When I’m focused intently on something, I do not want to be interrupted. If I am, I have to make certain that I do not let that interruption inform my reactions.
If I let that happen, I’ll snarl. I’ll be upset and I’ll blame the interruption, or worse, the interrupter. I don’t want to do that.
It’s taken me a while to realize that the fault for my being upset is my ADHD, it is not the thing or the person who interrupted my focus.
In fact, the opposite
The truth is that whoever interrupts me is probably doing me a favor. It’s highly unlikely that what I am focused on cannot bear the interruption, and it’s highly likely that I’m being interrupted because something else requires my focus.
So rather than being upset with whomever interrupted me, I should be thankful. They’ve more than likely saved me time or face.
But why do I get upset?
I’m not completely sure, but I think it’s the change of pace. When I’m focused on something, there is a pace to what I’m doing.
That pace can range from a dead stop, like when I’m glued to the idiot box watching mindless commercial television, to the frantic pace of playing street hockey with children.
So the pace doesn’t matter?
Not so much, it turns out. It’s more maintaining that pace that seems to matter. If I’m reading a book, and the house is on fire and needs to be put out, I’m going to experience, no matter how wrong it is, a slight twinge of annoyance at having to put my book down.
If I’m in the middle of a Sudoku puzzle on my phone and the dryer buzzer goes off, I’ll get that same twinge of annoyance, but it will last for longer, because it will take me longer to react to the dryer … unless it’s trying to burn the house down.
Seems to be not much of a problem?
Well, it actually is. If I’m cooking supper and I’m reminded of some paper work I knew I was supposed to fill out a month ago and that needs to be filed by the end of the work day, then I’m going to experience that annoyance again.
And since I’m cooking supper, and can’t just drop that, I’m going to continue cooking while I try to solve the problem of when to do that paper work. Now my pace has changed and so has my mood.
And it isn’t over …
Once supper is cooked, I’m going to have to switch gears again and take care of the papers needing to be filled out and filed. And I’ll still be annoyed if I allow that to continue.
The result is that the paper work will likely suffer, and so will supper. In addition, I’ll be in a less then cheery mood afterwards.
What to do?
The answer is easy. As soon as I recognize the annoyance, I step away from it. I “check it at the gate” so to speak. If I give it free rein than, in the case of the supper and paper work scenario, it will affect my work and color the rest of my evening.
So I recognize the change of pace and I realize it will need my consideration. And that usually works.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have supper to make … and some papers to fill out. And I don’t want to be in a mood when I’m done. Keep smiling, okay?