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Navigating ADHD: An Entrepreneur's Late-in-Life Diagnosis Journey

So, here's the scoop: getting diagnosed with ADHD as an adult is like discovering the missing piece of a puzzle you didn’t even know you were trying to solve. Suddenly, everything makes sense—well, as much as anything can make sense in the wonderfully chaotic world of ADHD. Here’s a peek into my whirlwind experience. And just to clarify, this post has nothing to do with the CFO Services Dope CPA provides, but everything to do with managing life and a business. I think there are quite a few business owners who can relate to this (people with ADHD are 500% more likely to be entrepreneurs)!

Everything is Important!

I once had an Apple Watch, thinking it would revolutionize my productivity. Spoiler: it did the opposite. That damn thing went off constantly, reminding me of everything I was already hyper-aware of, driving me to the brink of insanity. It was like having a mini-me strapped to my wrist, and trust me, one of me is more than enough.

Sound Sensitivity & Noise

Ah, the sound paradox. I need background noise to function—think coffee shop vibes or soft ambient sounds. But the second I’m “in the zone,” any stray noise is a personal affront. Loud cars? Immediate death wish for the driver. Why is this even a thing?

Time Blindness

There are 2 camps in the ADHD world here. The perpetually late and anxiously early. The Air Force pushed my habits to the latter, "if you're not 15 minutes early, you're late." This also means that 15 minutes prior to a meeting, nothing is getting done, and 15 minutes prior that as well. We are so worried we are going to go into that rabbit hole spin off that we sit there in the meeting, anxiously awaiting.

The Scroll of Relaxation

Scrolling through animal videos, unlikely friendships, and babies laughing? Pure, unadulterated bliss. This mindless activity is strangely relaxing, except when it’s not. But mostly, it is.

“Living with ADHD is like being locked in a room with 100 Televisions and 100 Radios all playing. None of them have power buttons so you can turn them off and the door is locked from the outside.” - Sarah Young

Organized Chaos

My home oscillates between being a spotless sanctuary and a war zone. There’s no in-between. Either I’m channeling Marie Kondo, or I’m a contestant on Hoarders. And you know what? I love organizing other people’s spaces. My own? That's a different story.

Social Situations

Socializing is like a double-edged sword. It’s draining and awkward, yet oddly comforting within the cannabis community. Weed folks are wonderfully weird, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Here, I’m not the odd one out.

Earning Relaxation

Relaxation is something I must earn. Every. Single. Day. Daily task lists are my saviors, keeping my chaotic brain in check. If tasks don’t get done, they roll over, ensuring nothing gets lost in the mental shuffle. Nighttime brain dumps into my note-taking app are a lifesaver.

Non-Standard Schedule

My mornings are for critical thinking—straight to work, often skipping basic hygiene. I know it’s unconventional, but it works for me. Afternoons? That’s when my brain starts to fizzle, so I switch to physical tasks. Movement is magic. Then comes the creative burst before dinner. And finally, I transcribe my day’s notes into actionable tasks, ready to tackle tomorrow.

Never Feeling Done

I perpetually start tasks and rarely finish them until deadlines loom large. This perfectionist streak is a double-edged sword, causing anxiety but also bringing a bizarre sense of relief once a task is off my plate. It’s an exhausting cycle.

Depression & Task Paralysis

Depression can be a beast, but understanding its roots in ADHD has been empowering. Task paralysis, triggered by overwhelming notifications or too many demands, often sends me spiraling. Yet, I’ve learned to manage this with better self-care and realistic task lists.

Highs, Lows, and Imposter Syndrome

My emotional landscape is a rollercoaster. Imposter syndrome? Oh, it’s there. Not about my intelligence or skills, but about the illusion of having it all together. I oscillate between feeling like a disaster and knowing I have valuable insights to offer.

All or Nothing

I can’t do things halfway. If I start something, I’m in it for the long haul. A simple task like making a social media post spirals into hours of research, branding, and networking. It’s immersive and time-consuming, but that’s my ADHD brain in action.

Emotional Attachments & Forgetting

I get deeply attached to TV characters and feel a profound loss when a show ends. Relationships? I grieve intensely but then move on like nothing happened. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Compulsive Research

If a question pops into my head, I must research it immediately. It’s compulsive and relentless, but it’s how I learn and process the world.

Directness & Data Collection

I can be blunt and inquisitive, sometimes to the point of being offensive. I don’t mean to be a dick; I’m just eager to get the data and share my thoughts. Apologies in advance if I come off too strong.

Actionable Items That Helped Me and Can Maybe Help You Too:

  • Take a Walk on Calls: If you don’t need to be on video, walking while on a call can help you to stay focused and absorb information better.

  • Physical Notes During Calls: When you need to be at your desk, taking physical notes helps keep the mind engaged and prevents it from wandering.

  • Nightly Note Review: Before bed, go through all your notes from the day. Cross out anything unnecessary and transfer action items to your task management software. I recommend Mem.AI—it’s simple, searchable, and a lifesaver when you need to recall that note you took 8 days ago.

  • Morning Medication Routine: EAT THE FROG: I take my medication in the morning, giving me about 4-5 hours of prime critical thinking time. Separate your tasks into executive function levels: critical tasks in the morning, non-critical tasks later. Seeing a list of tasks and knowing none of your brilliant thoughts are lost is incredibly reassuring. 

  • Break Down Big Goals: We often struggle to see the fruits of small daily steps toward a larger goal. Trick yourself by breaking down big goals into smaller, daily goals. Crossing those smaller things off your list feels fantastic.

  • Leverage Technology: There are countless productivity apps out there, many tailored for ADHD. I fell down a few rabbit holes, but Mem.AI’s simplicity won me over. Choose an app with both desktop and mobile versions to jot stuff down on the go.

So, to all the late-in-life ADHD warriors: embrace the chaos, find your rhythm, and know you’re not alone. We might be a bit scattered, but damn, we’re also uniquely brilliant. 

Cheers to that!

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