Hey, I’m busy right now

c.e.: I'm one of the worst people in our office for walking into someone elses office "for a word".

I have a smallish office, office, longer than it it wide, at an L-shaped desk that almost slices the office in half. I like the small office for its tendency to discourage the impromtu brain-storming sessions I used to enjoy in my old office, which also served to ensure I never got anything done.

I sit diagonally to the office shape, my monitors in the turn of my desk, with their backs to the nearest wall. To my rear-left is a large window, to my forward-right the door.

A lot of the programming work I do is maintenance and debugging, which means that I generally don't type as much as a programmer who's "implementing". And because I'm working with a host cluster *and* a client application, I'm typically working on two monitors and 6 separate process windows at a time.

It used to be really difficult getting a good stretch of concentration here, there was always someone wandering into my office and misjudging my posture, expression or keyboard activity. "I don't mean to interrupt" can be such a head-job.

These days its me making the misjudgement, in that when Ramp or Martini wanders in to ask me questions, I'll sort of set a mental break point, but unless I get up and walk away from my desk, I find myself only dropping one of the things I'm working on.

And I'm not talking about destroyed concentration here, I'm talking about when I'm running some kind of low-priority QA test or testing out a feature or a fix that's not officially on the schedule and I don't think I'm putting my back into it. "Yup, I'm not busy right now" moments.

It's very surreal – I think I stopped what I was doing, I'm listening to what Doc, Gophur or whomever is saying. So, uh, what am I typing?

I've always had jobs that needed an awful lot of multi-tasking and mental bookmarking. I wonder if after all this time, quietly and without my realizing it, I've trained myself to automatically fork() mental processes off…