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