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For over 10 years now I’ve relied on having a laptop by my side, playing back to back YouTube videos from one particular channel non-stop. It’s the key to my ability to work. Weird, huh.

I work from home—graphics/coding mostly, so work is constantly punctuated by little moments of having to wait for my machine to compile, or render—and my ADD means that in those breaks from the flow I’m easily distracted and easily trapped, especially by silence. Have to have some sort of noise to keep my brain from trying to start random conversations with me.

Music works for a lot of people: but I find it either doesn’t interest me enough to stop my mind wandering, or it’s so compelling I can’t snap away from it again.

After years of trying different things, talk radio, rolling TV news, all with varying degrees of success, I eventually stumbled on TheRadBrad’s channel. All he does is play through computer games: single-player campaigns—the story modes—each game once from start to finish, chatting as he goes. It’s kinda like having a roommate sat there next to you. It turned out to be just perfect: I have him on a laptop next to me, all day; I tune in and out of what he’s doing, but it’s consistent … it’s audiovisual chewing gum of just the right consistency to entertain me when I need it, but not so compelling that I don’t want to switch back to my work screen. It’s rare that I find myself watching his screen for much longer than it took for my work machine to finish what it was doing and give me control back.

There’s a little bit at the back of my brain that keeps track of what he’s doing, what objective he’s trying to complete, without me needing to watch or think about it: and keeping that bit of my brain occupied in the background seems to be the key to letting the rest of my brain work on the stuff I get paid to do.

Been working like this for about 10 years now, and it saved me. Ta, Brad.

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