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How to concentrate, ADD-style

24 January 2013

I have cracked it. I have cracked how I work best and how to get myself to concentrate on my wok for an hour or so and write my essays.

Unfortunately it is a very time-consuming method and it makes no sense to most people. Here is my feeble attempt at explaining it.

First of all: I can not concentrate very well. I am easily distracted and getting started on something is almost impossible. I have tried sitting in a pub, in my bedroom, in the university library...you name it, I've tried it. No success. Basically: Having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) sucks. A lot.

So what works for me?
First of all: sitting at my desk does not work. That is a shame as I have a nice desk. But it is not happening. I spend hours at my desk doing everything but work.

Sitting on my sofa in my bedroom does not work. The sofa is simply not comfortable enough and I am constantly distracted by being uncomfortable.

What *does* work is sitting on the sofa in the lounge, alone, with the TV on. I sit myself down, have dinner & a cup of tea. Then I tell myself to start working. Which I don't. I open all the relevant documents and the links in my browser to articles that I need to read. But no work gets done. Because there is TV to watch. And news to read about. And Facebook to check. And links to follow.

So for about 2 hours, I tell myself to work but find myself unable to do actual work. The half-hearted concentration means I re-visit the stuff I have done so far and usually (because I can not concentrate and think straight) I think it is all rubbish and I start re-writing. But the re-writing is not very good because, remember, I am not concentrating very well.

Eventually I get so annoyed that I am being prevented from working by all those distraction things that I no longer find them a distraction. They are now starting to irritate me. Because I feel I have WORK TO DO and the TV is IRRITATING ME because I can not CONCENTRATE with the TV on.

When that moment is reached, I turn the TV off and think: FINALLY I am allowed to get on with the work I need to do. Finally I have managed to shut that stupid TV off.

It feels as if I have had a battle with the TV and the internet and after a couple of hours, I have defeated them! I am victorious.

And then, providing nobody else is in the room and talks to me, I can work. I can concentrate. For about an hour. I still am able to check Facebook every so many minutes. But I am able to check, and then get back to work. In that hour, I work like a demon and write pretty darn good stuff.

Last night I had *just* reached 30 minutes of good working when my drunk housemates came in and started talking to me. Although they wanted to tell me how great they think I am, I was very annoyed but I could hardly tell them to leave the room as it is their living room too.

So, to get an hour of work done, I need a lead-up that can sometimes stretch to a couple of hours. And I need the living room to be empty and no housemates to talk to me. And what are the chances of all those factors coming together all the time, every day? When do I have 3-4 hours to spare to sit on the sofa in the house alone?

Very rarely. So I get stressed. Because what if these spurts of concentration do not come to me? What if there is not enough time before the deadline?

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