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.
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).