Noise on the Line

Noise on the line. These words reverberate in my ears and have become a personal mantra that means something to me.

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Line noise is a term used to describe spurious signals that disrupt line connections. Noise on the line is the phrase I use to check-in with myself to see where my focus is and to find what might be causing disruptions to my attention.

On a recent test project, we encountered electromagnetic noise that caused a disruption to the system under test. It was an interesting experience. And that same week I encountered a demanding combination of events that caused disruption to my own signal strength. I coined the phrase noise on the line in my head and I’ve been using it for months.

There are distractions within me and distractions outside of me. This is it, real life. Sometimes out of balance. Sometimes life comes rolling in with good things and sometimes difficult things. Compartmentalizing compelling distractions isn’t easy.

So here’s the professional question: how do you reign in your focus when sometimes the rest of your life is in chaos – whether that chaos is good or bad.

Discipline is one way. I’ll take my distractions and put what I can on hold and focus. And when that focus session is done, I allow myself time to chill.

Commitment. Knowing I owe my clients the best of me is another way I snap my attention back into line. Knowing my team needs me is another aspect of discipline.

Studying Buddhism and learning about the value of being mindful is another form of assistance that’s helped me. Am I where I am? Or am I truly somewhere else despite my physical location?

Another solution is get soaked into work; I find a compelling aspect of the task at hand and look to find a way to divert and refocus. I find a piece of work that grabs my attention and pulls me back in. I can hyperfocus.

Software testing is the type of work that requires mental engagement so when there’s noise on the line; those distractions have to be cleared.

Do you know where your attention is? Can you clear the noise on the line?

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