Great post, I can definitely relate to this. Seemingly innocuous situations like someone dropping by with a non-trivial question can be a challenge at times. If I haven't had a few minutes to think about it, I think my responses are lackluster. The added pressure of the other person staring at me and waiting for my reply doesn't help and causes anxiety. There is this feeling of needing to give a complete and correct answer. Deferring the conversation is difficult when the person is standing there and you feel the need to help that person.
If I receive a message with some background information, have time to skim over it and jot down some notes, then talking about it goes much smoother. I'm more confident in the information I'm providing and the other person gets a better response.
It can be difficult in the workplace because others may enjoy having casual, impromptu meetings. I'm more into getting my thoughts organized and being prepared for a meeting. I think everyone could benefit from preparing for meetings, even if they are extroverted and like to talk things out.
I have used work from home days to get a mental break from these types of situations. For me, it is more productive overall. It takes a little time to think and formulate my thoughts, but I think the outcome saves a lot of everyone's time. It also reduces the mental strain of having to jump between conversations, meetings, emails, and anything else that comes up. I'm able to understand and think about the problem before offering my thoughts. Since I'm more confident in my answer, I'm able to close the book on it in my head and not worry that I did not provide the right information.
You nailed it, that's exactly how I feel! Having just a bit of time to prepare can make such a huge difference to me. Otherwise, it's really a shot in the dark, I usually go "listen-only" mode in these situations.
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