If you’re a busy person (I am) and have lots of work to do (I do) you may find yourself in a position where you need to concentrate and limit distractions in your surrounding environment.
Working in an agency where there’s often music playing, meetings happening in a corner and a constant coming and going of account managers, distractions can often become too much and productivity takes a dive. I’m all for a relaxed working environment, playing music and informal meetings but sometimes you just want to get your head down and push some code (or pixels, if that’s your preference).
In an effort to get back in the zone, I’ve tried a slightly odd technique and have started listening to “noise”. I’m not talking about some kind of modern music that the hipster kids are into, I mean static - like the sound of an untuned TV or radio station.
You may think I’m crazy but I’m not the first person to think about this and the benefits it might have. There have even been studies done on the effects of background white noise on memory performance in school children and how noise is beneficial for cognitive performance in ADHD, both with positive results.
I’ve not only found a huge improvement in concentration, I find myself feeling more relaxed as the distant drone allows your mind to be completely clear and just focus on the task at hand.
To achieve this super productive zen, I’ve been using an app called Simply Noise. They have a web version as well as an iPhone app. It has volume control, optional oscillation and a selection of noise spectrums: white, pink and brown - brown being my favourite as it’s a nice deep rumble that drowns out almost any external sounds. Combined with even a cheap pair of noise cancelling headphones you’re on to a winner.
If you need to concentrate at work or even if you just want to chill out and turn your brain off for a while, I can highly recommend listing to some noise - give it a go and see what you think.
If you hate email but still want to keep in touch, follow me on Twitter.