When Noise = Focus

I’ve been wanting to visit a coffee shop lately, but not for the obvious reason.

I’ve had a home office for almost two years now, and some days are easier than others. Here’s why:

There’s a house over the road with a few dogs inside. They seem more territorial than most—usually woofing at any person or dog walking past.

One of those dogs had a litter of pups recently. Whenever it’s not raining, the family move them outside. And while the pups are outside, they’re in a cage—probably so they can’t run off.

The problem is, the pups whine every now and again. Maybe I would too, if I was caged up. It makes concentrating on work pretty difficult. 

Between the cars driving by, the grown dogs woofing at passers by and the whining pups… It can get a little noisy around here.

So it can be tough to concentrate when the weather is good. Writing this just now was tricky. I think the problem here is that the noise is sporadic. 

If there was more of it, it might be (ironically) less distracting.

The people at Starbucks know about this. Walk into one, and there’s a strong chance you’ll find plugs to charge your phone or laptop with. And they’ll not hassle you to buy another drink soon after you’ve finished.

It’s a place of productivity—somewhere to go to get stuff done. And it works for me. If I concentrate on work in a busy coffee shop I get loads done.

Instead of the noise grabbing my attention, it seems to blend together. It becomes white noise, rather than a distraction.

I think tomorrow I’ll nip down to the local coffee shop and see if that helps. If it rains, maybe I’ll put some ambient music on instead. Either should help!

 


Quote Of The Moment:

To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.

From: Deep Work by Cal Newport


 
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