Headphone Mode = Do not Disturb

Peach Squared
Sep 25, 2017 · 2 min read

In Madrid, we office out of La Fabrica de Cajas, a small co-working spot in Malasaña (check it out when you happen to be in town). We couldn’t be happier, it’s tiny (only 9 desks) and the co-workers are here for years — no short-term drop-ins. We get to socialise, grab coffees or cañas after work and have built great relationships, similar to a real office.

But what about those times when you need to focus? We go into headphone mode, usually that includes connecting to Soundcloud or Spotify but regardless: If a co-worker has their headphones on it means DnD — Do not Disturb.

Especially for developers and designers getting interrupted is a huge pain. Velocity dramatically reduces the more interruptions occur. Even for us consultants it’s an issue (although we tend to be the culprits and cause interruptions).

Here are our co-office rules:-

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Noise cancelling headphones are a must in today’s office

Headphones on = Do not Disturb

It’s never that urgent, if it is, just raise a hand to let someone know you would like to discuss something with them but not immediately: When they are ready

Coffee / Water breaks are great to discuss whatever, it can wait until then

Human interaction is key to get things done but human distraction is a problem and needs addressing.

Most distractions are auto-distractions: It’s down to you to turn on Airplane Mode, expanding an app into fullscreen etc:-

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Author of this article using Bear in Fullscreen Mode

The external distractions and interruptions are out of your control, as a co-worker just play nicely as you would appreciate other co-workers to do the same to you.


This article is part of “Get Rid of Distractions” series: Distractions are the productivity killer. Think about reducing distractions to be more productive.

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