I work in an open plan office. My boss sits just a few desks away in the same room. My coworkers are not particularly noisy and they’re certainly pleasant. But their very presence is a distraction.
I do not like silence. The office is silent in that there is no music, pleasant or otherwise. This already makes work less pleasant. But it is not really silent. Distracting sounds pervade the room. Innocuous banter between coworkers, discussions about work that has nothing to do with me, people walking, chairs creaking, papers rustling. Just the knowledge that when I look up, I will see seem other human being is distracting. It isn’t just that what people do that makes me less productive – it is just that they are there.
I keep feeling like, if I just go sit in my room, I’ll be able to solve whatever is puzzling me at that moment. But of course, I can’t. And my introvert batteries keep getting drained. I have found one thing that helps. Music, of course. I put on my headphones, play some classical music and it’s like a wall goes up between me and the rest of the room. I can actually focus. All those little annoying sounds fade into the background. Noisy discussions are rendered less distracting – sometimes I need to turn up the volume.
It’s like being in my own little cocoon of sound. I go home feeling less tired. If I could, I would forgo all interaction with my colleagues (except perhaps during lunch). I’d love to be somewhere on my own (preferably at home), doing everything I need to do via email, my speakers blasting Vaughn-Williams or the Star Wars OSTs.