After 11 days off, I returned to work today. Within 20 minutes of being at work, I was missing my peaceful house and home office. Within 45 minutes of being at work, I was wishing I was home. I had somehow forgotten how noisy and chaotic my office is. I live in cube city so I hear EVERYTHING that goes on in neighboring cubes. My next cube neighbor comes in and turns on her radio. Then leaves her cube so I get to listen to it while she is off visiting. I don’t care that she visits but don’t turn your radio on until you are in your cube. Down the aisle, one of my co-workers had a fit at someone (don’t know who) because her computer wasn’t working right. She isn’t quiet about it and that disturbs the entire section. Then the gossip from down the hall comes to our area for his morning chat with my next cube neighbor. As he walks by my cube he complains about whatever his complaint is for the day.
Meanwhile I’m trying to remember my passwords, wade through 60 plus emails and set up my desk so I remember what the heck I’m supposed to be doing. This is the normal daily chaos for our section. I’m used to it usually. Yet today having been away from the chaos for so long it was just too much. I was on input overload.
I know it would be rude to shush people but really that is what I wanted to do. I realized today that I really do work in a noisy and chaotic atmosphere. The environment puts my senses on overload and this is why I sometimes have problems focusing and need to walk away from my desk. I usually escape into the bathroom which is quiet and peaceful.
Ideally I’d like to work on writing full time. Reality is that I need my paycheck and my benefits. I’ll just have to escape into my MP3 player and classical music or audio books. This distraction in my ears allows me to escape the chaos into a variety of worlds – music or literature. I become my own little island. I block out the chaos and negative energy surrounding me and focus (or try to) on what needs to get done. This makes me productive and keeps me calm.
Then when the chaos enters my cube (haven’t barricaded the entrance yet) I am better able to handle it. I can handle the added stress and work that gets plopped into my lap. I can spread a bit of my calm to those who come in and give them a tiny bit of peace knowing that I’ll handle whatever the crisis is with grace (at least I hope so).
Tomorrow I’ll be a bit better at handling the craziness and be that island for myself. I might even be able to share some of the peace on my quiet calm island.