June 8, 2015 9:15 am

Improve your productivity with sound

A recent study claims that listening to chirping birds or crashing ocean waves isn’t just relaxing–soothing sounds can boost your productivity at work.

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“[N]atural sounds … meet standards and criteria for speech privacy while enhancing cognitive functioning, optimizing the ability to concentrate, and increasing overall worker satisfaction,” stated the authors of the recent report from the journal, Acoustical Society of America.

I agree–the sounds of clacking keyboards, ringing phones, and loud co-workers can bring an office alive but can also make it difficult to concentrate. The sound of people’s laughter, for example, distracts me greatly.

Here’s a novel idea: Instead of asking your office mates to work quietly (or shooting them a stern look), use your Lumia to create a distraction-free work zone.

Here are some useful Windows Phone apps and tips to help you tune out the noise and improve your concentration at work.

Relax Melodies (free)

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A heavenly way to soothe your frayed nerves, Relax Melodies features 41 high-quality natural ambient sounds and two binaural beat frequencies. Mix your own sounds or select from pre-set favorites to calm your nerves after a difficult meeting. The app also lets you adjust the volume and save your favorite creations.

Its smart timer function can be set to run for five minutes to 90 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about turning off the app.

White Noise (free)

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Block distracting sounds like typing and loud conversations with the White Noise app. Choose between different colors of background noise such as white, white-low, gray, pink, and brown. Play the sound continuously or use the sleep timer to turn it off automatically.

The free trial version lets you play up to 10 minutes at a time.

Spotify (free)

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If you prefer a continuous playlist that shuffles and repeats on its own, check out Spotify. Select from its ready-made playlist or get personalized recommendations for white noise as well as nature sounds, water sounds, and ambient noise.

You can also download your tunes for offline listening.

Tips

Here are more ways to help improve the quality of your working hours:

1. Get a good pair of headphones or earphones

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If you like in-ear headsets, try the Comfort Headset, designed to match the form of the ear for a more comfortable fit and excellent sound quality. If you prefer over-the-ear headphones, the ergonomically designed Coloud Boom Nokia headphones offer impressive sound.

2. Listen to instrumental music

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If you listen to music with familiar lyrics, you may be tempted to sing along and disturb those around you. When selecting nature sounds, make sure they’re calm and soothing. (No croaking frogs!)

3. Silence is a kind of music

If you find natural sounds too distracting, wear noise-cancelling headphones. Alternatively, look for a “quiet room” to renew your focus.

4. Rest your ears

Just as you should take five-minute breaks to stretch and rest your eyes, take off your headphones periodically to give your ears a break.

Do you listen to natural sounds or music at work? Share your playlist with us in the comments below.