Bring The Noise

It’s quiet around here today. Too quiet.

Since I work from home — a home that houses two young kids — the moments where things are quiet are few and far between. That’s why having some form of foundation for task management is a must. But fellow parents out there know that when the quiet is almost deafening, it’s tough to really concentrate. I know that my little guy is too quiet, I wonder what he’s up to. There are days when that feeling creeps into my workday as well, especially on the days when he’s in child care (Mondays and Fridays) and my daughter is at school.

That’s when I take steps to bring the noise back.

Sometimes opening a window just isn’t enough (although it can do the trick from time to time). So here are some other ways I break the silence and still move forward with my work.

1. Coffitivity

My friend Tris Hussey reminded me about Coffitivity(iOS – $1.99), which does something very unique: it simulates the ambient noise of public places (like a coffee shop) so that you “feel” as if you’re working away in such an environment.

The app has several environments to choose from, which don’t just focus on places but the time of day as well (Morning Murmur is one of my favourites).

If you want to bring this kind of noise with you wherever you go — even without Internet access — then give Coffitivity a look.

2. focus@will

What I like about focus@will is that it takes care of the music selection for me — and deals with instrumental tracks only. Better still, I like how you can set how long you want the music to play in the background.

Focus@Will offers tracking options as well, so if you’re a stats junkie you can take a look at your productivity and how the service has helped you out in that respect. There are monthly and yearly plans that cost less than a good cup of coffee per day. I use Focus@Will when I want to do a really deep dive into my writing, which is where the time tracking feature comes into play. I also like the Music Energy adjustments you can make, which works well alongside the contexts I use.

You can check out focus@will here, and take a look at the iOS app here.

3. Television

Yep, sometimes I have the TV on the background while I work. Some programs won’t work well for this kind of work — namely any show that requires a decent amount of attention — but things like sporting events do the trick nicely for me. I can have the chatter going on in the background and work away without having the noise take me away from the task at hand. Sometimes i’ll have it on while working in the next room, just to give me the sense that someone else is around watching something…even if it is Jake and The Neverland Pirates.

Silence is golden, but when you live (and work) in a home where quiet is a luxury rather than an absolute I find that having the ability to bring the noise when needed is valuable. The methods I mentioned above have been used many times over — and one was even used while I wrote this. So while silence might be golden, a little bit of noise now and again to break the silence is — at the very least — noteworthy.

Photo credit: michaelaw via SXC.HU