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Any typical day is full of distractions. Sometimes we manage to ignore them, but more often than not, we tend to get pulled away from what we are meant to be doing, get frustrated or just subject to the temptation and keep procrastinating.

What if you have something very important to do, with no delay, and you just can’t get rid of the distractions?

The answer is simple enough: you need to do your work in spite of the surrounding.

So how do you do it?

When I was a teenager, I used to study or read in absolute silence. Then came the university days, living in a dorm, with people entering and leaving rooms as they please, roommates who decide to have 5 people over every day, parties on every floor which always escalated with fisting walls, throwing bottles from balconies, a disco in the neighboring block with music vibrating within a distance of 200 meters or people having sex just an inch from your bed, separated by a thin wall layer.

Understandably, we are all flexible beings and adapt to given conditions. Soon enough, I was able to study at 3 a.m. after a hard day at work, with people shouting upstairs. Considering my exhaustion, I had no problem falling asleep while a party was going on next door.

The same applies to any work environment (be it an office or at home). Assume there are 20 people talking on the phone at the same time, while your job is to come up with a new creative content for the company’s newsletter – today.

First, work out the ideas in your head and settle for what appears to you the best. Then, look straight ahead into an outside view and focus on something that will grab your instant attention. It can be an opposite building, a bird, a parking lot, a person; in other words anything at all. While and if you’re really concentrating on the spot, you’ll gradually and unconsciously volume down the voices in your immediate surrounding. When that happens, switch back to your idea and brainstorm on it until you get a clue of how to start about it. Then go back to your computer and give it a start.

After a while, if you notice that you’re losing your focus again, you can repeat the process or maybe it’s only a sign that you need a break.

Practice does wonders and soon enough you may excel in working in a loud environment or end up missing the noise, like I sometimes do.

My colleagues always wonder how I never hear them when they ask me a questi

Photo Credit: Nick Dillon

on or call my name and I keep explaining them that my brain is completely shut down from the external world.

I have to warn you though: you may miss on some juicy gossip or funny jokes, but hey that’s the price you may need to pay.

What about you? How do you do it? Any tricks you’re using? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “How to Cope with Noise at a Workplace?

  1. What works for me is knowing when is the best time to do things. Matching my energy level for the tasks at hand. I know I’m much better at certain times of the day for certain tasks. For example, I know I’m best at thinking after my second cup of coffee around 10:00-10:30. I’m basically in autopilot until that point in the morning, which is the perfect time to do the mundane tasks that don’t require much thought.

    • It’s a good strategy to listen to what your body is telling you. Though sometimes you’re forced to produce something in a period when your energy is very low and this is when the problem arises. With lots of hard work and practice I think you can get into habit of making your mind work in the way you direct it to. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jim and I’ll try not to tweet and disturb you after 10:30 in the morning. 🙂

      • haha 🙂 I think some days my mind doesn’t get working at all no matter what time. Those are the really challenging days b/c you feel like you are fighting your body constantly..and your body usually wins.

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