ADD / ADHD Project Managers

While you’re probably aware that people with ADD/ADHD have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them, you may not know that there’s another side: a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus.  So writes HelpGuide.org

I’ve spent my whole life with all of the symptoms but never wanted to admit actually having ADD/ADHD.  Perhaps it was out of concern someone would label me and force me to take some drug that would change me.  Though it doesn’t help that I drink copious amounts of black coffee, for the most part, I think I’ve fared pretty well.   I think back to my childhood, remembering every report card included a comment from the teacher.

Derek has a hard time concentrating and talks too much.

Hyperfocus is actually a coping mechanism for distraction—a way of tuning out the crap and chaos. It can be so strong that I become oblivious to everything going on around me.  I still think hyperfocus is an invaluable asset.  How do you think I can sleep for 5 hours a night and get so much accomplished?  From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, I have a thousand ideas in my head.  I scramble to keep up with them, writing them down or logging voice-notes.  I still really don’t like all of the negative connotations associated with ADD/ADHD.  Sure, I have a wicked temper, I’m impulsive, and I’m very forgetful.  But, I don’t think the last is an issue thanks to Evernote.  As for the first two, if you cross me, I will write you off and being impulsive just means I seize on opportunities.  Perhaps this is why I’m doing well on my current engagement.  I am asked to focus my attention on specific issues or opportunities and advise.  But seriously, you think of a successful project manager or entrepreneur and you tell me they don’t have ADD/ADHD.

I hate to cut this post short but I need to…

Hey, look a butterfly!

(graphic courtesy of meggitymegs )

About Derek Huether

I'm an Enterprise Agile Coach at LeadingAgile. I have a goal to take the hand waving out of Agile, Kanban, & Scrum. I’m a strange combination of a little OCD, a little ADHD, a lot of grit, and a lot of drive. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)