talking to myself while gettin’ it done

Posted: January 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

It was pretty quiet in the YMCA, so I was taking advantage of the lull.  I had pulled out some files and was working to reconcile a membership roster.  Suddenly, the director from two offices over was standing at my desk, chuckling.  “Are you talking to yourself?” he grinned with a good-natured tease.

“Only all the time,” I smiled.

That conversation has been played out many times in my life with many coworkers or bosses at a number of jobs.  I talk to myself all day long while I work, and the more intense the work gets, the more it happens.

I thought of that yesterday at work, as I spent the day finishing up a masterful spreadsheet that I’d been building for literally days.  I worked as hard as I could, as fast as I could all day on it.  By the time it was completed at after-quitting-time, I flounced into the CFO’s office and announced that the heavens should really break forth into song in response to what I’d created – “It’s a freakin’ work of art!” And he good naturedly obliged me with applause and cheering.  I told G this morning that if I’d wanted to collect all that information back in the days of hand ledgers, it might have been a full month of work on its own.  It’s a beautiful thing.

I realized that my current boss pretty much never calls me on talking to myself.  I don’t remember if he ever did, but if so, by now he is apparently used to Karen Who Talks to Herself.  Some people like to joke that you’re only crazy if you answer yourself – but folks, I DO answer myself, so there’s that.  Judge it as you may.

I just don’t know how people do focused mental work without tracking aloud.  I’d be in trouble if I were asked to knock it off with the constant mutter and comment.  There’s the business of processing my impatience – I think I ask my computer hundreds of times every week to, “Work with me here!” or ask it incredulously, “Are you serious?” or “Really?!”  It’s actually an excellent machine, but when I’m in gettin-it-done mode nothing less than seamless work without hesitation meets my standard.  When I’ve worked on less amazing machines in the past, I have been known to threaten aloud to hit them with a hammer.  Maybe it neither fixes nor motivates the computer, but it does release a bit of my tension.  I think of how my dad used to mutter and swear while working on cars or tractors in the driveway, and I reckon I’m just a daintier version of him.

Also, I have to work to cheerlead myself.  Yesterday very late in the day, after I had thought the spreadsheet was complete, I realized I’d left out one crucial column of information that couldn’t be entered with neat computer Jedi tricks.  The only option for fixing it was to go collect it in a totally separate and non-transferable process, and then manually enter what I’d found, line by line with a combination of much typing and a bit of copy/pasting, across a whole lotta pages.  There was forehead slapping and groaning and then telling myself (aloud) that I can totally do this, it’s absolutely possible – it was the biggest pep talk I’ve had to give myself on this particular project.

A whole lot of my aloud-talking is just rehearsing formulas or processes aloud, to keep my brain from dropping them.  I seem to have stuffed my brain to capacity some days – it feels like when I add a new process in, it just keeps falling back out.  So I will rehearse over and over, aloud, as I work.

Also, I laugh.  A lot.  Alone at my desk.  I am just always noticing stuff that cracks me up.  If I were my boss, that part would drive me the craziest, when it comes to working next door to me.

I wonder how my boss gets any work done at all with me out there carrying on.  He’s unendingly patient about it.  Yesterday I had talked so much that I planned to go in and just apologize…but then he left while I was still talking my way through a process.

Do you talk to yourself while you work?  Does it bother others around you?  Are you self-conscious about it, or is it just a thing like it is for me?

  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    I don’t talk, out loud, to myself much. I do love to pray out loud. It keeps me on task and focused. Keeping it all in my head and straight is difficult. Maybe I need to try speaking out loud. It might be a stress reliever!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s