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How Much Distraction Do I Need?

This might be of note ...
This might be of note …

So the thing is, I can work better with the radio on. But I don’t work better if the radio is talking to me. It has to be music.

And it has to be music I like. If it’s music I hate, I’ll hear it, and hate it … actively. Well, in truth, I don’t really hate any music, but some of it is a bit annoying when you’re trying to concentrate. So I actively am annoyed at it.

Also, oddly enough, if it’s music I love, that will distract me too. I’ll start bopping to the rhythm and then I’ll be humming the song and then I’ll be thinking about the lyrics and one thing will lead to another and … well, I won’t be on the page I was writing or reading.

But this all points up another oddity about ADHD. If there are too many distractions I can’t concentrate, but if there aren’t any distractions, then where I am is too dull and boring and that’s painful. Too damned painful to work.

It reminds me of life in a lot of ways, too much food and we’re not healthy. But not enough and you get the same result, we’re not healthy.

Here’s an even better example

For another analogy, try this. We’re animals, and all animals need selenium in our diets. Selenium helps us survive on a cellular level. And it’s readily available in various foods that we consume including nuts and mushrooms.

Too much of a good thing

But too much selenium is not good for us either. In fact, selenium is toxic, potentially lethal. There are restrictions on how much selenium is allowed to be included in multivitamins. And wonder of wonders, there are minimum AND maximum selenium quantities required for baby formula.

But let’s try not to lose focus here …

I was talking about what I need to stay focused, and selenium isn’t one of those things. But dopamine is.

And if I want to stay focused, it has to be a challenge for me. A challenge, but not a complete distraction. It has to be the perfect balance.

School was a huge challenge, and not very often a good one. Usually, the classroom wasn’t distractive enough, and usually the potential wonder beyond the classroom was too alluring. I would always try to listen to the teacher, but if the lesson wasn’t “graphic” or “animated” enough, I would wander off mentally.

Perhaps, maybe … if there had been some music playing, quietly off in the distance, I might have been challenged just enough.

Oh well, I made it here anyway. What’s next?

How Much Distraction Do I Need?

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2015). How Much Distraction Do I Need?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 10 Feb 2015
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