June 2009

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It’s always a sign that I’m tired or stressed if I don’t listen to music at work.

As I’ve mentioned I spend significantly more time listening to music on headphones at work than in any other setting. Most of that time I’m doing something else, and not listening closely, but that time is still a crucial part of how I think about music. It gives my mind time to process music in the background and allow random associations to form.

The fact that I listen to music at work also explains, in part, my affection for the pleasures of pop music. Good music provided great moments that work and catch your attention even when you’re distracted.

It’s also true, and a fact I forget all to readily, that listening to music at work is good for my work. A lesson that I learned in college, but that I forget occasionally, is that I am vastly more productive when I’m sufficiently alert that my mind is agile, and can consider things from multiple perspectives. If I get too fatigued I am only capable of working in straight lines and that means that, while I may be able to get some things done, it isn’t going to be fun, it isn’t going to be quick, and the best I can hope for is to do simple work without making too many mistakes.

One of the signs that I’m reaching that level of fatigue is that I stop listening to music, because it takes attention that I don’t want to give up.

I believe the studies that say that human beings can’t actually pay attention to two different things at the same time, they can only switch attention back and forth quickly. I know that if I’m listening to music that means that I’m switching attention away from work. At the same time, that ability to switch attention quickly, and be interested and entertained by two different types of mental stimulation is a good measurement of my ability to function creatively.

I have not been listening to much music at work the last three weeks or so.

I’m sorry that I got busy just as an interesting conversation was starting. I’m very glad that Sean started commenting and hopefully he hasn’t wondered off by now.

I have been listening to some music, and have a number of topics that I would like to post about, and I’m hoping to get back to that. Talk to you all soon.

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