Archive for the ‘switching rooms experiment’ Category

Switching rooms experiment, day four
April 18, 2008

Yesterday was the fourth and last day of my experiment. Now when the novelty has worn off, it doesn’t feel much more effective than before. Especially the first two hours were a drag and I had very little done. However at the end of the day I realized it wasn’t that bad at all.

Boredom. Quite normal, but there are two kinds of boredom:

  • Boredom experienced. Like “I feel bored now”.
  • Boredom that can be measured by decrease in performance. Lack of motivation, problems in concentrating, laziness, procrastination, tiredness, etc.

I was certainly a little bored in the first, I’d call internal, respect. In the second respect I’d call external I have to admit I had a lot done. Not as much as in Tuesday but not bad either.

Procrastination. Still very little procrastination. i took quite a lot breaks but when I was at my desk, I had zero problems in beginning the work promptly.

Social contact. We had some discussions and now I’m having a more accurate picture of their personality. I realized if I wanted to go on using this room, I should get to know them better. Spend my breaks with them at least occasionally, ask something about their life and background and so on. Of course I know I shouldn’t be too pushy either.

Working in a more social environment certainly has a balancing effect but it also requires some work. I know these being a new kid on the block might last for months. It’s normal and I have no grudges about it.

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Switching rooms experiment, day three
April 16, 2008

Today was the least successful day this far. Probably because I haven’t slept very well.

I noticed the way my roommates keep their dignity. They dress well, are industrious, and even buy their lunch at the nearby restaurant, while I just bring my lunch box and warm my meal in a microwave oven.

I myself am a bit of a skeptic, but now when I’ve studied them for three days, I think their approach works better. Even if you don’t always see the point in your work, deprecating what you do isn’t very healthy in the long run. Of course you shouldn’t fool yourself, but if you’ve decided to do something, you should do it well. At least do it for your self-esteem.

The air in the room is really competitive, and slacking might raise nasty remarks. They have very few breaks and I have to admit I was a bit embarrassed of having so many today.

Boredom. Moderate level of boredom. Yet time seemed to run faster than when I worked in my own room.

Procrastination. Some faint traces of procrastination, but still practically none compared to a normal day in previous weeks.

Social contact. Not much joking or talking. The atmosphere became a lot more comfortable during the last two hours. At the end of the day we actually had a longish chat. Yet I still don’t know my roommates very well.

I felt myself rather tired today and I thought I didn’t get much done. However, at the end of the day I realized I was still working at least for my long time average pace. Besides these things happen in cycles and yesterday was exceptional for the others too.

Switching rooms experiment, day two
April 15, 2008

Nothing special to report. Using a room with workmates feels already very natural. My companions take very few breaks, and I too felt some guilt every time I left my desk.

Boredom. I had a peak of boredom at around 2 pm. but it didn’t last very long.

Procrastination. This morning I started working faster and smoother than for a long time. I even surprised myself. Probably due to industriousness of the others I had practically no problems with procrastination.

Social contact. We didn’t talk a lot today. Some joking and questions but mostly just working. Very neutral.

I had quite a lot of work done today. Considerably more than usually. I remember some people think working has something to do with results, so this might be of some interest too.

Switching rooms experiment, day one
April 14, 2008

Today was the first day I left my solitary room at work. I wrote about this project or experiment of mine yesterday.

I had two co-workers in the same room. A man and a woman. Both gave me an impression of being very industrious and professional. I felt an air of effectiveness and self-respect. I believe at least half genuine.

Actually when they seemed to have very precise times for lunch and opening the window, it felt almost military. I asked about it and they told me it’s one of their running jokes.

Boredom. My boredom levels were lower than usual, the hours seemed a lot shorter. The difference was largest at the end of the day when I usually just stagnate and wait for the time to get back home. Today I worked full force until four o’clock.

Procrastination. Procrastination was practically nonexistent today. I started everything promptly and had no problem carrying on the good work flow.

Social contact. There was some joking, but occasionally I felt myself an outsider. Of course this was the first day. My workmates have shared this room for months and would either get used to me or get irritated. Either way, I think I’ll see the real outcome before Friday. I’ll be one of them or be expelled or something in between. Overall experience was positive in this respect too, it definitely did beat working alone.

Summary. Good start. Didn’t fail in any of the three respects above. I was actually a bit concerned the new hectic environment would exhaust me, but now when I’m writing this I don’t feel myself any more tired than usual.

End of the solitude
April 13, 2008

At work I have my own room. It isn’t as luxurious as it may sound. We have plenty of space there.

Tomorrow I’m going to share a room with two of my workmates. I’ll try it for a while. I have three reasons for leaving my spacious room with amazing view:

  • Boredom. Being alone with my often slightly monotonous work tasks, maybe reading free newspapers and solving crosswords or sudokus for fun, isn’t something you can tolerate day after day, week after week.
  • Procrastination. Seeing others working makes it easier to start.
  • Social contact, chatting. Humans are pack animals. I think seeing people, their acts and expressions is somewhat mentally stabilizing. I believe the main reason solitary thinkers are so gloomy is that they lack the emotional reality check called observing other humans.

I used to be a lone wolf. After working and studying alone for years with results I’m not very content with, I try to make about everything as social as possible.

Last week I read in a library. Even with all the distractions and noise, I felt I could concentrate better than at home. I even began to doubt if I should borrow any books anymore.

I realized I associated things and thoughts in the book I was reading with the place I was reading it and to some nearby details. It was kind of instinctive mnemonics.

From this on I think this is my credo: Don’t think in a void. Use people and places. Try to use different environment in different tasks. Brainstorm in busy environments. Concentrate in places everyone else is trying to concentrate (i.e. libraries). Work near to other people doing the same job.