I Get Paid to Have ADHD
I have three jobs, and they all draw on my super-duper ADHD skill set. BY KATY ROLLINS
IAM LEAVING MY DESK JOB, BUT I AM NOT leaving the world of the working, nor am I signing up for research studies on
adults with ADHD. I am giving myself permission to do what I do naturally, which is
three things at once, at all times.
I have spent my life wrestling with the
advice of well-intentioned teachers who said
I needed to focus, to do one thing at a time.
As I got older, I wondered what I wanted
to do when I grew up. I am answering that
question now. I am an entrepreneur. I am a
woman of many hats. I am an idea generator.
I am an operationalizer. I do three things at
once, and I am a success.
Ha! How do you like that word? Success.
My Three Businesses
I am developing my events business, while
I am picking up marketing work that allows
me to apply the skills I use for my business
to other people’s companies. I am also rekindling my other passion/pursuit/business:
making and selling fashion accessories and
I am four weeks into the experiment, and
it’s working. Money is coming in—almost
enough to replace my desk job’s paycheck—
with the potential to make more.
I can’t write this without addressing a
couple of things that are probably screaming
in your brain as loudly as they were in mine
before I made a plan: “OMG, how will you
stay organized and budget your time, and get
stuff done, and…?”
I am always more productive, focused,
and organized when I am interested in what
I’m doing and can tap into my creativity. By
creativity, I don’t always mean making art
or clothes. I mean coming up with business
systems and solutions that make compa-
nies more productive. I am a good organizer
when I’m given the freedom to organize in
my own way.
I am a good organizer
when I’m given the
freedom to organize in
my own way.
that I carry around with me to appointments. It has a large middle pocket for big
stuff (my laptop) and two side pockets—
one for my wallet, one for my makeup. The
bag has a sleeve for pens and my phone, and
pockets on both ends where I store my computer, camera, and phone cords. My rule for
organization is: If it’s not easy, I don’t use it.
I have folders for each
project I’m working on,
which I label and put in
my bag. When I have too
many folders, I transfer
them to an accordion
file that folds up and fits
into my bag. I have clear,
protective envelopes for
bank deposit slips and
which I keep separate.
I use a handful of small,
spiral notebooks to hold
on specific topics. At the
moment, I have one for
tracking vendor attendance for events, one for
tracking bank deposits,
one for “to-do” lists, and
one for a project that involves repeated phone
calls to municipal offices.
I am meticulous about
putting things where
they belong. I will screw
up if I don’t.
My immediate goal
is to earn a set income.
Once I do, I will hire someone to do the
grunt work, because nobody, certainly nobody with ADHD, likes to do data entry and
filing for longer than they have to.
I am getting paid to have ADHD: to acknowledge it, to plan for the ideas that my
wild brain comes up with, and to anticipate
obstacles that ADHD and life may throw
at me. I figure out how to work with those
obstacles and to get the job done. I am doing three things that satisfy me in different
ways, and this makes me feel successful in a
way that I never did before. A
ADHD Systems I Love
I have created systems to organize everything in my business life. I bought a big bag
KAT Y ROLLINS is founder of and blogger at 18
Channels ( 18channels.com). Katy also writes
the Executive Dysfunction blog for adults on
ADDitudeMag.com to find dozens of tips for organizing your office.