What “Law & Order” and “American Idol” Have in Common
I've often stated that a stimulating environment was key for many people with ADD / ADHD, in breaking through procrastination to do boring tasks. Although many ADD adults find it helps to take the work to a cafe, that isn't always feasible.
TV can create a more stimulating background noise to keep you focused at home. BUT it has to be the right kind of show. If you're working on something that doesn't require real thought or intellectual challenge, a show that mildly engages you is perfect.
Here are my favorite shows for procrastination-busting:
Shows with just enough background stimulation:
- “Law & Order” – It's formulaic enough that you can keep listen with half an ear and keep up with the plot. You are unlikely to become so glued to the TV that you forget what you're working on. And you can always find an episode in rerun on some channel at any time.
- “American Idol” – Since it doesn't have a plot, it's easy to work while you watch. In fact, you don't even have to watch; you can just listen. Since it's on twice a week, that gives you two evenings to plan on getting boring work done with “Idol” stimulation in the background.
- Reality Shows with no particular plot or contest – If the characters sound like slightly more annoying versions of people you know, it can simulate the cafe effect and become background noise.
- Shows you've seen before – Good candidates for background stimulation are any re-runs that you've enjoyed. Since you already know what happens, you don't have to watch too closely.
Shows that are NOT good for background:
- Suspenseful shows with an ongoing plot – If you're closely involved in the story and have to really pay attention to clues and details, you won't be very productive while watching.
- Contest shows where visual content counts – There's no point watching “Project Runway” or “Design Star” if you can't look at it… and then you're not working.
- “Dancing with the Stars” – It might be ok for exercise or housework, but you can't do paperwork while you're watching the dancers!