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Shutting Off the Noise — Why Meditation is Good for Testing

Ever consider meditation as a method for shutting off the noise and improving concentration? Let me tell you why you should...

· Agile Zone

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I read an article explaining how meditation is a good tool for people who, just like me, have a hard time concentrating and completing things with all the distractions/noise/multitasking flying around us constantly.

At first, I was not thinking specifically about testing, but since I suffer from an overflow of tasks I start and then find difficulties completing, I thought about giving it a try.

After a quick search, I found a nice service called Headspace.  Without intending to do any advertisement for them, it is one of the many apps that teach you how to meditate using an app and, if you wish, a website.

So here I am today, after a couple of months of using this app regularly, and you know what?  It helped…

What’s more, I think that meditation actually helped me to test better during the last couple of weeks.

Can You Concentrate When People are Making Noise Next to You?

In my office, there is constant noise.Image title

There are always people walking around, discussions taking place just a couple of steps away, you can always hear someone on the phone, or music (of the kind that you don’t really like) in the background…  in short, we are really far away from the quiet library environment where you can hear a pin dropping to the floor.

Is your workspace similar to mine?

If it is, then you already know that as hard as you try to disconnect from the environment—by getting some nice headphones or trying to find a quiet meeting room—this is not always possible, and so you are left with the problem of not being able to concentrate to get your work done.

This can be even harder when you really need to concentrate to test a complex feature or perform a deep ET session.  And, of course, things get “even better” when you know that in the room next to you 5 people are waiting for you to tell them you are done, so they can deploy the fix you just tested to tens of thousands of people worldwide!

Finding Your Zone Quickly

I wrote a while ago about the importance of identifying and creating your testing zone.  In a nutshell, the concept of the testing zone, or of any zone for that matter, is a mental state that allows you to concentrate on the task you need to do.

What I found during these last couple of months is that meditating for 5-7 minutes before starting a complex testing task actually helps me reach my zone faster and in a more effective way, especially when there is so much noise around you that makes it really hard to do this.

What’s more interesting is that when I meditate before starting my testing tasks, I am able to navigate to the “interesting” parts of my application quickly and more effectively.  In a sense, it feels like when you are driving your car, and you realize that there is drizzle in the windshield, and you turn the wipers for the first time, and just then you realize that you are now able to see the road clearly…

Image title

That’s the feeling I am getting when doing meditating before my tests…  weird, no?

By the way, I realize you may feel strange and a little uncomfortable at first—Wait a second, isn’t meditation the stuff Buddhist priests do?—but, once you experience the benefits and you explain to others what you are doing, you will see that it is not a big deal (or a deal at all!)

What Works for You?

I am writing this blog to share my experience and encourage testers to try this out.  But, I also wanted to ask if any of you have other ways of getting into your zone and concentrating.

If you do, please share them in the comments of this post.

I am sure other testers will benefit from your experience as some will hopefully benefit from mine. 

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Published at DZone with permission of Joel Montvelisky, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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