Do you know when you are Zoning Out?

As an adult with attention deficit disorder I have lived with zoning out and staring out the window for many years - I was medicated though highschool, college, and grad school then I stopped and opted for a more healthy way to control my attention span. For the most part it works, I am active, I try and eat well most of the time, I am not obese and I get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night.

Lately however, I have been sitting in my office getting back to some of my old tricks i.e. zoning out the window every few minutes and getting away from what I should be doing. I am an Environmental Psychologist and I work for an environmental advocacy conglomerate based in CT. Environmental psychology is basically the study of humans within their habitat and workplace. Basically, I help people design a more comfortable setting to work in and live in…I work with architects and landscape designers to make comfortable living and working conditions so people can lower their stress levels and concentrate on what makes them happiest, or their work…

Unfortunatly for me I have not been taking my own advice, I have two large 8’x12’ windows in my northerly facing office. I’m in a corner, so I have one directly infront of me, behind this monitor I am staring at, and one directly to my left…I look out over a woodland landscape, lot’s of douglas fir, oak, shagbark hickory and a small pond. There are two cardinals looking at me from atop a HUGE rhodadendron right now.

But the point of this OP is to see how many of you know when you are zoning out, and what do you do about it? Do you ever start a project at your job and then halfway through realize you are staring at a picture on your desk or out the window or at the fabric on the cube wall?

Or do you simply not have any of these problems? [lucky]

If we’re thinking of the same thing, yes, I know when I’m zoning out. I always thought everbody did it. No? It’s this kind of wierd thing where I see and hear stuff around me, but I’m not fully aware of it. It seems like there’s almost no conscious thought of any kind going on. When I was a kid, I used to think of it as being the equivalent of a TV station putting out a test signal before starting the broadcast day or a teletype machine running open…and I haven’t really come up with a better analogy since. If someone talks to me, or something alarming takes place, I ‘come back’. Sometimes, I shake myself physically to shake it off, but I can’t really say how I decide to do that.

I look out across a rolling field at work, and yeah it’s nice to just stare out there sometimes. I guess the best thing to do if you find yourself looking out there too much is to close the curtains/blinds?

Usually I know when I’m zoning out. Sometimes I lose track of the length of time that I’m gone. There’s usually some active daydreaming or storytelling going on in the background, so it’s more like watching TV than watching a test pattern.

I do this all the time.

I know I’m zoning out in the sense that I notice that I’ve just been doing it. One can’t notice it while one is doing it, because the noticing stops it immediately.

I am a believer that any expert is bad at taking his or her own advice. I am horribly terrible at giving myself advice to solve my own problems, but I am quick to work out the solution to other people’s problems.

As I have mentioned in another post I am a terrible Procrastinator, and at work I am somewhat work-shy. I have developed my job in such a way that I can sit back and… get bored. If something comes along that is outside my comfort zone (such as when I am filling in for a different job title in someone’s absence) I feeel an overwhelming desire to put it off or find some excuse not to do it.

But I digress. Yes I do know when I’m zoning out and not getting on with something. I’ve done it ever since I began education. I’m amazed I didn’t flunk my college or University degrees… Both involved extreme last-minute rush work.

I do it, but I tend to “zone out” more when people around me are discussing subjects which bore me: kids, celebrity news, etc. I did it in school, too, much to my detriment. I had an almost pathological inability to concentrate on subjects which bored me, and turned to “zoning out” to keep from going insane with boredom. I do remember my grade school report cards and my teachers’ complaints about my frequent “daydreaming.”

At work, however, there’s always the internet and the Dope to stimulate the ol’ brain.

I notice. I think I notice, at least. I’ve also developed a half-zoned mode where words go in my ear and out my note-taking hand and do not stop in between. That also comes in handy if I’m terribly sick and I have to go to class anyway, lest I miss something that will be on the exam. I can always go back and read my scrawl later.

Part of my brain recognizes when I’m doing the zoning out thing, and I do it a lot.

I’m not generally looking at anything, I’m just not entirely there.

I can catch myself if I start to do it while driving, at least.

The only time I zone out is when

I am so confused by this. I ‘‘zone out’’ all the time, but I don’t have ADD. I just start thinking about some random word someone said and before I know it I’m re-enacting some elaborate scenario in my head until I finally realize there is no way I can pretend I heard what the hell the other person just said to me.

Drives my husband nuts. I ask him to repeat himself (whole paragraphs) at least twice a day. And no, I never realize I’m doing it until it’s too late.