There is so much noise these days.
It’s everywhere. Visual and audio noise is pervasive, invasive and omnipresent. It’s hard to get a moment of real quiet. Ears and eyes are constantly bombarded.
Having a quiet space to work is important for a few reasons.
- It makes it easier to concentrate: That ALWAYS makes it easier to work.
- It can help you stay organized: When there’s not so much stuff stacked up and so much swirling around, it’s hard to keep things in order
- It will slow you down: Your brain will relax a little when there’s less of a garble. That will help everything.
- It will keep you level-headed: A calm worker is a good worker. A calm customer service agent is a good customer service agent.
Peace and quiet is hard to find, but there are ways to do it.
- Clean up your desk: Simple, but not done nearly enough. And REALLY clean it up. Sort and throw away things you don’t need. Put things in a drawer or cabinet that you don’t use daily.
- Get rid of the knick-knacks and the tchotchkes: I’m a collector (toys – go figure) and I like to have a bunch of stuff out to play with and distract myself with, but I’ve forced myself to get rid of a good amount of stuff just to simplify and quiet my office. And really – do you need 75 pictures of your kids (or dog or car)?
- Turn off the radio/TV/iPod/stereo: Simple, but hard to do. Make it really quiet for a while
- Turn off extraneous computer gear: Hard drives and other little things make noise. Not much, really, but if you have enough going, it can add up.
- Take down posters or art that you don’t need: You don’t have to have a drab office, but you do need simplicity and calm – and too much is just too much.
- Buy some noise-canceling headphones: Man – this might be the best $50 I’ve ever spent. These beauties cancel out the minor noises that go on. They don’t muffle the phone or make it totally silent, but they drown out the little whirrs and whistles and whines and wooshes that seem to be everywhere. Very nice! You can listen to music or just turn them on for a little silence. I’ve got the big Maxell deals that go over my ears, but there are a million models out there – do a little research and you’ll find some that could work for you.
There are so many ways to find silence – and I encourage you to try a simple exercise: find 5 minutes of silence every hour. Set up iCal (or whatever) to notify you on the hour to take a 5 minute noise break. Turn off the music, shut off what you can and just sit in silence.
First, you’ll probably find it very hard to do, and you’ll really notice how much noise there really is.
Second, you’ll find that it helps EVERYTHING you do. Taking a break is good, and you need to do that, too – but try a noise break.
Those of you with children might find it a little harder. I know I do.
All right – the noise of my clicking keyboard is making me realize I need a noise break. Oh, and I need to clean my desk. Oh, and that poster of guitar chords needs to come down. Oh, and my miniature Stanley Cup needs to be taken off my desk. Oh, and I need to cut the radio off.
Man – it’s noisy in here…