Is AD(H)D and studying/ working in Architecture a bad mix?



Have any of you Architecture students or professionals got ADD or ADHD?

Have you found that your interest for the subject was enough to push past problems in following instructions, planning and finishing stuff?  (I'm guessing it was if you are on this forum)

I'm struggling to get portfolios done on time and miss instructions really easily. I'm really committed but I struggle and everything takes longer for me to do.

Given how competitive the field is - I'd just like to know if anyone else has any experiences of dealing with this diagnosis and going through  the Grad school process and whether or not they 'made it' as a functioning architect in the end. 

Also if anyone  thinks ADHD will make you a shitty designer overall because you take longer to do things, I'd like to hear about that too.


Jan 18, 18 2:46 am

Don't know if studying/ working in Architecture and AD(H)D are a bad mix, but the stuff they prescribe to better cope with it (Methylphenidate or Ritalin) is very popular among all sorts of students and professionals...

Jan 18, 18 7:53 am

thanks for the advice.

geezertect - I'm getting as much experience as I can to make sure I know what I'm getting myself into. The highway looks pretty good.  I'm just struggling with speed right now.

Jan 18, 18 5:16 pm
From what I've seen in the profession seems like it's practically a requirement to be constantly off topic, patently disorganized and allergic to spreadsheets or budgets. And of course there's the randomly ignoring all else and wasting hours in a day over some minute detail then completely forgetting about it the next.

The ones who are thoroughly organized tend to leave pretty quickly...probably out of exhaustion/exasperation cleaning up others' messes for low pay.
Jan 18, 18 8:06 pm

That is why architects hire accountants to run the firm and CAD monkeys to finish their jobs. xD

Wood Guy

I've been diagnosed as ADD and from what I can tell the vast majority of people in the construction industry (the residential side, anyway) are farther along that spectrum than I am. Yes, it takes more work and focus to be successful. Medication helps but I've found other ways to be productive, as I don't like the side effects or cost. Short bursts of work, clear to-do lists, frequent breaks to get some physical activity, and just plain willpower (an underrated quality these days). Learn to keep your mouth shut, and take copious notes during every.single.meeting. 

When it comes to ADD/ADHD builders, I have realized that conversations are completely useless, as nobody with ADD remembers anything that is said. Written words are slightly better. But I have a sign over my desk, "If it matters, draw it." ADD-types do much better with a picture than with words of any sort. In commercial work that's virtually a given, but on the mid-to upper-end residential work I've always done, it's common to cut corners on design. These are gross generalizations, but as the result of 20+ years of observation and practice, I think they're accurate.  

Jan 19, 18 12:20 pm
Are you in school still?

School was MUCH harder than practice is, in terms of workload and timing demands. Client deadlines are far easier to juggle than the overload of projects in school.

There are a ton of books offering practical strategies and tips on how to succeed in the business world with ADHD that are extremely useful. When you are out of school and have the breathing room to read and reflect on these, cultivating better working habits that allow to work with /around your ADHD will help you be successful without necessarily needing medication.

I echo wood guy... there are A LOT of ppl in all parts of residential design/construction who exhibit signs of ADHD.
Jan 19, 18 12:30 pm

Thank you for your advice everyone.

Everyone I've spoken to about this says that medication isn't a sustainable strategy so I'll definitely not rely on that option.

Wood Guy - thanks for the helpful pointers. I definitely need to learn to keep my mouth shut more! It definitely helps to process what's going on. 

Mantaray - so good to hear that it gets a bit easier with clients.

Thanks again everyone

Jan 19, 18 3:04 pm

I’m struggling with the same issue (ie missing minute details, having a lot of redlines, forgetting tasks given to me). Although I have these issues, being aware of them is the first step to overcoming ADHD. Now that I spot the problem, I can correct it before it becomes a pattern. I agree that taking ALL the notes you can is a huge help. Sticky notes and highlighter will become your best friends. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to explain further if you didn’t catch it the first time. If you’re passionate about a career, don’t let something like ADHD/ADD stand in your way. There are ways of overcoming, and you’re not alone! 

Dec 12, 18 8:11 pm

Yes! "Sticky notes and highlighter will become your best friends" this is an absolute for picking up redlines with ADD. Keeps you focused and even shows accomplishment. I also use Asana to manage my tasks to complete, so I don't forget them. As you move up and begin to assign staff members tasks, it helps you not forget to assign them, and track them so they get completed. 

Dec 14, 18 11:09 am

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