Do You Suffer From Musical ADHD?

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When you write music do you find yourself not being able to finish your idea? Perhaps the initial idea became something else or you got distracted by something around you?

You might not actually have ADHD but It’s a pretty common problem these days and I’m not sure if that has to do with our limited attention span people keep telling us we have.

ADHD, short attention span or not, being able to stay focused and finish the work at hand is important. It will create less clutter from folders with unfinished music and unfinished mixes.

It will also let you pitch more music to publishers or labels, get more fans and listeners.

So, what can you do to combat a cluttered mind?

Don’t do too many things at the same time

Duh, obviously…

However, if you think about it, it makes sense.

Instead of trying to do 3-5 tasks simultaneously, break it down and focus on one thing. As Tim Ferriss says in the video below, “Don’t be a donkey

Makes sense, right?

Focus On What You Can Control

In a short article titled, Why Your First Decision Is Focus, by Tony Robbins he (or his employee) writes:

What do you tend to focus on more? What you can control or what you can’t control? What you have or what’s missing? The past? The present? Or the future? The honest answers to these questions will reveal your true pattern

It can be worth thinking about some of these questions when we sit down to make music.

For example, for you to be able to stay focused and do the work, what can you control to make that happen?

Turn off your phone, wifi, the mail app?

Or, why not just stop going on the internet altogether? This is what the author of Confession of a Teenage Gamer, Nicolas Cole, did for about 4 years to write his book.

Now, 4 years is a long time without the internet. But it must have cleared all the distractions he could have had.

Check Cole’s article, 10 Ways To Stay Ridiculously Focused On Your Goals, for some more tips from the man himself.

What could you accomplish if you took a break from the internet for 4 years?

What could you accomplish if you took a break from the internet for 4 years?

Make It Easy

This is a personal favourite of mine because you want to make your work as easy as possible. You don’t want to have to go through all the pain with setting up a new session, creating tracks, routing things, etc., which can cause you to lose your focus when you just want to lay down some new ideas.

The solutions for this is to have templates ready.

For example, I have a few templates (for mixing and writing) and for my current writing project, I have created a template which I can just open up and start making music within a few seconds.

In it, I have my instrument-tracks such as drums, synths and a few tracks for guitars. This is all I need to be able to make music but it saves me probably 5-10 minutes every time I open a new session.

My Pro Tools writing templates, what do you call yours?

My Pro Tools writing templates, what do you call yours?

Priorities

Being organised and having priorities can also help you stay focused on what’s at hand. For example, if you have a lot to do, perhaps sending emails, mixing for a client, write your own music, etc., it’s easy to jump between tasks and not complete one task at a time.

This can leave you feeling even more stressed because the tasks you have set out to do never get finished.

By writing down what you have to do for the day, or for the week ahead (my recommendation), you can easily follow what you have to do and check the box for “complete” when you are done.

This will help you stay more focused and feeling less rushed because you have a plan and a system for how to complete your tasks.

Now, let me know if this is something that is bothering you or if you have any other solutions for this problem in the comments below!