We all have those little habits that make our work life more enjoyable. One of my more noticeable work habits is the background noise I set. It’s almost always the same.
To be honest, for the past few months it’s been Pride and Prejudice. Whenever I have work to do in the evenings (usually sewing, but other times design work), I’m often into the first fifteen minutes of the BBC mini-series before I realize that I’ve set it to play in the background. It is as if I am on autopilot… I take out the DVD, start my computer, and press “play all episodes” before I know what I’m doing.
Despite the extreme repetitiveness of this habit (as I work I often hear myself saying lines along with the actors), I have discovered that there is a very useful purpose: I have become so accustomed to the length of this miniseries–300 minutes, or 5 hours–that I have learned to pace my work by its rhythm. At first, I played this miniseries when I had a late-night deadline to meet; I had something engaging to listen to while I pushed through a difficult night of work. Now, though, as I hear the plot move in the background, I know how much longer I have to work before I must call it quits for the night. When I hear Mr. Collins describe the splendors of Rosings Park when Elizabeth comes to visit, I know that I have quite a long time yet to go; when I hear news of Lydia’s discrace and elopement with Mr. Wickham, I know I have to start wrapping up larger projects (for smaller projects, I know that Lady Catherine’s visit to Longbourn marks my last good wrapping-up point).
Perhaps this is childish. Friends of mine who have young children tell me that their kids can watch the same episode of their favorite shows over and over and over and over without losing interest… and if me having the same background noise week after week makes me childish, so be it.
What about you? Are your work habits repetitious, or varied? What do you do to set the tone for your work environment?