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In the Zone – Headphones and Focus

I am twitchy, unfocused and probably borderline ADHD.(And if you don't know who these characters are, go do your research on classic movies, kids....)

Well, maybe not, but it’s a fantastic excuse for lacking the discipline to force myself to sit in my chair and do what it is I’m supposed to be doing. This is partly a result of the epic to-do list that has a mish-mash of “NEED to complete” and “WANT to complete” items and distraction of pretty much everything around me. Maybe I was a crow in a former life; I certainly am attracted to sparkly things.

My ideas distract me from my deadlines which distract me from my household responsibilities which distract me from my homework which distracts me from work which pulls me out of a deep sleep for no other reason than sheer panic at what I have to complete and what has not yet been done because I’ve been doing homework, housework, and still trying to pursue personal interests and goals like writing.

And you wondered what could possibly be so distracting. 😉

What seems to help, especially when I’m facing that moment of indecision where I want to stay focused on my computer and the work lying therein and demanding my attention, but something infinitely more pressing is nagging at my attention. Putting on headphones seems to help tether me, even if only by the fragile umbilical of a thin wire. The music choice is just as important. Something too bouncy like, oh I don’t know, 80’s music, and I’m going to levitate right out of my seat and wander away. Something too engaging like the Beatles or Led Zepplin or Disturbed and I’m going to be sitting at my desk singing instead of working. Something too mellow like Beethoven and, well… zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Jazz seems to work, and some of the American standards are helpful (not too much Frank, though, or it becomes my private karaoke seat – and the same for Ella). What has worked best is artists like Enigma, or even the old Pure Moods albums. Classical is a bit too relaxing and has caught me nodding off.

Another thing that’s important is the quality of the headphones. If they come off too easy, they’re not much of a deterrent and the same if they’re uncomfortable. As much of an investment as it is, the Beats headphones have been amazing. Not only is the sound quality great, the noise cancellation is very very very helpful at limiting distractions. With the music at a reasonable level, I can still hear big sounds and some of the higher pitched ones (like the sound of the washer/dryer going off), but ambient noise is significantly reduced. They are also comfortable enough to wear for hours without bothering me. They internalize so much sound that crunchy foods should be avoided unless you like listening to the sound of something like gravel being rattled around in your skull overwhelm what you’re listening to. I like that they’re bigger than the headphones most of us are used to simply because they stay on much better than lighter weight headphones and they aren’t those stupid little ear buds that always fall out of my head when I yawn, sneeze or look at my monitor cross-eyed. (Seriously, I HATE those stupid little things.) The draw back to that is, if you forget you have them on, you’re going to practically clothesline yourself when you get up. Think that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Nia Vardalos gets up too quick at the travel agency and lands on her ass. Yeah, that will happen to you too.

So, now that I’ve been quite disciplined for quite a length of time (measured in hours tonight, not minutes) and gotten all my “needs” accomplished for the night, I’m going to go reward myself with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Let’s see if I can make it through either or both before I doze off or get distracted. 😉

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