The Strategist

Why everyone needs a quiet place to work

10/19/2018 - 15:12

Silence. We have already forgotten what this word means. There are constant calls and requests in the office, and notifications and TV noise - at home. Stop! Silence is a source of productivity and fresh ideas, says Manoush Zomorodi in her book “Bored and Brilliant”.

“When I thought about my “deepest” work, I clearly discovered that writing - whether it is a weekly podcast script, a conversation, a journalistic article or this book - is the work that requires maximum concentration from me. The instant response to an email or a post on Twitter is quickly erased from memory, but what is born of a deep work of thought travels further and lives its own life. And sometimes it can change someone's fate. But I know that I would never have been able to do this “deep work” in the office or at home, surrounded by chatty colleagues or with dirty dishes in the kitchen. I need discipline and silence. I felt rather uncomfortable until I found Brooklyn Writers Space in Brooklyn, where there is no place for talking and phone calls. Climbing the stairs, you find yourself in a small kitchen area where you can munch something delicious and dine heartily. But behind the next door is the holy of holies: the abode of creativity, where silence is broken only by a slight tap of the keys of laptops. No snacks are allowed here (so you will not hear any champing or rustling of the wrappers). If your mobile phone rings, you quickly and quietly sneak out the door... and do not even think about starting a conversation before you leave the room! I always thought that this place was intended only for writers, authors of masterpieces who carry readers to other worlds full of passions.

But now I understand that each of us has our own “quiet job”.

If you don’t have it related to writing, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need free space to make a mental journey and fashion everything your mind wants, be it a spreadsheet, corporate report or computer code, using your most vibrant abilities. Give me four hours in a quiet workroom only twice a month - and you will get a result that surpasses all my previous office achievements!”

How to create your own harbor of silence

Of course, not everyone can get away from office noise in a quiet place. But you can create a comfortable working environment even in your workplace.

Step 1. Decide for yourself how much time you need to work in silence. Half a day? Hour? Twenty minutes? It all depends on you. If the boss does not agree to let you go out of the office for an hour or 20 minutes, suggest starting the work day earlier, while no one is there.

Step 2. Warn everyone that you should not be distracted at this time. You can come up with funny notification texts (by the way, they will save you from invasions during the rest of your work time): “More personal time, less Facebook. Call me if there’s no way without me.”

Step 3. Set up the voicemail. "Hello! Now focused on the project, but I plan to check email today at 16:00. If something urgent, contact me in the old-fashioned way: call by phone.” “I am preparing the next generation to seize the world!” “I have a digital break, I want to be with my family.” and so on.

Step 4. Regularity is the key to productivity. Work in silence for at least 20 minutes every day, and new ideas will be coming to you much more often.

The modern world is full of noises. Let yourself rest!

based on “Bored and Brilliant” by Manoush Zomorodi