Reading to work

Constantly needing stimulation

After we are diagnosed with ADHD, there often come times when we reflect upon our past behaviours and experiences – in the years before we knew we were ADHD. When we reflect it is with greater understanding and insight, we can reflect on our past in a new light so:
  • that’s why I chose those exciting but crazy friends
  • that’s why I made that impulsive decision
  • that’s why I struggled in History classes with those dates
  • that’s why I refused to take that job

    Informed hindsight is healing

    This informed hindsight changes how we see that moment, it changes how we think about and how we describe ourselves. It “reframes” our story. That’s important because the narrative we have laid down usually is of failure not difference; and of self doubt arising from inconsistency.

    Past achievements

    With this insight you may recognise strategies that you put in place to overcome ADHD obstacles and challenges, without even realising that was what you were doing.

    Many clients tell me of their extremely resourceful approaches to handle obstacles in ADHD friendly ways. Here is one from my personal archives, in my early twenties I really didn’t enjoy my commute to work.


    In my early twenties, I commuted into central London to reluctantly write COBOL pension computer programs! The “Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses” was close to Embankment Tube an hour-long commute for me, walking and taking a crowded commuter train.

    Leaving home, I would start to read my paperback book as I closed the front door and would not put it down until I sat at my desk at work.

    Uninterrupted, I would read walking along the pavements (side-walks), dodging cars, negotiating ticket barriers, standing on bouncy trains, walking up escalators, passing slower walkers over Hungerford bridge, saying “hello” to the security guy on arrival, standing in the escalator, walking to my desk – I read non-stop.

    The return home was the same in reverse, sometimes complicated by having to angle the book to get street lights so I could read in the Winter evenings.

    The lost art of read-walking, or is it walk-reading?

    I’ve only ever met one person who has done the same as me, an ADHD client unsurprisingly. It’s a rare feat to read as you walk, passing people, negotiating stairs, dodging surprises on the side-walk! I guess it’s was a little weird, it shows the lengths we can go to to avoid boredom or low stimulation, and in some ways it’s a talent.
    For me reading fixed a serious issues, I was seriously, uncomfortably bored sitting on the train for 30 minutes each day, and the 30 minutes of walking bored me too. So I developed a skill and quietly fixed an ADHD issue that I had, with barely anyone noticing!
    ADHD Coach, Andrew Lewis

    Andrew Lewis

    Andrew Lewis is an ADHD Coach, writer and founder of SimplyWellbeing. He has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of experience in coaching hundreds of ADHD executives, business professionals and creatives, and previously running a large ADHD support group and an ADHD diagnostic clinic. His business expertise comes from a twenty years career in software, from programming, through marketing, sales and running a few start-ups. His ADHD insight is personal, with decades understanding his own ADHD experience and in bringing up his ADHD daughter. He has published his writing primarily via this website, with interactive ADHD courses in development.


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