Sounds easy to me: How the right (white) noise could improve focus
Are you someone who thrives working in a buzzing cafe full of life and activity? Or do you have noise cancelling headphones on right now as you read this?
It seems that noise, sounds and music preferences whilst working, go from zero (absolute silence) to really loud, and everywhere in between.
Let’s explore white noise specifically.
Beyond the static
White noise goes beyond the television static that so many of us associate it with. It’s called ‘white noise’ as it’s the auditory equivalent of ‘white light’, which contains equal intensities of all kinds of lights. White noise is a combination of sounds from every frequency on the acoustic spectrum. What does this mean? When you hear white noise, you’re actually listening to roughly 20,000 different tones of sounds, all at the exact same time. Wow.
A simple way to think about it- When you’re at a social gathering and there are a few different people talking, you can easily tell the voices apart. Now imagine you’re at a concert, there’s the loud music as well as hundreds of conversations in the background, it’ll be impossible to distinguish the different voices.
Drown out the distractions
One way in which white noise could improve your focus is by eliminating other noise distractions. If you’ve been working remotely like me for some time, I’m sure you’ve perfected this. Whether it’s your neighbour mowing the law (again Bob, this is the 2nd time this month?!), constant roadworks, or just people walking past on their phones — white noise could prevent your flow from being interrupted. You can access soundscapes, as well as mix and match your own soundscape via Shhh Noise.
Volume is important!
A study conducted by researchers at University of Illinois observed people working in different noise levels. They found that the best performance was among those listening to 70dB (loud as a washing machine or dishwasher) of noise — just enough to help drown out other noise distractions, but not too loud to be overwhelming.
Relax. Revive. Reset.
We all know that poor quality/not enough sleep can negatively impact our focus. As someone who needs to be creative in their role, let me tell you, when you feel exhausted, it’s tough to come up with funny llama puns!
Listening to white noise can help you to relax, and promote better sleep. My toddler and 6 months old are testament to this.
Each to their own
Saying all this, sound, like all other aspects of experiential qualities of your working space (think temperature, lighting, colours) is quite personal. We all have our preferences.
The important thing is to ensure your working space at home is set up to encourage your focus and productivity. If your working arrangement is hybrid, or at the office, talk to the relevant person about ensuring conditions are set to encourage flow.
Once you have figured out your sound preferences, and are ready to work through your to-do list, a tool that will help you have calm, focussed productivity is Llama Life. Give it a go!