#Edublogsclub Week 2: My Workspace

I’m proud to have made it to Week 2 of the Edublogs Club! This is longer than I’ve ever blogged before!

Our prompt this week is to describe our work space. I teach at a college and have the typical small, dark office with a metal shelf and filing cabinet. I don’t actually use that space to work, except to hold my office hours and to advise students.  I do my planning, emailing, and writing work at home on my couch or at Starbucks.

I’d like to talk about a part of the work environment that affects us all, but one that we may not put much effort into controlling. I’ve always been particularly affected by background noise — I NEED it.

From the time I was around 8 years old, I would fall asleep to music from a small radio by my bedside. (I think this is why I know every word to every song on the Top 40 List from the 1970’s and 1980’s!) In college when I needed to study, I would never go to the library. I studied on my bed with either the TV or stereo turned on with a low volume.  I still fall asleep to the TV and leave it on all night if my husband isn’t there.

As I aged, I started to think about the fact that I need noise all the time.   I found it curious, but not problematic. Then I read a recently published research article about the effect of 2 hours of silence on the brains of mice. The silence resulted in new cell growth in the hippocampus, a region responsible for memory and learning. Yikes. I then read more and more about the benefits of silence for the brain. Here is a great blog from the Huffington Post on the benefits of silence: Why Silence is So Good for Your Brain by Carolyn Gregoire.

My resolution this year is to incorporate some silence into my work spaces. I’m starting by keeping the TV muted for my first two hours of the day, when I answer email, do some tweeting, read assignments. It has not been easy. It does get easier each day, however.

I’m not working towards total silent work. I know that I work more calmly with a little noise and do very well at Starbucks or with a little well-chosen music.  This too is backed by research that says that background noise elevates creativity.  Read about that here:  Turn it Up! by David Burkus.

One more fun link to add a little pleasant background noise to your work. This site lets you hear a fireplace cracking or a tide rolling in at the beach or a breeze in a meadow. Enjoy!  Calm.com

12 thoughts on “#Edublogsclub Week 2: My Workspace

  1. Love the article links! Human research only goes so far as we are all so unique. Find what works for you and do it. If the quiet is not as productive for you, do what makes you productive. Me, I love a little silence! Congrats on making it to week 2, looking forward to reading more.

    • Thank you for reading! Not sure yet how the silence thing is going to work out for me, but I figure I can grow back a few brain cells while I’m trying it out! Ha ha!

  2. Hi there !
    I feel quite the opposite way about noisy places, I hate noisy offices. In fact, one of the great advantages I think I have for working paperless (https://goo.gl/d2Kxx5) is that I can move to whatever location is comfortable for me. Most probably it is a good idea to transition progressively into a quieter atmosphere.

    On the other hand, I feel the same way about this #edublogsclub challenge, it is difficult for me to find time to blog. I feel enthusiastic about this and hope to be able to continue throughout the year.

    • I think you have a good point about a gradual transition. Trying to go cold turkey to silence may be too drastic!!
      Good luck to both of us with this blogging challenge!

  3. Have you ever read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain? This perfectly describes how for many of us, myself included, too much noise sends us spiraling. I like how you approached this topic in a completely different way.

    • Kelley,
      Quiet is probably one of my all-time favorite books!! I’m such an introvert and that book (and Susan Cain’s TED talk) helped me to finally understand myself and feel positively about my introversion. The noise issue is interesting because for me, I need the perfect level of noise. I hate loud crowd noises and party noises! My husband and I drive separately to parties so I can escape when I need to and he can stay until the hosts finally escort him to the door ha ha!!

      I’m so glad you brought up that book. We have a definite connection!

  4. Hi Susan

    This week I’m sharing some of the posts using our Twitter account. Did you have a twitter account that I could use in the tweet when I share your post? I’ve enjoyed your reflection on noise in the work environment and wanted to include your twitter name if you had one.

    @suewaters

  5. I work with middle school students, and some of them absolutely need music or noise in the background, and some don’t want it at all. All of my students are issued an iPad at the beginning of the year at our school, and so – when it is appropriate – I allow them to listen to music (with headphones) as they work independently on an assignment. They know they need to actually be WORKING, though, and not spending all their time on finding music to listen to while they work. When it comes to working, I can work in the quiet or with noise, but at night I sleep with headphones and listen to nature sounds on Spotify (partial to rain!) or true crime podcasts.

  6. I prefer more quiet, but my daughter is like you–she always has music playing whether working or relaxing, unless she’s watching a video of some kind which supplies its own sound. I asked her about it one day years ago and she said her brain was racing around thoughts and ideas so much that the music helped her focus on the task at hand. We all have our individual needs! BrP

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