Where Logic Meets Love

Finding the Perfect Background Noise for Working

Friday, April 19, 2013

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Finding the Perfect Background Noise for Working | Faith Permeating Life

It's Friday, this is going up late, and the last couple posts have been pretty heavy. So let's just go with a fun productivity tip to end the week. Something to add to the collection of 10 free things I use every day and 5 more free things.

Lately I've been spending a lot of time in our apartment working on various projects on my computer. It can get very quiet and lonely, particularly if Mike's off at meetings or other activities for most of the day. And that can make it more difficult to work sometimes.

Occasionally, I'll go sit out in our residence hall lobby, where I feel more part of the hustle and bustle of the students' day. But the downside to that is that people stop to talk to me and interrupt what I'm working on. So I mostly work in our apartment.

Sometimes I play music to avoid the silence, but the wrong music can be more distracting than silence. Anything with words makes it difficult to focus on something I'm reading, particularly if it's a song I know. Listening to a classical station doesn't always give me the kind of energy I need.

Just in the past week or so, I finally found a solution -- the perfect background noise for me to work.


It's Coffitivity plus the Relaxation station on Pandora.

I was introduced to Coffitivity by a recent post on Smart Pretty and Awkward. As it explains on the site, there's actually research showing that the most productivity happens in a workspace that isn't silent and isn't too loud or distracting. This is why many people like working at a coffee shop. But rather than having to travel to a coffee shop to get the ambience, you can just turn on Coffitivity and get the background noise of a coffee shop while you work.

Coffitivity is intended to play alongside your own music -- you can hear both simultaneously, and they suggest keeping your music one notch above the coffee shop noise. (You can adjust the volume using the slider at the top of the page.) Already having the energetic hustle and bustle I needed from the coffee shop sounds, I layered a gentle music station over top of it. It's an easy listening station like one that might be playing in a coffee shop anyway.

I've found that this combination makes it much easier for me to focus and work without getting distracted by my own thoughts.

What background noise and environment do you find easiest to work in?

Note: I have no connection to Coffitivity or Pandora. I just think they're awesome.


  1. That's a hilarious concept. I guess if it works. I usually have plenty of background noise supplied, so I have never had to hunt for more. The optimum, I suspect, is the sound that reassures you there are other people around, but not something that you need to attend to.

    1. Yes, I think that's exactly it. I don't like feeling alone all day, but I also don't want to be interrupted or distracted.

  2. I must be a statistical anomaly, because I can't get anything done in a coffee shop! I am most productive either with near-total silence or with music, especially hypnotic sounding concept albums, which can put me in a flow state.

    1. That's interesting! That's good that you've figured out what works best for you.

  3. when I knit, I need to have some sort of background ambience or noise. its just a comfort thing. But the mixture of the Coffitivity site and the relaxation station on pandora is just PERFECT. it really sets the mood.

    1. I'm so glad you found this suggestion useful!


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