Distraction ≠ Anxiety

This blog post arrived from Hero’s Journal (the product of whom, I love) about distraction. It seemed to infer that distraction was the result of anxiety. It’s not that I’ve not heard that before (it’s quite a common trope in the “How to destress” pop-culture circle), but perhaps it struck me as odd here because the it was making distraction the subject rather than anxiety. The other reason it raised my attention’s right eyebrow was because I was talking (aka info-dumping) with a work pal this morning about the difference between working in the office and working at home.

Anxiety is not the primary reason for me to be distracted. IN FACT anxiety is a great driver of focus. In the office I tend to hyper-focus a lot because the excessive noise and human electricity-pollution creates such a atmosphere of stimulus stress that I usually have little choice but to burrow into work. Similarly task urgency makes me push into hyper-focus easily.

Additionally I’m more inclined to daydream when I’m in my home office working with much lower distractions and sensory pain.

Look, I’m no stranger to Yerkes-Dodson curve. I know that pressure leads to performance to a point. BUT I’m much more likely to hyper-focus with higher stress even when that stress is damaging.

Nancy Doyle – Assume Competence: Neurodivergent Staff Don’t Need Kid Gloves

It’s an ADHD thing (I’m pretty sure). I get distracted at low stress points and highly attentive at high stress points (until I meltdown). Heck, I went into business mode for a week when I arrived in Cairo the morning of Arab-spring when liaising with Australian and Canadian Governments (and the beautiful people of Egypt) saved our lives.

There’s also the judgment call on what we call performance. Free associating is great innovation work. It’s essential to me making innovative ground on projects.

So “No.” Destressing is not a solution to my distractedness. In many cases it’s the exact opposite.


On the other hand do check out the Hero’s Journal. I love mine and I’m using it to my personal mental health project. More on that soon

2 thoughts on “Distraction ≠ Anxiety

  1. Hi Heath! I am so grateful to have recently found your blog as you are enlightening me on so many elements of being ND that I do not have a language for myself…yet. For example, in this wonderful post your term “human- electricity pollution” is brilliant and one which every pore of my being understands. Also glad to learn about the Hero’s Journal and have shared it with my kids. While I live in PEI, Canada, I have a sister just outside of Kirkland, Wa where, I believe, the journal originated. Thanks and well wishes to you and yours! Jill

    • Hi Jill, Glad that you’ve found some helpful stuff. The electricity thing was something that I’ve thought about my entire life and it wasn’t until reading Katherine May’s “Electricity of Every Living Thing” that it really settled for me. Hero’s Journal was recommended from a friend and has subsequently popped up on “How to ADHD” (which I love). It’s a great personal project planner and isn’t rigidly time dependant so great for any of us with Exec functioning differences.

      Thank you for your wonderful blog and catch you again soon

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