White Noise

Anyone else do this? Whenever I’m working on my novel, or blog posts, or reading a book, or whatever in a place that isn’t 100% silent, I have my headphones on. But instead of listening to music, I have white noise coming through the speakers. I’ve found it to be the only way I can focus.

If you don’t know, white noise is essentially static. There are types of white noise, all color themed (the generator I use has white, pink, brown and blue), but they are all slightly different forms of static. I don’t know much about it, but supposedly each color is used for different things. Some are better for relaxation and sleep, others are better for productivity.

I just use it to tune out the world.

I do much of my personal writing and reading on the train, which is a public place. It’s not always noisy, but I find that if conversations are happening around me, I tend to focus on them rather than what I’m working on. Using white noise doesn’t really silence the conversations, but rather turns them into a dull roar that has no specific design. I can still hear voices if I focus, but rarely can I hear clear words. Because of that, it is much easier to turn my attention to my work, and keep my focus for the entire train ride. I am much more productive this way.

I didn’t always need white noise—I started using it in college. At first, it was just leaving a fan on in my dorm room when I was sleeping. I was above the front desk, and the walls were quite thin, so the fan helped tune that stuff out. But then I got an iHome and a white noise app, and started using that instead for the same thing. I was able to sleep much more soundly.

Now, I use it in the office when certain tasks require my full attention, and on the train when writing and reading. Even at home, when I’m trying to read a book and someone is watching TV. It makes everything into misty, meaningless noise that is easy to tune out.

I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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