You know the feeling. You are pumped to learn something new, or to brush up on your existing skills. Either way, chances are there is a company training video, a LinkedIn course, a Kahn Academy, or just some YouTube videos that can help you out. The problem? You have ADHD. It’s only been 20 seconds, and already that video is going too slow.
ADHD Mind and Videos
It is easy to make the mistake of thinking all ADD is like your ADD. Hang around long enough and you’ll find that nothing could be further from the truth. Just like some normals learn better by reading, and some learn better by hands on, some ADHDers learn better from reading than video. I’m one of them.
I read fast. Really fast. I used to think I was a fast test taker. Turns out, that I just read the questions faster than anyone else. As someone who reads and retains quickly, I hate video, especially when it could have been an article. I promise I can read your 5,000 words faster than I can listen to you say them to the camera. If that weren’t enough, I’m also a writer. You can about imagine how I feel then, about reading versus watching.
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But, sometimes the world doesn’t cater to you and sometimes the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to standard reading documentation. Whatever the case, sometimes you just have to watch the videos.
ADHD and 2x Speed
You know how training or informational videos work. The people introduce themselves and they tell you what letters they have after their name that proves they are an expert. If there are two of them there is some banter. I don’t think you need to have ADHD to be eye-rollingly bored at that kind of stuff. A fast forward or clicking down the video progress bar is easily done.
By now they have started covering the material and it is STILL not happening fast enough. You could skip or fast forward, but the point of this course is to fill in some gaps in your knowledge. Skipping ahead might mean skipping that information you need. At this point, your ADHD brain is clawing at the insides of your skull begging you to let it out. You pick up your phone, or your pen and paper and suddenly, you’re practicing calligraphy or scrolling and now, you might be missing something, and you don’t even get to skip ahead.
Enter 2X speed.
As someone with ADHD and all kinds of advertising and interface blindness I never paid any attention to the icons down in the corner. Sure, if you told me to look at them I would, and I know close captions is down there if I can’t understand someone, but I never mess with the video settings and I control the volume with my speakers, so you’ll forgive me if I never really paid any attention to that 1x down there.
But, one day while watching some college admissions thing, I sat there as my daughter clicked that 1x and something magical happened. It turns out you can watch online videos at twice the normal speed. And the best part is that most of the time, you can still understand what they are saying. In fact, your ADHD mind is basking in the glow of someone, anyone, finally talking fast enough for your brain.
It doesn’t have to be 2x. Depending on what you are watching, you can do 1.25x or 1.5x, whatever speed keeps your mind behind your eyeballs where it belongs while still letting you follow along. Unlike skipping, you see everything, so nothing slips by, and you still get to finish the video in half the time.
Finding ADHD tricks like this makes living with ADHD better turning it into the oft desired advantage ADHD can be if you can understand it and feed it properly. Try watching your next training or video at 2x speed. You’ll be surprised how little it changes your understanding, but don’t expect miracles. Your brain will soon adapt to 2x speed and find it too slow. So far, none of the things I need to watch offer 3x speed, so don’t chuck that ADHD medication yet.
2x Speed and Accents
There is a funny bit I wanted to relate. I have been watching this one lady’s training course. It’s a series of several videos and I have watched them all on 2x speed. Then, we hit a bit that I wasn’t quite getting. So, I went back and then selected 1x speed. I was shocked to find out she had some sort of Australian or British accent. It turns out that speaking faster eliminates accents.