Noise! Distraction! Tuna!

Even the smallest sound can provide a big distraction. Do you know how to filter out all the noise?
Treating ADHD Blog | posted by Bill Mehlman

If you think of noise, what do you imagine? Sound? Loud sound? Maybe, maybe not. It's the old eye of the beholder standard.

Been to a rock concert? Very loud. Painfully loud. Loudest one I ever got to was a Jefferson Airplane gig in the old Fillmore East. It was so loud that I couldn't hear well for two days - and I was sitting in the back! But was it noise? Not to me. Back then I'd have braved sniper fire to kiss Grace Slick's hand. It was loud, but it was all signal.

Electrical engineers refer to the "signal-to-noise" ratio. Same principle as the Airplane concert: if you have something in your broadcast, it's signal. If it's not, no matter how low the volume, it's noise. When you're trying to sleep but outside your window the wind is brushing a dead branch against your shingles, that's noise. The decibel count could be so low as to be insignificant, but if you hear it, and you can't catch your zzz's, it's noise.

You know where I'm going, right? Sure. You're working on something that requires a lot of concentration. All of a sudden some rogue part of the cerebellum (or cerebrum, I never got them right) fires off a message saying that there's still a half of a tuna sandwich in the fridge from lunch. Must be nice and soggy by now, the way you like it. That's noise. No matter how hard you try to keep the old bean focused on your work, pix of that sammich just keep flickering across the screen.

Your filters don't work. Best move now? Take a break, go gobble down that tuna, have a glass of iced tea, stretch, and get back to work. As I noted in an earlier posting, don't fight the tape.

It's the tuna by a TKO every time.

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