Saturday, July 04, 2009

Office Pet Peeve

I’ve written before about my office. Most of the time I just mention it in various posts. I actually did one post about its movability.

Today, I thought I’d bring up something my office needs. It needs sound proofing.

Now you may be thinking that I want it sound proofed so no one in the house or outside can hear me screaming. You’d be wrong. The neighbors are used to my angst at characters who won’t do what I tell them or bits of research that cannot be tracked down.

No, I want it sound proofed so I cannot hear my husband on the phone upstairs in his office (the loft). And yesterday, since it was a holiday for him, so I could block out the movie he was watching. He wants the full experience with surround sound that vibrates the paintings and can’t be blocked with mere walls, closed doors, and headphones. And it would be pointless to yell for him to turn the TV down. He wouldn’t hear me - or the neighbors yelling in agreement with me.

I can’t concentrate even when there are fairly quiet sounds just at the edge of my hearing, not even my own music. I end up singing along. Certainly not when there’s a war movie raging in the living room.

That’s my office pet peeve. Now that it’s off my chest…What’s yours? And, also, have a wonderfully loud Independence Day!
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  1. My office pet peeve used to be my own inability to not be distracted by emails coming in and my propensity for over-blogging all day. I solved that by taking internet out of the house. We have a wonderful library less than a mile away and also wifi coffee shops close by, so I compartmentalize my days now with a two or three internet sessions dispersed throughout and when I'm home working on my WIP's and/or editing, I can really focus. Works for me.

    Have a GREAT 4th, Helen! :)

    The Old Silly

  2. Marvin, you are a genius. Truly. I am going to try to follow your example, at least for one day. See if I can do it.

  3. Since my office is in a space with no walls- my pet peeve- wall-less-ness. First big royalty cheque I will be building an office.

  4. I want to hear about the plans for your office, Lauri. Wouldn't it be awesome to design your own office? Billy Porterfield and I were served on a board together and one time I was at his hilltop house. His office is detached from the house and I didn't go in it, but he was telling me he has a coffin in it. I would have loved to see that office. We were on a tight schedule, though.

  5. Iunderstand about the noise distraction. My husband took off Thursday as well, but fortunately, noise doesn't bother me.

    It's the constant distraction of getting up out of my seat. The cats need food. I gotta go to the bathroom. The washing machine stopped. Phone book is in the other room. Wait, so is my cell phone. Now I'm hungry. Gotta go again - too much coffee & water...
    You get the idea. I'd like time to just sit without somebody needing something, myself included!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  6. My pet peeve is not enough space. I have a perfectly good office upstairs, but it is too hot to work up there. There is a wonderful room downstairs that would make a great office, but my hubby's pool table from childhood home resides there and discussion about its demise is off the table.
    So I write on a recliner in my living room, with my laptop on my desk pillow and a small end table as my "desk." It works, though.
    Karen Walker

  7. I hear you, Diane. Bathroom, washing machine, phone ringing, coffee machine, FedEx ringing the doorbell, it goes on and on.

    Karen, does the pool table get used a lot? If not, have you thought about having a board cut to fit over the top, then you could use it to lay out pages or stacks of research or whatever. Yet it's easily taken down if company comes over. Then put your desk in a corner.

    We used to keep our pool table in its own room (back when we had a bigger house), then it got moved out to the garage. Now it's been disassembled and is in storage.

  8. I have a wonderful office! It's an open space in our downstairs living area, but I like that. The room upstairs where husband watches TV is over the garage and has a closing door. The one thing I don't like is the cold draft from the window in the winter. I love the wide view of my backyard, I just need to replace the old window with a new thermal-insulated one.

  9. My pet peeve is that the other half of my office is my kids' rec room. They're not ever in it when I'm writing, but they love to come down and tear the place up while I'm not in there. They're not allowed into my corner, but the rest of the room looks like a war zone, and I'm always compelled to clean it before I get to work.

    I should add that I got extremely lucky as a kid and went to a school that decided to experiment with pod learning -- all the classrooms of each grade are in a big, open pod. One of the benefits of pod learning, supposedly, is that kids have to learn to block out distractions from the other classrooms in order to concentrate on what's going on in their own classroom. For me, it worked. I can block out any noise or distraction. But, boy can I understand how it's tough to concentrate when there's a war raging in the other room and shaking the whole house.

  10. Helen I'm making an office just at the back of our house at the end of the back verandah. I can't make up my mind if I should put a bathroom in there or not. I thought perhaps it could act as a guesthouse too. But then maybe I shouldn't encourage that. Anyway, some will depend on the size of cheques next year. I want lots of built in shelves- that I long decided. I'm looking forward to it. :)

  11. Sharing my writing desk and office with our business, with phones ringing all day long, can be a real pain. I wish for a padded computer cell. :)


  12. I also need quiet to write, and my office is across the hall from my husband's hobby room (ham radio, TV, computer). Luckily, he gets out of the house to play bridge at least three times a week. And our Northern Colorado Writers has a studio with a quiet writing room...and there's the library. But in public places like the coffee shop, I end up people-watching instead of writing.

  13. My office pet peeve is, unfortunately, more of a personality problem than office problem. I hate my wireless internet because I can't ignore the lure of the web. Bleh.

    I have wireless because I need to have access to the internet for others, not just me. Otherwise I'd be happy with a dsl cable that I have to drag the computer to in order to get online. Worked for me for years.

    other than that, it's just a lack of enough shelving for books. I have them three deep on shelves because there aren't enough.

  14. L.J., I have a view of the front yard. It's wonderful to look out at the trees, deer, rabbits, squirrels, etc.

    Jennifer, they were doing that open pod thing when my kids were very young. Maybe if it had been popular when I was young, I'd be better able to block outside distraction!

    Shelves for books, Lauri and writtenwyrdd, are a must! Mine are in the closet. And I need more.

    Lauri, I understand your hesitance about the bathroom. When we have guests, I have to give up my office. It's a pain, but that's the way it is.

    Patricia, I tried once or twice to work at a coffee shop, but like you I began to watch people around me. (That old too-easily-distracted then I have!)

    Writtenwyrdd, we have dsl wireless. That works for us so we can be in different rooms and working. If we could get cable, we'd hook up just because it would be faster. Sometimes dsl is soooo slow.

  15. My dsl is almost as slow as dial up was when hardly anyone had that. Everything sucks bandwidth and everything uses applets or huge files. Bleh.

  16. I hear you. We searched to find a wireless provider in our area, but none seem serve us. We're pretty well stuck in the dsl rut.

  17. I know how hard it can be to concentrate when there's a lot of loud noises. Could he wear headphones with the TV? That's what my husband does.

    Like Marvin, I like to write on the go, too! :)

  18. Good idea, Elizabeth. I'll have to check that - and see if headphones would stretch to the couch.

  19. Sounds from movies, music and TV don't bother me. I have trouble writing in total quiet and usually have a movie or music playing in the background in my office. My problem is my family wants to visit me. My husband feels he has to walk through and say hello every hour or so, my children check up on me. I love that one on one alone time with them, but...
    And then their teenage friends come by and I end up with five or six teenage boys in my office looking over my shoulder. I guess I need a door lock.

  20. You made me laugh, Susan. Sounds like you're the victim of too much love.

  21. Someone suggested headphones for your hubby. How about noise canceling headphones for you? The kind you find advertised in the airline mags, like Boze.

    My peeve is sharing office space with the washer and dryer in a lower corner of the house that's wonderful in summer and freezing in winter. I keep fantasizing about redos. The last one was four years ago. About time again...

    Here's an idea -- a H&G network program that does office redos for writers. I want to be the first!

  22. If I were you, Ritergal, I'd dry lots of clothes in the winter. The noise canceling headphones are probably a better idea. I'd be more likely to wear those than to get him to wear the others.

    Alright. Since it's your idea, I'll let you go first on the H&G program. But I'm second!!!

  23. My pet's going to the movies and being dragged out of the moment by people withing eyeshot popping open their phones and texting to othere. Grrrrr!

  24. Hi, Helen. It's been a while since I checked in and now I have nine Helen Ginger posts in my RSS reader to catch up on. I'm behind on being behind!

    My office is our third floor bedroom. Third floor bedrooms get nasty hot in the summer time. I suppose the heat up here is my office pet peeve.

    I've considered moving the office to the basement, but our basement is more of a dungeon than a basement. Not an ideal working environment either.

    Hope you had a great Fourth!

  25. Not being able to pick the people I share it with!
    People who lean files on your desk while they look through them or stand having conversations with other people while leaning on your desk, WHEN YOU ARE SITTING RIGHT THERE TRYING TO WORK! ack. As for work generally, don't get me started on the lack of senior management to stand by a decision. Grrrr

  26. Boy I can sure relate, especially as my office is now the living room couch in the midst of an 800 sq foot apt. I've learned to block most external noise because of this, buuut I do have one peeve.

    I could be on the computer for ten minutes or three hours doing whatever, no problem. But let me dare to pop open my latest manuscript and try to get in "The Writing Zone,"and my spouse will choose this precise moment to appear out of thin air, plop down beside me, and start talking. This is why much of my work now gets done late at night when everyone is asleep!


  27. Alan, were you at the movies when you sent in that comment?

    Good gracious, Jon, you get your daily exercise just going to and from your office every day.

    Hagelrat... breathe, in .... out... in. Have you thought about outlining your desk with objects so they can't lean against it?

    Lisa, you need a portable cubicle. A divider that can be opened when you're working on your book. Open it, expand it around the couch and voila, your office is closed to visitors.


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