From Signal vs. Noise: The Alone Time Zone

17 Jun

Interesting post in the 37 Signals blog about their company’s structure and how it affects the way they work. (They’re the folks who make Backpack, which I’ve been trying out as a personal productivity tool for a few weeks now, and Basecamp, a hosted project management solution that I started using yesterday.)

There are about 4-5 hours during the day that we’re all up and working together…This gives us about half of the day together. And half alone. Guess which part of day we get the most work done? The alone part.

This is my first full-time professional writing job. It’s strange doing something so solitary and dependent upon “being in the zone” in an office setting.

I started out in a cubicle located at one of the major hubs of foot traffic on our floor. It was a great way to meet people and stay plugged in to what our department was doing, but MAN was it a struggle to write.

There wasn’t much I could do about the human figures flitting past in my peripheral vision*, but I could compensate a bit by putting on headphones and blasting music into my head while I riveted my eyes to the screen. Unfortunately, this also made me oblivious to visitors in my cube–such as managers and vice presidents–who were trying to get my attention.

When an office space opened up I moved into it with another cubicle dweller. She’s one of those people who works best when other people are around her. She says that when I have a day off, leaving her alone in the office, it’s hard for her to focus. Clearly she is deranged.

*Not to mention the wicked Keyboard Elves who taunt me ceaselessly. But I digress.

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3 Responses to “From Signal vs. Noise: The Alone Time Zone”

  1. zia June 17, 2005 at 10:47 am #

    It’s a completely unnatural environment to try and write–which is one of the main reasons I prefer being on my own.

    Yeah, no steady paycheck. On the other hand, no cube or officemate, no trying to work in generally nonproductive times, and no making up for wasted time at work at home.

    Yep. Now I just work ALL the time. But at least it’s in a quiet office in my PJs.

    Now if only the dog would stop snoring.

  2. Wade Rockett June 17, 2005 at 12:48 pm #

    Is your dog heartbroken about Tom Cruise getting engaged to Katie Holmes, like my office mate is? ;-)

  3. zia June 17, 2005 at 3:38 pm #

    Thank you for reminding me of something else I don’t miss.

    Have a great weekend, and go home already. ;-)

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