Your Workspace Can Be Fun

When repairing dangerous hardware, irrelevant pleasure and concentration can mix.

Not all hardware is dangerous, of course. It’s probably been a while since a desktop computer packing 10,000 volts even when unplugged was sold as new. You’ll check that the one you’re working on is safe, of course, before you do anything to it. More often, though, even if it’s safe for your body, static electricity through you could destroy some electronics inside, and then you may have to replace some parts, maybe for free.

So you’d think concentration is the best idea, and removing all distractions is the way to go. Which is true, but it’s more complicated than they taught you in grade school, when you were supposed to fold your hands in front of you. What else is a teacher to do when 30 or even 10 noisy students are in front? Can’t have music or TV or whatnot. Those are called distractions and turned off. Sounds good; a goldfish can concentrate longer than an average human does.

But now you’re grown up and you have good judgment. Nuanced judgment, and you can rely on your nuanced judgment. You understand consequences and you have a good idea about what to worry about and what not to worry about. You know how you work best. Maybe it’s with friends trading jokes. Maybe it’s with a TV drama, loud. Maybe this helps you concentrate on your assignment. Whatever. That’s you.

I like to work alone, have great music in the background, and take as much time as I might please.

I do not like to have a cheering squad. It’s annoying when someone cheers me while I’m trying not to electrocute myself. Likewise, children, pets, vermin, and, frankly, adults should be too far to interrupt you. Nothing’s like a pet leaping onto your DC circuitry or a coworker saying “boo” behind you just as you’re balancing a tiny screw on your fingertip.

You’ve got a job to do. People want results. Make your own best working conditions.