Noise Cancelling Headphones are the shiz, that is all

TL;DR:

 

Problem: Noise is a huge distraction in your ability to focus and impedes your ability to finish (or start) work.

 

Solution: Invest in really good ACTIVE noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones.

 

Full Story:

I wish I could recall the exact sequence of events that led to the wonderful discovery of the power of noise-cancelling headphones, but alas, the details escape me.  It was something along the lines of this:

 

I kept complaining about how my coworker’s voice was so loud at work, that his voice carried through the wall of his office into my office, and distracted me all day long.  It had gotten so bad, and so annoying, that when he took a call, I’d leave my office and go to the break room, which was really equally distracting with people coming in for coffee continuously.  

 

During my reading on ADHD hacks, a mention of noise-cancelling headphones for children’s accommodations at school came up.  I mentioned this to hubby.

 

Hubby got tired of me complaining, about the office neighbor, and during a sale on Woot.com, ordered me a pair of over-the-ear active noise-cancelling bluetooth headphones (~$70.00).  He then helped me find really good instrumental music (lyrics are distracting), with a high tempo that keeps my dopamine pumping (we went with something called Indian PsyTrance).

 

When I tell you this small step was life changing, it is such a huge understatement.  This was a GAME-CHANGER in my life.  Coupled with shutting down email, setting phone and Skype to “do not disturb,” and several other steps which have become my “pre-game routine” for focusing, I have been able to break through my crippling inability to finish (and start) anything.  

 

I loved them so much, and the results were so instantaneous, hubby bought me a second pair to keep at home for my college work.  As a tangible measure of the difference: Prior to the headphones, I used to have to take a one-month extension every semester for at least one, usually both, classes.  With the semester he gave them to me, I started finishing on time, and made the Dean’s list every semester.  Had I had something like this during my formative school years…I’d have been unstoppable.  Can someone invent a time machine, please?

 

If you are the parent of a child gifted with ADHD, noise-cancelling headphones should be the “first” next thing you try with your student.  They can be written into their IEPs, and even added as an accommodation for testing (though you might not be able to have them use the Bluetooth with music….you should investigate that before you actually invest in a pair of headphones).

Intro – Part 2: Things Sucked, then looked better

In October 2017, there was (as always) a great deal of chaos in my life.

We were hosting the most obnoxious, narcissistic, demanding exchange student on the planet which was triggering a lot of stuff for me in a long history of dealing with obnoxious, demanding narcissists. I had just moved into a new townhouse, and had decided to give up fostering children as I was finding this too emotionally difficult. I was battling constant exhaustion, which I was assured was related to my recent diagnosis of sleep apnea. Combine this with nearly 150 extra pounds I was carrying and the additional diagnosis of fibromyalgia about 10 years earlier. I was a walking disaster.

Nights were filled with constant pain, flipping from side to back, to the other side, back to my back. I was only comfortable for about 15 mins, then the position would become too painful to stay put. The sleep study revealed I never actually hit REM sleep. I switched to a new fibromyalgia doctor, and he put me on a glorious new medicine: Lyrica. For six weeks I had the most amazing sleep I’d had in years. The constant pain was tolerable enough to stay in 2-3 positions all night. I was in heaven. Mostly. And then it all started to go a bit wrong.

 

TBC…

Intro – Part 1

I’ve always had trouble with procrastinating, with keeping anywhere I lived tidy, and being able to give any attention to anything for very long. In my 30s, I was diagnosed as ADHD. At first (for years…), I didn’t quite believe the doctors, but as I read many books on the subject, everything started to make sense. My entire school career made sense. My inability to keep my backpack, locker, or bedroom neat for even a day or two. My “flitting” from one thing to another (I’m great at starting things, nsm at finishing). Impulsivity in finances (vacillating from broke to stable and back again every other month), and again, procrastination – my constant companion.

In fact, it was procrastination, and a crippling anxiety over failure, (coupled with negative performance review at work), that really pushed me to seek answers. I’m not exactly being honest. The truth is my performance review wasn’t overall negative. Overall it was very positive, however, it wasn’t entirely positive. Specifically, I was told I needed to improve in one area.  And in my mind, it was therefore entirely negative (more on that in a later post). But all you need to know at the moment is that it felt negative to me where I was at the time, which I reacted to in the only way I knew how. I was going to fix the shit out of this. And by “this,” I meant “me.”

To be continued…

 

Book Review: Faster Than Normal by Peter Shankman and Edward Hallowell

TL;DR:

If I hear the word “squirrel” shouted at me at any future point in my life, someone is getting punched in the nether region.  The word squirrel has been single-handedly ruined for me.  Skip this book if you have any audio OCD issues.

 

Full story:

I really wanted to love this book.  The concept of embracing your ADHD as a gift really resonates with me.  There are definitely a lot of advantages (I feel).  This book does hit on some good points, but I really couldn’t tell you what they were.  Every couple of paragraphs, the word “squirrel” is shouted (to get your attention, you ADHD person, you!), and a key point is then raised.  I can’t tell you a single point raised.  I listened to the entire book, and I remember constantly thinking, “Ok, good point, but stop fucking yelling squirrel at me.”

I could not get past this incredibly annoying aspect of the book.  Now, this was on audiobook, and maybe I wouldn’t have reacted so negatively to reading “Squirrel” every couple of paragraphs.  I have LONG known that I cannot stand repetitive noises (coworkers clipping their nails? Who does that?  Clicking a retractable pen during a meeting? Yeah, I’m the gal who will take that pen away from you…).  So, take my review with a grain of salt.  Or a big, cow-sized salt-lick.

Also, and this might be the squirrel thing tainting my opinion, I found the author arrogant in a lot of ways.  Some of it was kind of “I’m brilliant and fabulous and wildly successful because of my ADHD,” but some of it just came off as “I’m brilliant and fabulous and wildly successful, but others aren’t and never will be.”  To me, that seemed to teeter on a fixed mindset kind of view (totally my opinion, and again, I’m probably holding a squirrel-related grudge), and got kind of annoying.  

Anyway…if you aren’t bothered by annoying noises, and can weed through the self-congratulating diversions, there are actually helpful things in this book. I just can’t remember what any of them are.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!