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Sound and quiet are two phenomenal productivity hacks I use frequently. Here's a personal question: What kind of music do you listen to? Who are your favorite artists? Do they focus you or distract you.
When I was getting ready for a varsity basketball game, way, way back in high school, I would throw on my big headphones, slam in my Public Enemy cassette and turn up my Walkman. Wow, did I just admit to having a portable cassette player? Somehow Public Enemy always got me in the mood to play hard and give it my all.
Those were the days. Things were simpler then.
Now when I need to get focused, I don't listen to music that has a beat, hook, or bass drop because I find myself distracted by what's going to happen next in the track. Maybe I'm not alone. Can you focus listening to music with lyrics?
Turn up the noise... white noise that is...
Music can calm the savage beast, at least that's what the old Bugs Bunny cartoons told me, but it can also help you focus at work. When I need to get focused now I find myself throwing on my headphones and listening to alpha wave sounds or alpha Binural sounds. Do a quick search for music to help you study and you will find a lot of choices on Youtube.
The alpha wave sounds clear my head and help me focus. My wife says it puts her to sleep, but it has a different effect on me altogether. The headphones might play a part also.
When I put on my headphones it's as though I'm in my cone of silence, that's a Get Smart reference for those who might not know. My headphones really shut out the ambient noise and help me to think. Perhaps having the alpha channel sounds on is turning my regular Bluetooth headphones into noise canceling headphones.
To get focused and stay focused don't be shy about wearing headphones. They cut ambient noises and as an added benefit they announce to those who might just want to stop by to talk about nothing that you are focused and can't be bothered right now.
I did this years ago when I worked in a cubicle environment. If you've ever had the pleasure of working amongst the cubes you know how focus is nearly impossible when you hear every phone call, side conversation, and see every person walk by.
In that environment using headphones were phenomenal at helping me concentrate and focus.
Use your commute to conquer your day!
Another productivity hack is something that you endure everyday and most days twice - your commute.
This is, in my humble opinion, a missed opportunity to gain clarity, focus, and prioritize and organize your day. If you are like me you get caught listening to the news or maybe a comedy station or whatever your favorite commute time passer is.
Listening to the news is counterproductive and can be killing your productivity. By the time you get to work you are more stressed because of the traffic or what you just heard on the news. Here's the kicker, you can't control, change, or influence either situation. You tolerated your commute and the politics of your government are usually beyond your ability to directly influence.
One step up from this is listening to an audiobook or podcast. This is a great way to spend your commute. If you are already using your commute wisely, bravo! Keep up the good work. But you might want to sprinkle in my next idea as well.
Time to think
Use your commute to think through your day, walk through that meeting that you aren't feeling so confident about, prioritize what needs to get done today, or just to calm yourself before your work day begins.
Your mind might wander, that's ok. It will most likely solve a problem or two or provide you an insight that you need to be a rockstar today.
Sound and quiet are two phenomenal ways to become more productive.
What productivity hacks do you use? Are there other ways to get the most out of your car ride or commute? What music do you listen to when you need to be productive?
If you liked these productivity hacks, you might like the hacks in this post too.
Until next time, make today count.