I’m a reasonably competent computer user. I can’t do anything fancy, but I’ve got the basics down pat. And I’ve built up my folder (and sub-folder and sub-sub-folder and sub-sub-sub-folder) structure in a very logical manner that allows me to find any given document in a matter of seconds.
I can even type somewhat rapidly and decently.
However, the second someone starts watching over my shoulder, I fall apart. I click on the wrong folders, I highlight the wrong pieces of text, and if I have to type with someone watching me, it starstt lookng like this wich is really very embarrasiogmn becase likes I sadis I’m usoelaly nots thtbad.
(I was the same way in the lab; I could pipette and perform other techniques as well as anyone, rarely making mistakes or losing track of which tubes had already been processed and which were still waiting for the next reagent. However, as soon as I had to train someone in a given technique, it all just went horribly, horribly wrong).
When people come to my desk to ask for something*, I often ask them if I can just email them the required info or document once I’ve found it. However, too often for my liking the reply is “oh, this won’t take a minute” and the person then stands there watching me flail about like an eejit.
A PLAGUE OF CRICKED NECKS upon people who watch me work over my shoulder!
*another context-dependent pet peeve, depending on the person, the nature of the request, and what task I’m engaged in at the time. There are some people I’m always happy to see, and times when any interruption is a good interruption. And of course some issues can be resolved in either 32 rounds of email OR a five-minute conversation. However, if I’m in the middle of something urgent and/or complicated, and especially if I need to be in the writing “zone”, the interruptions can really impede my progress; I truly believe the studies that found that it can take 6-20 minutes to recover your focus after each interruption. Many of the people who come by seem to assume that their issue must automatically take priority over whatever I was doing before they arrived, and very few people ask if this is a good time or if they should come back later. I’ve even had people come to my desk, say “hey, I need to show you this document on my computer” and then just walk away, leaving me little choice (if they’re a PI) but to immediately leave my desk to follow them. If it was just one person every once in a while, it would be OK, but sometimes it’s two or three per hour. GAAH! I need an office with a door, or maybe just somewhere else to escape to when I’m in the middle of something complicated or urgent. A PLAGUE OF COITUS INTERRUPTUS on these people!