I’ve written previously about how I find riding a horse to be transcendental – it’s rare for me to think in a completely focused way about what I’m doing and to not have other things flowing through my mind. I’m usually terrible at keeping my mind on one thing for very long, but when I’m in the saddle, nothing can interrupt my focus. One of the reasons that my mind wanders is because I’m not getting enough saddle-time at the moment: it’s my literal happy place, so if I need perking up, it’s where my brain goes to think good thoughts.
Last week, I began working as an office temp for the first time. I’ve worked in several office environments, all of which have been very energetic. The current one is very much the opposite of everywhere else that I’ve worked – quiet and studious, and I’m finding it bizarre. I knew that, as a temp, I’d be given very basic admin duties, and I don’t mind this – any junior event manager will know what it’s like to stuff envelopes and delegate bags for days on end, or print badges multiple times and then have to set them all out on site – but the monotony of “easy” and repetitive tasks does mean my mind switches off and disappears to other places.
Here are some examples of what I’ve been thinking about as I complete my new duties:
- Assembling Christmas gift boxes for clients whilst on my placement year – my line manager thought it would take my colleague (who was another placement student – we lived together too) and me two or three days to finish doing this. We had them all done before lunchtime on the first day! We had spent the weekend apart and apparently we had a lot to catch up on – so much that it helped us zoom through the task far quicker than anticipated
- How much I should be willing to pay for my travel insurance this year, what I’d like the excess to be and which bits of the policy I should double check now that I have the benefit of experience (yeah, this was a less exciting train of thought)
- The time when I began working at Starbucks, went home saying I was bored of making lattes all day and my Dad suggested I make it into a game
I’ve thought through many other things, of course, but these are some of the more unusual ones, I think.
Over to you: how do you get through repetitive tasks when there’s no opportunity for conversation or background music? What do you think about in transcendental moments?