I am a website designer who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 38 and since then, I’ve been looking for ways to use my strengths and stop trying so hard to make my weaknesses a big part of my life.
How I learned I had ADHD
From the moment I learnt more about ADHD, thorough TikTok obviously (if you have ADHD you know how addicting that platform can be) I knew I belonged in that club. So, In the middle of the pandemic, I took a ADHD test at the Behavioral Science of Alabama (great place by the way, if you are looking for one local). It was a very lengthy process but worth it. I learned that, based on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale, my strengths are on Processing Speed (I can learn fast) and Perceptual Reasoning ( visual concepts) which includes non verbal concepts, visual perception, abilities to separate visual and ground in visual stimuli, among other things.
Once I had my results in hand, my job was to identify how I could apply my business knowledge and my gifted visual abilities with my profession. I’ve always loved businesses and wanted to be involved in creating better businesses in my community. The question still remained, how to lean on my visual abilities to provide my gifts to that community? Until, I came across, a few Showit website designs and I felt like it was the perfect blend for the new step I was taking.
ADHD and Webdesigners
People with ADHD can bring a unique set of skills to the table, particularly in the field of website design. Research has suggested that individuals with ADHD may have strengths in certain types of intelligence, such as spatial intelligence.
Our ability to quickly process information and think outside the box can be a huge asset when it comes to creating visually engaging and intuitive designs.
But perhaps most importantly, our ADHD can give us a unique perspective on the user experience. We understand firsthand the frustration that can come with a poorly designed website. We are passionate about creating designs that are not only visually appealing, but also easy to navigate and use. By leveraging our strengths and embracing our ADHD, we can become valuable assets to any web design team.
Our ability to hyperfocus can also be a major asset when it comes to website design. We can become completely absorbed in the task at hand, allowing us to work for long periods of time without getting distracted. This means that we can create high-quality designs in a shorter amount of time than others might be able to.
I recently shared with Joanna Sherrow, at the Self-taught Designer Podcast my journey on becoming a designer with ADHD. It was a lovely conversation. We discussed how to it’s important for website designers to constantly adapt to new technologies and trends. People with ADHD tend to be very curious and adaptable, which makes us natural learners. We are always looking for new tools and techniques to improve our work, and we are not afraid to experiment with new ideas.
Having ADHD is definitely a strength in the world of website design. It gives us a unique set of skills and perspectives that can be incredibly valuable to any team. It was important to me that I used my gifts to help other entrepreneurs succussed in their businesses. If you are reading this, that means you might have ADHD and I would love to share what has helped me so far on my journey. I already shared my tips on the podcast, so while it’s not released yet, I’ve shared them below.
Here are my top 10 tips for Website Designers with ADHD
1- Standard Operating Procedures – SOP
Standard operating procedures is a must. It helps you not to have to make decisions, but yet, you will know exactly what you need to do to be successful. What I took out of all my courses were their checklist and SOP so that I could have a roadmap for most of my projects. When I have low energy or just a busy brain that cannot make decisions, I can still motivate myself to get a few tasks done that are listed on my SOP so that I keep going with all my projects. I use Notion to keep all my internal project notes and checklists organized.
2- Hire a Coach
Hiring a coach is definitely worth the money. It will help you be around other people who have the same objective as you, that way you can keep hyper-focusing on your interests and continue to grow. I am currently enrolled on ShowitAll and Josh Hall Designer Pro and I highly recommend both.
Take advantage of your hyperfocus and learn as much as you can. You know when your brain is interested in something you are just going to go down a deep dive. So why not take advantage of that strength and use it to learn as much as you can in 2x speed 😉 and differentiate yourself with that. I like to take courses at Coursera, there’s always a short course that will help me be better at what I do.
Sharpen your skills with Coursera
4- Accountability Partner
I met Jennifer from Jenny Laine Designs at the ShowitAll course and we keep each other accountable. She has her business and I have mine, but we are walking in parallel lives. So every Monday we share our to-do list and every Friday we do a check-in to exchange ideas, come up with yet better plans, and support each other. Sometimes we talk too much, but that’s part of the course. Of course the relationship didn’t get to that immediately, but if you take the time to get to know other people on the same journey as you that also have ADHD and understand your needs and vice-versa, it’s totally worth it.
5- Group outside of your bubble
I created Madison Mompreneur, a place where local moms can co-work together once a week. It’s been the best thing for my productivity. I keep myself accountable because I am one of the leaders, so other people – who I deeply care about – depend on me. In addition to getting a lot of work done and I networking with many other incredible moms and business owners.
Read about the Value of Coworking by Madison Mompreneur
6- Give yourself Grace
Give yourself grace to endure taking the long road sometimes – I know a lot of people will grow a business within the first 3 months to where my business is in its first year. But, I’ve reminded myself along the way that I create multiple things at the same time. For example; creating Madison Mompreneur took me away from my business for about 4 months. Or taking the summer off to spend time with my kids gave me very little time to work on my business. And that’s okay, because that’s is what makes me unique and valuable just the way I am.
7- Mindless Creativity
Plan mindless creative time – make sure you plan it! Literally put time on your calendar – to have your brain just wonder off and create things that keeps your imagination sharp and happy. I like to draw and doodle on procreate, I also like to create all kinds of businesses that will never happen. Sometimes, I imagine I have a coffee shop below my house in the south of France, and design the logo and the website in my head. Sometimes, I actually create the logo and the website and sell it as templates. It feels really good to stretch my imagination so that I can endure to do mundane jobs like adding 20 products to an ecommerce website. 😉
Automate as much as you can, when I started my business I wanted a well oiled machine so that I didn’t have to do much of the work. However, design is a high touch process as it’s better to talk to people and truly listen, which requires time and can’t be automated. So I automated my email templates and possible conversations so that when I run out of juice after speaking with people all day, I don’t have to think about that follow up email, I can just use the template and personalize it. I keep all my templates on Moxie and create automations to all the people that contact me, so that I am speaking only to the hot and not cold leads.
Checkout Moxie if you are looking into automating your processes.
9- Artificial Intelligence
Take advantage of AI, it’s hard to write emails or blog posts sometimes, but having AI is kind of like having a second brain as I can type whatever I am thinking in my own tired and jumbled words, and Ai will help me make it flow better – in fact that is my most used request from AI, make this sentence flow better. And I just sound better and don’t have to use too much executive function. I use Notion for AI.
10 – Get your business finances on autopilot
I’ve read the book Profit First a few times and I loved how organized my life would look like if I had a system like that in place, but putting the system together was a completely different story. When I learned that an online bank existed that was automatically set up to use the Profit First system, that was a no- brainer. I’ve been using Novo this year and I love how I can clearly see where all my money is being allocated. I don’t have to worry about saving money for taxes or future investments, or how much money I will be paid because it’s all done for me. I feel that Novo has made it super easy to those of us who struggle with Executive Function. You can see my full review here.
In closing, if I could pick on things that made all the difference to me, it would be make sure you Discover and Use your Strengths. Use your brain in your favor, take advantage of your spatial intelligence with design, you can find tools along the way.
Using my visual abilities in my designs is like I am playing and having fun all day at my job. I truly enjoy designing and dreaming of new possible ways my clients business can grown online. Do you have ADHD? Looking to become a designer? Share your story with me in the comments, I would love to learn more about your journey.
disclaimer: Companies and products listed are affiliate links, so I might earn a small commission when you purchase from those companies. They are not sponsors and they do not pay to be on this page. The tools and companies listed here are ones that I use and trust.