ADHD and Distractions: How to Eliminate Distractions With ADHD
ADHD compels you to seek out places where you thrive. There’s no way around it. You were born for this.
Turn Off All Electronics
To begin with, I suggest getting rid of your TV and deleting all your social media. These are distractions from life and will prevent you from discovering where you thrive.
A note from Alex: I did this about two years ago, and I have no regrets. Social media was a distraction and would trigger my anxiety. As for TV, once you find out where you thrive, you’ll always have something better to do.
Become a One Track Mind
State the task at hand out loud. Such as, “I will write my article on how to avoid and/or block out distractions, and I’ll get it done tonight.” Repeat it a couple of times. I’ve found that verbalizing my intent aloud sets my mind to thinking in that particular direction, as well as helping to deflect some incoming distractions.
If you cohabitate with another, who’s well acquainted with ADHD, their hearing you state your intentions will inform them of your plans, so they know not to bother you. If they are new to your diagnosis, it may lead them to the conclusion that you’re slightly loony-bin-bound and they’ll leave you alone.
Either way, you’ll be able to be undisturbed for several hours, and you can always explain the Distraction-Be-Gone ritual later.
Set a Timer
Work in increments. If noise is a distraction to you, as it is for me, set the timer on your cell or laptop – one that doesn’t tick or make noise until your time is up. I (usually) use the vibration mode on my cell. Whether I’m doing something physical or sitting and typing, it doesn’t fail to catch my attention. When the time is up, it’s up. I take a break whether I want to or not and then I return.
Doing this takes willpower and a lot of it. I know how tough it is, especially if you happen to be hyperfocused and really in the moment, but taking a break will help you to finish what you’ve started, rather than burn up before it’s done.
That’s the goal, right? To get it done the first time. If you’re in the middle of it and don’t want to forget – make a note of where you left off, then get up and walk away. Even if it’s just for a moment. It does make a big difference.
If listening to favorite music doesn’t help, have you tried earplugs or white noise? Both options are generally accepted within the office setting.
Earplugs cost very little; you can find them in the nearest drugstore and hardware store. They don’t drown out everything but can help reduce enough noise to maintain your focus. However, it’s important to note that using earplugs while driving is not a good thing – please do not try this.
There are plenty of white noise machines out on the market, but I manufacture my own just by turning on a desk fan. If all else fails, try closing your door. If you have a cubicle, you can try asking your boss to move to one located further back and away from the main flow of traffic, if the movement is impeding your focus.
There is no cure-all that I’m aware of, no fail-safe method that I’ve found – but the three steps above have yielded the best results for me. I am always open to suggestions though; I would love to hear what has helped you block out distractions with ADHD.