Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

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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!
Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.


Categories: Blog, Procrastination


    That explains why I insist on blocking out the time and not interacting with anyone or anything when Project Runway is on.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Project Runway is a great show to accompany mindless work! One of my favorites, though I often end up watching the show more than doing the work… Oh well, that’s what commercials are for.

    Nechama Cheses

    Hi Bonnie:
    First I want to thank you for your helpful blog – I realize that as a big procrastinator and chronically late person, some simple tips from someone who understands can make a huge difference! I wish I could learn from you in person, but online support will have to suffice for now. I”m currently on sabbatical with my family in Israel which is 7 hours ahead of the states. Although I registered for you webinar this month, it will be live in the middle of the night for me! However, I would be interested in listening to it afterwards, so please forward on the instructions how to do that. I have some big projects looming when we get home to Boston. We rented our house to a family for the year and I have a huge basement clearing and refinishing project to tackle to convert it to work space – a studio for my dance therapy practice… My husband and kids don’t think it’s possible, but I’m determined to prove them wrong! Any advice or encouragement would be hugely appreciated!!
    Thanks very much,

    Bonnie Mincu

    Hi Nechama:
    It sounds like that basement project will require some real planning. The Following Through” webinar will help you with that. A recording of it will be posted for just a week after the June 15 broadcast date, so mark your calendar to remind yourself to listen to it!

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

For the first time in my life I feel understood and hopeful that I can put some tools and systems in place to help me overcome!”

—Michelle near Seattle

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Find out what's REALLY stopping you with free "Procrastination Tree" Tool for Adult ADD / ADHD.