Ringer Tape

Programmers require some time to achieve the fragile but productive MentalStateCalledFlow. Accepted telephone protocol sacrifices flow in order to provide immediate attention to random callers.

Therefore: Protect your productive thought by wrapping your telephone ringer with tape until it sounds only a dull and easily ignored murmur.

(Adapted from PeopleWare by WardCunningham)
For the last 20 years I have used industrial strength earmuffs (silence headphones) so I can concentrate, even in noisy environments. I can ignore people sitting around discussing or arguing, or even the phone, when I want to . When I have them on and am working intensely, you have to call my name from right behind me to get my attention. A possible alternative to ringer tape. -- AlistairCockburn
Our telephone system at KSC has a WONDERFUL feature called the "Do not Disturb" button. I believe that over my years here I've had it on more often than not... In the same vein, a couple of years ago one of my co-workers "lifted" a "Do not disturb" sign from a hotel and gave it to me to hang on my door. Another wonderful invention...

When I was really stressed at AT&T, I sometimes unplugged my phone, set the base unit on my desk, stretched the cord across the little isle between my desk and file cabinet, put a "do not ****ing disturb" sign on the cord, put my headphones on, and found some music to listen to. (I have a great set of headphones; they totally isolate me even when the music's not set very loud.) I shut down my e-mail software, too.

The phone had a "do not disturb" button, too. I set it before unplugging the phone. I also set my greeting message to, "Hi, I'm very busy, I won't be able to get back to you any time soon." -- PaulChisholm
So, if you're so stressed that interruptions are that troubling, perhaps the world is telling you to reduce the stress, not reduce interruptions? -- RonJeffries

See DontSweatTheSmallStuff

Often, interruptions are troubling due to DumpShock rather than stress -- RobMandeville

If you want to be productive, kill the email notification program. If they sent the message by email, then it must not be urgent. Checking your email 2-3 times a day is plenty; maybe even too much. (I usually check in the morning, then right before or after lunch, and again shortly before leaving.)

In noisy environments I've been known to resort to industrial ear plugs. But they're a pain.

At home I wrapped the ringers: No one interrupts my dinner or gets me out of bed. |-[

-- JeffGrigg

oh, how I envy you...

I am lucky to be able to filter out all kinds of interruptions more or less subconciously, I simply don't notice phones ringing, people coming and going, construction noise etc. while I'm deeply concentrated. I also go quite easily into the MentalStateCalledFlow - provided I am sufficiently interested.

When I was younger, I used to read books and didn't even notice when I was called loud and clear (and not because I intentionally ignored it). Concentration sometimes goes that far, that I even answer trivial questions without later remembering them (and of course without leaving flow). I have been known to reply to 'Hello' and to answer 'Gunnar, are you listening?', 'Are you there?', 'Can you come by?' with 'Yes' and later not knowing about it.

This state is known as "dominanta". In the same way, a cat following a mouse does not see anything else around, unlike normally. -- AnonymousDonor

I guess its partly gift, partly 'training' (I have a lot of younger siblings and I had few opportunities to be undisturbed). It can be a curse, if you need to be responsive. -- GunnarZarncke

I'd say I'm quite similar, Gunnar. I have 5 younger siblings, and I also read a lot of books as a kid. One doesn't get a lot of peace and quiet in such a household as a child. Since I was fairly young, Ive found that subconsciously, or consciously if need be, if there is too much noise around me, even people next to me attempting to distract me in some way, I will simply turn the dial down to 0, and the annoyance is gone (until they start yelling and tapping my shoulder :P). I've been accused of being unable to multi-task, that I can't listen to someone and do something relatively mind-consuming at the same time. At first I took it as an insult, as it was meant. However, I've come to realize that this is an ability I should and do value, not to mention employ regularly.

On that note, I think, no, I know, that multi-tasking is overrated: I believe a mind is much like a CPU...only one task can be processed at a time....its all about scheduling tasks in their proper order, according to priority. You've got to relax, and take things One. At. A. Time. This MentalStateCalledFlow that everyone's buzzing about - thats a product of 'uni-tasking', as I like to call it. Think of it not as 'clearing your mind', or any mumbo-jumbo like that. Just take a quick second and think about what on your mind is the most important to you at the moment, then do that, and only that first. Get your priorities straight.

I am a recent graduate of computer science technology, and have recently been thinking much on what direction I want to take my life in, just to give yall some background... -- ThufirHawatPhil?@hotmail.com

Can you give definitions/references for "dominanta"? I cannot find sensible references in google or wikipedia.

CategoryCommunication CategoryConcentration CategorySound

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