. Tighten it up. It was $8. They’re super easy. Grabbed something there. It’s too cheap to let that come between you and a potential job.
Nikki Kinzer: I absolutely agree. So Casey Kasem over there. Would you like to read the questions?
Pete Wright: Are you pointing at me?
Nikki Kinzer: Yes, although people probably don’t know who Casey Kasem is.
Pete Wright: You may be dating yourself a little bit.
Nikki Kinzer: I know. Let’s say, what’s the guy? Ryan Seacrest.
Pete Wright: Ryan Seacrest, is he fantastic or what, that Ryan…? He can host anything. That guy can host the heck out of stuff.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s true.
Pete Wright: I’m going to start. Here are some questions. After you get the new job, how can you set yourself up for success? Question is, “I’m starting in a new job soon, and I’m finding myself thinking I have to find the perfect organization system right now before I start.” Oh my goodness. Hallelujah to that question. I totally get that question.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes.
Pete Wright: What do you think? What do you think about this one?
Nikki Kinzer: Well, I think that it is a great goal. However, I don’t think it’s very realistic. It’s a lot to expect for you to think that you’re just going to go in with the right organizing system right away, especially when you’re not really sure what the job is going to be like until you’re actually doing the job. I think that that’s something you have to just give yourself some patience. I do recommend that you pay attention to your systems at home to make sure that you get to your new job on time and that you’re prepared.
Nikki Kinzer: So those systems definitely need to be in place and intact, but when you’re there, I would just say take notes. Listen carefully. Ask lots of questions. Review what you’ve learned that day, and eventually start working on a system that’s going to work for that job. That’s what I would say about that.
Pete Wright: I think giving yourself permission to understand that your systems, your organizing systems at work, at the new job, old job, home, they’re all systems that are going to change. I think setting yourself… Like you said, it’s a lot to expect to have the perfect system. Dare I say, it’s too much to expect to have the “perfect system” right now before you start work. There’s too much for you that you don’t know.
Pete Wright: I understand and I really relate to this idea that it’s a new job. It’s a clean slate. I’m going to use that as the opportunity to craft this wonderful new system before anything else gets in the way. The problem is that doesn’t really exist. That’s a fantasy. It’s like the unicorn. You’re inheriting a job most likely, right? How rare is it that you are actually getting a job that’s never been done before?
Pete Wright: At some point, you’re going to inherit someone else’s system or some process that you’re going to have to learn. From there, you have the opportunity to change it. So just give yourself, I think, some flexibility to really, as you say, to learn, to take notes, to internalize those notes, and figure out the environment before you put too much pressure on yourself to have the new system before you start.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.
Pete Wright: So much of your personal system is going to depend, I think, on the work that’s thrown at you, I guess. That’s the thing I want to really [crosstalk 00:09:42].
Nikki Kinzer: I agree. Well, and one thing I want to emphasize too is that it’s going to change, because even if you’ve been in the job for five, six years, you’re still going to change your systems as you go. Maybe not whole systems, but I was just telling Pete today before I got on here that I was organizing my file folders on my computer because I’m working with a client who is doing it, and it inspired me to do it myself. That is a system that I’m cleaning up 10 years later, right? I mean, yeah.
Nikki Kinzer: Everything’s always changing and moving around and stuff, so it’s all good. All right, I’ll go ahead and answer this next… Not answer. We’re going to both answer. I’m going to state the question, and you’re going to answer it first.
Pete Wright: Okay. Here we go.
Nikki Kinzer: How do you set up your relationship with your supervisor in a way that will benefit you, maybe you should have asked the question, while battling RSD and fighting the people pleaser in you?
Pete Wright: Money works really well.
Nikki Kinzer: Right.
Pete Wright: I think you should just start paying them off. I think second to money if you don’t have the cash, communication from for me is the big one. As somebody who’s been in a position of management, what do I want to see? I think even before you take on the, “Do I tell them or not about my ADHD conversation?” Just remember that open and frequent communication is a terrific first strategy for your first few weeks at work.
Pete Wright: Review how you plan to do the job, and incorporate questions about processes, and potentially request introductions to other people across departments that might help you better understand the role and so on. Tell your supervisor, “This is what you can expect from me today, this week, over the next two weeks.” Just be open and frequently reach out to them and say, “Here’s what I’m working on now,” and ask, “Is this the kind of thing you’re going to expect and like to see from me going forward?”
Pete Wright: I think staying open about that and not hiding from it is the best way to go.
Nikki Kinzer: I completely agree, and just being yourself. Just be yourself. Be your authentic self. Ask lots of questions, especially at the beginning. This is the best time to do it to get that clarification that you might need. I agree with you. I think communication is the biggest key there.
Pete Wright: My turn. How do you get past the first few weeks where you feel totally unsure of what to do and find yourself standing around feeling super awkward?
Nikki Kinzer: I just have this unfortunate picture in my mind of the middle school dance, where everybody is against the wall and no one’s talking to anybody. Then the boys are acting all crazy.
Pete Wright: Well, boys are dumb. Hopefully by the time you get a job at a new company, boys aren’t dumb anymore, but they might be.
Nikki Kinzer: They still might be. I totally understand this, especially when you’re going into a new company and it’s a new team, and it’s new people, and you’re going into the break room and you don’t know anyone. I mean, it really does feel like that first day of school where you go into the lunch room. Again, I say be yourself. It’s okay to… If you’re an observer, go ahead and take some time to observe and scan the situation around you, but I think at some point, you do need to get out of that comfort zone of being an observer and get involved because this is how you will become part of the team is your involvement.
Pete Wright: That’s a really good point. I had some other things I wanted to talk about, but this one, I think, is a really good one to lean in on, which is if you bring some old habits, maybe some old habits that are fine and potentially introverted habits, maybe you’re the kind of person who brings a book and reads a book at lunch every day. Maybe you’re the kind of person who enjoys going on long walks by yourself. That’s great. Do that stuff. That’s all good stuff.
Pete Wright: Maybe the first couple of weeks while you are just trying to get to know the place and get to know the culture, not a great time to bring those old habits to the new job. It might be a better opportunity for you to say, “Today, every day this week, I’m going to introduce myself to one new person that I haven’t talked to, or this week, I’m going to sit down and see if I can have lunch with two new people twice a week this week.”
Pete Wright: Get yourself, as Nikki says, out of that comfort zone, out of the old habits. This is a great opportunity to shake that up. I also think there is an opportunity for you to just do something. If you don’t know what to do, pick up a manual. Learn a process. Study something. Embrace a new system. Ask a question about how things are done, and figure out if there’s a better way to do it. If you truly can’t figure out what to do next, it’s a great way to learn and will probably help you find the boundaries of your responsibilities pretty quickly.
Pete Wright: People will tell you, “Hey, that’s a thing that’s actually outside of your responsibility. So let’s steer you back here.” It’s a good way to do that, but for me, the question is it comes back to probably a social anxiety question, and it kicks up the ADHD storyteller. It’s so easy to already get to the end of your social contract at this new organization before you’ve had a chance to even explore what’s new for you there.
Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. The next question was, “What other things should we be thinking about?” I think that when I work with clients around this issue, one of the biggest things that they get nervous about is their past experiences at these last jobs. I just don’t want to repeat this, or I don’t want this to happen again. So I would say before you go into this new job, really take some time to think about what you learned from your last position.
Nikki Kinzer: What worked well for you? How can you transfer this into your new job? You may not know right away, but you will soon after a few weeks of experience. Where were you challenged, and what would you do differently if you could do it again? Again, how does this information then transfer to your new position? It’s really taking some time just to reflect the good and the bad and what do you want differently. That’s the coaching approach is looking forward.
Nikki Kinzer: What can you do differently that will make you feel confident? That’s really what we want. My big biggest advice or biggest piece of advice is be confident. It’s okay not to know all of the answers, but you do know some. They hired you. They hired you for a reason, and so even if you don’t feel that confidence, fake it. Fake it. Fake it. Fake it. Pretend like you do.
Nikki Kinzer: You’re not being a fraud. You’re being you, and it’s okay not to know everything.
Pete Wright: Totally. It is absolutely okay, and it’s okay to try some things on, to give yourself a chance of to say like, “What would it be like if I showed up at this new job and I was an outgoing guy? What would that be like if I was the guy who just shook hands first?” Everybody else is… Most likely, they’re going to have their head down. They’re going to be doing their job. They’re getting the job done, but they’re also probably more than willing to shake your hand and say, “Welcome to the team, and glad to get to know you.”
Pete Wright: Once you break the ice, the rest becomes easy. You mentioned first impressions in the interview stage, but I think that also implies to your first two weeks on the new job. So much happens in that time that will carry over for the remainder of your time in that position.
Nikki Kinzer: It’s true. I mean, I think that those first impressions, that first two weeks makes a difference, but again, I would just say don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s okay if you don’t know everything. They’re not expecting you to be yourself. Do these things that we’ve already talked about. Ask questions. Gather the information. Review and just be you. My optimistic side is going to say everything’s going to be just fine.
Pete Wright: I know. Totally. I want to recommend a book, and it’s a great… Have you read this book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell?
Nikki Kinzer: I have heard of it, but I’m not sure if I know what it’s about. So tell us a little bit about it.
Pete Wright: It’s fascinating. I’m just going to read a little blurb here. It’s his second book. It was right after The Tipping Point. If you haven’t read The Tipping Point, it’s another great book. It presents in popular science format research from psychology and behavioral economics on the adaptive unconscious, a mental process or mental processes that work rapidly and automatically from relatively little information. It considers both the strengths of the adaptive unconscious, for example, in expert judgment and its pitfalls such as stereotypes.
Pete Wright: I found this book fascinating. If you’ve read other of Gladwell’s books, it’s a survey of research. Yes, it does read a little bit like he has a position. You don’t read these books without understanding that the author has a position, so it is not an unbiased presentation, but it is a thorough one. I found it fascinating. It does things like… I mean, he talks about the research behind how quickly first impressions are made. That’s what made me think about this question or this statement that in fact, the research indicates that those first impressions are made in not hours or days or weeks, but seconds.
Pete Wright: It takes much longer to unravel that first impression than we assume. Those things are branded into us, the first impression that we get from somebody. From a teacher that walks into a high school classroom, they are branded from the moment they walk into the classroom, the way they walk and assert themselves into the space, the way they communicate in those first few seconds of opening their mouths. These are the lessons that we can learn from the adaptive unconscious.
Pete Wright: It’s not talking about things that necessarily you’re doing, but how people are perceiving you. The fact that that relationship is owned by both parties unconsciously is really important. I think the more you can do to make your very first impression a positive one, the better, and it will serve you in those first two weeks, two months, two years.
Nikki Kinzer: I have a question for you. Do you think that your first impressions… Have you ever met anyone and had a first impression and then you thought differently after getting to know them?
Pete Wright: Absolutely. Yeah, but it takes a long time. Mostly because after they make that first impression, you’re going to make a decision unconsciously or not about whether or not you’re going to work hard to make a relationship out of it. That’s the choice. I have a very dear friend now that I met years ago, and we didn’t hit it off at first. There were lots of reasons that our first impression of each other wasn’t that positive.
Pete Wright: Actually, we ended up traveling together for a trip, a work trip, internationally, and realized that our first impressions were completely wrong. Maybe had we had an excuse to work that out, to work on a project more directly together, we would have been forced to go out of our way, but because that first impression was bad, we didn’t. We never made the choice to go out of our way.
Pete Wright: I never made the opportunity to help this person because I wasn’t into it. I felt like there’s too much in the way of our relationship. We’re not going to be able to communicate. I made that snap judgment. Of course, I’m not thinking about those things in the back of my head. What I’m really thinking is I have better things to do with my time. So you want to make sure you leverage that.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s so interesting. Well, thanks for that recommendation.
Pete Wright: It’s a great read. Pick it up on Audible. You can get it at FreeBook if you don’t have an Audible account, audible.com/theadhdpodcast. Look what I just did there.
Nikki Kinzer: Nicely done, Pete Wright. We had a few questions come through about starting your own business. We know that there’s lots of entrepreneurs out there with ADHD and ADHD who would like to be entrepreneurs, so we know this is a big topic. Next week, we have a guest. Her name is Linda Walker. She is a coach in Canada, and she does a lot of work in the workplace and with entrepreneurs specifically.
Nikki Kinzer: She is going to be talking to us next week about a roadmap that she has put together for ADHD entrepreneurs. Hopefully, we do have your questions, and I’m hoping that we will be able to ask those when Linda’s here next week. It might be a little bit longer. It might be a little longer of a podcast than what you’re used to, but I think well worth it.
Pete Wright: Now, we’re to change directions a little bit because we’ve had some thoughts about working from home. You and I had both discussed that we were going to try and shoehorn this topic in, and it seems like we have some thoughts.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Yes. Why don’t you get started, and I’ll play off of what you say.
Pete Wright: Well, I’ll do my best. The first thing, I just was reflecting actually early this morning, and I sat down to think about, “What are the things that I’ve learned from working from home?” We’ll talk about all the other, the things that you’d think about working from home, things that you and I have talked about on the show before. The number one thing that it has helped me that it took me too long to understand is having some place that’s not my office to go work.
Pete Wright: I spent a lot of time over the first several years of my working from home really embracing the fact that I worked from home, and so I wanted my office. I wanted a nice space where I could do some sound treatment and I could just spend all the time. All the time would be in here, and it doesn’t take very long on any given day for it to start to feel like I’m in prison. Then I get distracted. I get super distracted just being in my own space too long.
Pete Wright: So having a network, I like to call it the network of Pete’s office, where I’ll go up to the Bethany Starbucks, or I’ll go up to Insomnia Cafe, which is over here. I’ll go over to the Beaverton Library, which has a really nice spot over there to work. I just have this network of places where I can hop. I can put on the headphones. I can edit. I can do whatever I need to do to keep my brain engaged, to keep the bar of distraction high enough that I can actually get some work done.
Pete Wright: Finding a place to get out, that is the number one thing that I have had to learn that is impacted by my ADHD and impacts my ADHD in a positive way is getting out of my own home office.
Nikki Kinzer: That makes perfect sense. Perfect sense. I tend to not do that. I tend to work in the office unless it’s summer, and then I’ll work outside, but there’s times… Part of why I have to work in the office is I have a desktop computer, so it’s not as mobile or easy for me to leave, and most of my work is done with clients. I can’t really be in a client… I can’t really be working with a client in a coffee shop. That totally makes sense.
Nikki Kinzer: One thing I noticed here in your notes, Pete, is you talked about setting the expectations of everyone in the house to understand that when you’re working, the door is close. Headphones are on, and you’re not to be disturbed unless something’s on fire. That is definitely, I think, one of the biggest learning curves we’ve had in our house is just understanding that when I’m in here and the lights are on and I’m standing up, I’m probably doing some kind of video.
Nikki Kinzer: So you need to be quiet. You need to not slam the door, but it’s taken a long time, many years, I mean, to get them to understand that there are times where I’ve had to put chairs in the hallway just so that they don’t go in front of my office. But now that they’re older, it’s not really that big of a deal, but it is something to pay attention to.
Pete Wright: I think I’ve mentioned before I have hue lights throughout our house, and one the lights is right in the hallway outside my office, and so I actually have a lighting scheme set up. When I hit podcast lights, all the lights in my office change to a certain kind of light scheme, and the light in the hallway turns bright red. It’s like the recording light that everybody knows that even you can hear dad’s voice sometimes he’s on a call, but when he’s actually recording, that light’s red, and everybody needs to be extra quiet.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s smart.
Pete Wright: It’s super helpful. It’s really, really helpful. Something I just want to add, if you are somebody who gets out mobile, you pick up a VPN service, TunnelBear, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, these are all services that allow you to encrypt your communication when you’re on a public wifi network, highly recommend, super reasonable pricing. For a couple bucks a month, you can just make sure that your data is encrypted. It particularly… In my case, I’m working with client data, and I don’t want anybody to be able to sniff that in a public wifi situation, and so pick up a VPN.
Pete Wright: What I really like about… I’m an ExpressVPN user. I really like the app on the mobile phone. It’s super easy to use. On the computer, it’s super easy to use. It’s just one button, and you can tell it where you want to be, so you can appear to be from other places if you want. I could appear to be a Canadian to the internet if I wanted to.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s fantastic.
Pete Wright: It’s super easy. if you’re traveling in places and you want quick, easy protection, that’s a good one to use. There you go. Scheduling.
Nikki Kinzer: Schedule.
Pete Wright: Figuring out your schedule like, “What are…” It’s not just like, “I’m going to get up and go to work from 8:00 to 5:00.” It’s really bigger than that. It’s, “What are my most productive hours for doing the job I need to do?” For me, there are a couple of periods during the day that are great for podcasting, so I have them scheduled for podcasting. It’s when my voice is strongest and when my energy is highest, when I have focused time.
Pete Wright: It’s a different time of the day, so really being able to work long enough to understand what that looks like for you is an important thing. How do you handle that?
Nikki Kinzer: It’s definitely been a work in progress over the years. One of the questions that was asked to me a few years ago or a couple of years ago from a friend of mine, they said, they asked, “Isn’t it hard to separate work from home? Do you find yourself in the office a lot just going in there?” At first, I probably was in the office more than I am now outside of the Monday through Friday.
Nikki Kinzer: So I think that that was the trickiest thing is actually, for me, setting up some kind of schedule. Am I going to work on the weekends? Am I not going to work on the weekends? And try to set those boundaries, but I agree with you 100% of how I schedule depending on energy and making sure I have time in between appointments, making sure that I have time to produce content and other things in my business that’s not just coaching clients one-on-one, that one on one time.
Nikki Kinzer: It is just juggling. I’m always changing it. I mean, every season, I look at, “Okay, what’s my ideal schedule here, and how do I make this work?” It’s a constant work in progress for me.
Pete Wright: The real challenge, for me, I think, to get over was once I started working from home, I am also… A part of the reason I did it was so that I could be more at the mercy of my kids’ schedule, but that means that I have to be more flexible in the hours that I’m working.
Pete Wright: I might have to get up super early in the morning like 4:35 in the morning to get something done because I know I’m going to have to stop working to get everybody breakfast and get them out the door, or I’m going to have to stop working at 2:30 in the afternoon to go drive a carpool someplace, which means I might have to come back after dinner and wrap up some things that I had to drop that I was in the middle of. I’m a big fan of sprints. I work best when I have something timing me.
Pete Wright: So I had… For a long time, I was working these super compressed, four-hour sprints in the middle of the day, 10:00 to 2:00, totally uninterrupted, totally focused, feel unapologetic about ignoring everything until 10:00, and unapologetic about ignoring everything after 2:00. That has been… That’s great until one of your kids has an early release day, and their day ends at noon or something like that. You just got to be adaptable.
Pete Wright: I did hear this great tip as I was just researching a little bit. Use laundry as a sprint timer. Everybody’s got laundry to do. There’s always something piled up. Throw a load in and set it to start, and 41 minutes later, you’re at the end of your first sprint, right? There’s a bell that’s going to ring.
Nikki Kinzer: Very smart.
Pete Wright: I love that. I love that idea. Then you have a nice break to fold.
Nikki Kinzer: Do you get torn between like, “Okay, I need to do work or I need to do the dishes?”
Pete Wright: Not anymore. I used to, but not anymore. I think that’s something that you come to as you get good at working at home. I’m not saying I’m good at working at home, but I have good days and bad days. My best experience of working from home is everything’s just integrated throughout the day. I know I have a work list of all the projects that I have to do for my clients, and also I have to eat. When I go in and eat lunch, I’m doing the dishes. Those things are getting…
Pete Wright: I’m emptying the dishwasher. I’m putting things away. When I come back to my office and I need a good sprint, I’m going to empty the laundry, and I’m going to put something else in. Just keep the home stuff moving, and I look at it less as doing chores while I’m at work, and more as accommodating the fact that my office is my house. When I’m at work, when I used to have an office job, there were things that I would have to do there.
Pete Wright: Occasionally, I’d have to refill the coffee filters and make a trip to Office Depot to get paper towels and supplies. When you work at a small office and you don’t have a service, there are things that you have to do there to keep the office upkeep running. I look at it like that. It’s just me keeping my office fresh. It just so happens that I live here too.
Nikki Kinzer: I ignore it. Really, I have no problem just ignoring it. If I’m going to work, I just go down the hallway. I don’t look at anything around me, and I just go and I’m in work mode. I know it’s really difficult for a lot of people to do that. That’s why I was asking.
Pete Wright: For me, I look at them as the nourishing breaks. I use those things to keep moving during break. Sometimes the break is just I need to sit down or I need to go outside, and really, I need to go talk to humans too. So sometimes I’ll just go walk down the street to the grocery store and buy something like a pack of gum just so I can talk to a human being and not use the self checkout. I just need that, but again, that’s why I go to coffee shops too if I want to get out of that mode.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s right. Absolutely.
Pete Wright: Dress for the job. It may not look like it, but sometimes, I actually put some thought into what I wear, when I come to work, I wear shoes. I wear pants. We made a joke about that.
Nikki Kinzer: I know. I remember you saying that.
Pete Wright: That’s important, right? That’s important stuff to feel like you’re at work. I find I’m more attentive and I am more aware of the task if I’m not wearing my pajamas.
Nikki Kinzer: I agree 100%. I agree.
Pete Wright: Technology, just making some sense of the technology you have. I think this is something where a lot of people, first-timers working at home, skimp early on when… You buy cheap, and you end up paying double or more for it later. You buy the cheapest computer, and you end up paying more later when it breaks. You don’t get the subscription to Office or whatever services you need, Adobe, because you’re trying to save some money, and you end up getting burned for it later.
Pete Wright: Figure out what are the tools that a professional in your field uses, and Invest in those tools. If this is your job, this is what you’re going to be counting on income from this. Always buy up as much as you can afford in terms of technology equipment. Whatever you need, do it. If it’s furniture, if it’s a massage table, whatever it is, get the good stuff because this is your livelihood.
Nikki Kinzer: I think you brought up a really good point too. What do people in your profession use? If you’re not sure, ask. Ask how people organize their clients or how they do their payment systems if you’re doing some kind of service or whatever, but ask questions. Most of the time, I mean, I’m always happy to answer those kinds of questions for people who are wanting to be coaches.
Nikki Kinzer: Just ask and get an idea of how people are doing it. If it wasn’t for you, Pete, I mean, gosh, you’ve shared everything with what I use I got from you. It’s important to talk to other people who know technology and can get you set up, so a very important point.
Pete Wright: I worked with the number of therapists, and their big issue is furniture and making sure that the couch and the chairs that they’re going to be sitting on are good ones, right? If you’re going to be spending eight hours a day sitting in a chair listening to someone, it better be the best chair that you can find.
Nikki Kinzer: You have to love it.
Pete Wright: You have to love the chair.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes.
Pete Wright: Just think about those sorts of things. Social media, I don’t know if that sound translates to podcasting.
Nikki Kinzer: I think it does.
Pete Wright: Tips, remove social media from your phones.
Nikki Kinzer: I removed it. Exactly. You just-
Pete Wright: Sign out of all your accounts if you can. The real challenge is if your work as a remote worker actually calls on you to be in social media, that hopefully if you’re that person, you will love it a little bit more, and you’ll have some better gates around it. What we’re really referring to here is use of personal social media while you are at work.
Nikki Kinzer: Right, not business. I have a business page that I don’t really consider social media. I mean, it is, but I’m connecting with-
Pete Wright: Not to you. It is to the people who are reading it.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes.
Pete Wright: I think figuring that out, figuring out that balance in general, I start conservative. Get it off of the devices that you use to get work done. If you are strong enough to be able to embrace it little by little and bring it back into your life, great, but figure out what it’s like to work from home without it first. Set some rigorous goals and see how you need to adjust accordingly. For me at least, accountability partners, it’s hard when you’re working for yourself.
Nikki Kinzer: Very much so.
Pete Wright: To have somebody to tell, we used to have these standup meetings at an old job, Everybody on the team would come in, and we’d have an 8:00 AM standup meeting. Everybody would come in. You’d bring your list, “Here are the things I’m working on today. I’m going to get some coffee. I’m going to get to work, and I’m going accomplish one, two, three. These are the things I’m going to do. I’m going to talk to these clients. I’m going to work with these people. I’m going to get this ad copy prepped.”
Pete Wright: That’s all great. Then you work from home and you realize, “I have no other humans here to talk to, so-”
Nikki Kinzer: I really could do whatever I want.
Pete Wright: Exactly. When I could do whatever I want, sometimes I will not do whatever I should be doing. I use my wife, honestly. I, sometimes, will just go start talking to her while she’s doing other stuff, and I’ll just say, “These are the things I’m going to do.” She’ll look at me and she’ll say, “What now?” I’ll say, “Thanks,” and I’ll walk away. It’s just the act of having said it to another person.
Pete Wright: There’s something about that that triggers a responsibility vibe for me that says, “I’m going to go now get this done,” or put it into text. If you’re working with somebody like a client relationship, tell them. Text them and say, “Hey, these are the things I’m working on for you today, and I’ll check in with you later.”
Nikki Kinzer: That’s a good idea.
Pete Wright: I’ll let you know when they’re done.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s a great idea.
Pete Wright: What do you think?
Nikki Kinzer: I agree. I mean, I think that any accountability partner in any shape and form or any shape and form, whether it’s doing a habit and having an accountability partner or like what you’re talking about just on a daily basis with work, I think is a great idea. I love the support. I think that depending on the industry you’re in, definitely find people that you can talk to and connect with. It’s really lonely to try to do something by yourself and not know what to do and not have anybody just to bounce ideas off of.
Nikki Kinzer: I would definitely say reach out to people in your industry, and find those people that are doing the same thing you’re doing, are working towards the same goals. There’s lots of different ways to do that. Unfortunately, some of them are on social media because there are these Facebook groups, but if you can in a way separate that, that that is work and you’re not going on your personal feed, I think, it’s a great idea. Absolutely.
Pete Wright: I think in terms of accountability and finding a way to be accountable to yourself, one of the February workshop, if you’re a supreme supporter of the ADHD podcast on Patreon, you’ll have access to the February workshop that we’re going to be recording here very soon, where we’re talking about building in some of these accountability tools into your life. What are some of the tools you can build your accommodations, your set of accommodations at work?
Pete Wright: I just want to throw out, again, time tracking. If you’re not tracking your activity using a tool or some sort of a system that allows you to track your activity, it is always illuminating the first time you go through a week of rigorously tracking what you’re doing and when and how long it takes you to do things. It’s aways illuminating, whether you’re able to take what you learn and turn it into additional productivity enhanced focus, that’s a different story, but you will learn something from figuring out how to track your time.
Pete Wright: There are a lot of tools that will help you do that. We’ll talk about some of those on the February workshop. We’re recording that very soon.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.
Pete Wright: Check that out.
Nikki Kinzer: That is for Supreme members of Patreon.
Pete Wright: Supreme members of Patreon. There you go.
Nikki Kinzer: All right, great stuff.
Pete Wright: I do have… I did want to throw in a bonus. Ambient noise, I have always had some ambient noise going around in my office when I’m not actually actively recording.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes.
Pete Wright: I have either ocean waves or jungle birds or a city, whatever, something to keep the noise in my office at a certain level when I’m trying to actually think. If I’m not doing something related to audio, I put the sounds of life in my office to keep me feeling like… to trick my brain.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Also, if you notice if you’re on video, if you’re seeing the live stream, there’s a, what is that called, essential oil diffuser that I have in my office. I have different sense, and I will put that on because it makes the office smell nice. For me too, it’s nice to come into an office that I like, and so I’ve decorated it. I have put the colors that I like and my vision board and some of the things that are important to me.
Nikki Kinzer: I think it’s nice to just make it a place I want to go to, but I am pretty good at closing the door on Friday and not coming back until Monday.
Pete Wright: That’s fantastic. That’s great.
Nikki Kinzer: There you go.
Pete Wright: I do struggle with the idea of just constantly thinking about work when I’m not at work. It makes it-
Nikki Kinzer: I do that, but I try not to. I try not to.
Pete Wright: Try not to. Well, this has been a great, chock full conversation today, Nikki Kinzer.
Nikki Kinzer: Yes.
Pete Wright: Thank you everybody for your questions. They’re great questions. We have another list of questions that we’re going to be taking on next week. Don’t forget if your question didn’t get answered, it was probably about starting your own business, and so we’ve shelved it for next week. I can’t wait to talk to Linda Walker, and so live stream as usual on Monday morning next week. Thank you everybody.
Nikki Kinzer: That’s great. Thank you.
Pete Wright: Thanks everybody for downloading and listening to the show. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll catch you next week right here on Taking Control: The ADHD podcast.
Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.