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Distracted vs focused  RSS feed

 
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I saw a TED talk from the great Pen Torvalds, where it confesses that he avoids any distraction when he does coding. Basically has a table with a lot of disorganized objects, and then a PC completely isolated from any distraction.
Personally there are moments when I love to do some coding and follow some tv, not impegnative movies, tv series I have already seen, music etc. Other times instead i just put some classical music and really avoid any distraction because of a difficult bug or other not trivial coding tasks.
My question is what is your relationship with distractions when you are doing some minor coding task? For instance reviewing your code, seeing how a library works, or just reviewing some business logic just for fun.
Paradoxically they relax me a lot in certain code contexts, I am curious about you, hoping is clear that to me focus and relax is essential
 
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Hi Giovanni,  I have a sort of an "off-on" kind of thing with distractions. I work as a developer in an office with lots of open space where it isn't unusual for conversations around projects to be loud, and sometimes a little rowdy (or passionate, depending on whose side you're on). Sometimes I can completely tune out the "noise" and focus on my work, but other times I find it so distracting that I have to put on the ear plugs and crank up the music, which, ironically, some could argue is another form of distraction. But I could counter-argue that, as I believe music can help one be more productive.

If I am frustrated with a problem I am working on, that is when I typically am more sensitive to distractions. But if I am more relaxed, code is working as it should and all is well with the world, then the background noise isn't really a factor.

Cheers.
 
Giovanni Montano
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Please have a look at our Agile forum where we are discussing that sort of thing at the moment and you might have a chance of winning an eBook if you post a similar question.


OK thanks both of you. Having a deadline impediments are really a peculiar moment to tackle.

@Randy I get your point. I invested in headphone cancelling headphones, the best ones, and I hear classical music. So not only I feel relaxed, but I am also on the cloud nine when at office there is an hectic atmosphere and I am in my nifty cocoon
 
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I am distracted quickly and I dislike noise to that extent that I have quit my job two times because of the noise, but also because the lack of understanding coming from managers. They seem to be the persons who can work with a lot of noise and interrupts, and have little understanding for programmers that might have another way their brains work. Especially when I sense the latter, I am directly applying for another job.
 
Randy Maddocks
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Wow Jan, you have a lot more courage than I do! I have been in my job for over 20 years, and don't think I would have the guts to quit over the noise.      
 
Jan de Boer
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Well getting another job is not that courageous I think. What is courageous is telling the management you left because of the noise. You get two reactions, I have experienced. First you get angry faces: "How could you leave us because something futile as that?!!". Actually because you think it is futile, I did leave. Second, more dangerous and persistent, you can get a bad reference. When they call your former employer, and your employer tells your reason to leave, and how let us say 'insulted' she was about it, you don't really have a positive thing there either. Been there I fear.
 
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Randy Maddocks wrote:Hi Giovanni,  I have a sort of an "off-on" kind of thing with distractions. I work as a developer in an office with lots of open space where it isn't unusual for conversations around projects to be loud, and sometimes a little rowdy (or passionate, depending on whose side you're on). Sometimes I can completely tune out the "noise" and focus on my work, but other times I find it so distracting that I have to put on the ear plugs and crank up the music, which, ironically, some could argue is another form of distraction. But I could counter-argue that, as I believe music can help one be more productive.

If I am frustrated with a problem I am working on, that is when I typically am more sensitive to distractions. But if I am more relaxed, code is working as it should and all is well with the world, then the background noise isn't really a factor.

Cheers.

I completely agree with you.
Definition of distraction for me varies with severity of the task, complexity of the problem, my mood etc.
Sometimes I can work with lot of noise around, sometimes I am distracted with little noise.
 
Randy Maddocks
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I think being able to tune people out sometimes is a male thing. At least, I am constantly reminded of this by my wife...    
 
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How do you know your wife constantly reminds you of it?
 
Randy Maddocks
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Campbell Ritchie wrote: How do you know your wife constantly reminds you of it?



Good question!    

My only explanation: Unrelenting reminders have worn down the part of the brain that blocks it out.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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You will have to tell her that unrelenting reminders will wear down the rest of your brain until none of it works. I don't think she'll fall for that one.
 
Randy Maddocks
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And believe me, there isn't much left to wear down.    
 
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