Q: “Denise, you are going to think I am crazy, but I am having a huge issue concentrating about everywhere I go! I have a CMA to do and I can’t focus on it at my home office, the brokerage office, at Starbucks, the library, anywhere! I feel like my senses are heightened and I hear everything – from the humming of electronics to others around me breathing. Smells are driving me to distraction. I get songs stuck in my head that I can’t turn off. I haven’t always been this way! Over the last two years it has gotten a lot worse and seems to be terrible when I have to do something that I really have to focus on like a CMA. Am I going crazy? Do you have any suggestions?”
A: You are not going crazy. This is a challenge that many people struggle with. I am so glad that you have identified this issue because now you can deal with it. Here are a few tips:
- Are you more likely to have success at different times of the day? Being tired can make the sensitivity worse, so make sure you are tackling a detail-oriented task at the best time of day for you to tackle it.
- Can you control what you hear by wearing earplugs or tuning into some light music or white noise with some headphones? Some people find that this one simple step makes a world of difference. Music might also help with your earworm issue (an earworm is a song that you get stuck in your head – for some people, it can become a physical distraction).
- Can you control visual distractions? People coming and going, dogs romping, and even birds can cause some people to become distracted. If that is something you struggle with, make adjustments such as facing the wall or going somewhere where visual distractions are not.
- Can you control what you smell? Aromatherapy might be a good option. Using essential oils, candles, or even a cup of fragrant tea or coffee might be just the ticket to drowning out other smells.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Lean into the issue to help find solutions that work best for you!