69 Love Songs and the working day

© 1999 Merge Records

As an extravert1 I find myself in situations at work where interactions with others dominate my day. Whether it’s meetings, asking people questions, answering other people’s questions or simply reading and sending emails, there’s always some interaction going on.

I really love that aspect of my job, which means it’s somewhat frustrating during those times when I have to sit down by myself and work alone, which do happen quite regularly.

When I have to work alone, I find that listening to music, especially music I know well, allows me to concentrate by providing a backdrop that goes some way towards replacing the interaction that drives me.

And this is where 69 Love Songs comes in. The 1999 classic by Stephen Merritt, aka The Magnetic Fields, is a collection of songs in every musical style imaginable and poking at every aspect of love and romance with an irony-shaped stick. If you’ve not heard it, give it a listen – I think there’s something there for everyone. Its relevance here, however, is that the album is almost three full hours long.

Three hours is a great length of time to set myself this simple challenge: Finish the album in one working day.

Those of you in roles like mine might find this surprisingly difficult – three hours is not even half a normal working day but the time escapes from you so fast during interactions you might find that 3 hours of uninterrupted solo work is actually quite a goal to achieve!

Any other extraverts reading my blog? Any tips for how you cope with work that demands solo attention?

  1. Carl Jung’s definition of this word, meaning “someone who is recharged by interactions with others” []


  1. Laura Topping
    Jul 31, 2011

    Interesting thoughts. I think I’m in the middle of introversion and extraversion, which can be very confusing. In a customer facing job, I get a lot of interaction which I mostly enjoy, but also enjoy when I’m on a back office stint getting work done (generally in a three hour slot). I’m always quite impressed that people can listen to music with words in while working though. I like working to classical music, or anything without lyrics, but find that any words in a piece compete with the thoughts in my head to utter confusion.

  2. Vincent Lamberts
    Jul 31, 2011

    You should come to work in our Buckingham office, we will ensure that we always ask you lots of questions plus we have the radio on for when we are a bit quiet – it plays CDs too, so feel free to bring your music 😉

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