There are a lot of tips for improving productivity, but sometimes the solution is as simple as a well-built set of headphones.
If youre like me and easily distracted, then a busy office environment can make it difficult for you to get anything done. Neighbors on the phone or catching up on gossip, music from another cubicle, or even just people passing by if youre in a high traffic areaall these can break your working rhythm.
Headphones are a great, simple, and often overlooked way of improving your concentration and helping you stay productiveeven during overtime. Heres how:
Isolate to Concentrate
Music is a great way to both drown out backgrounds noise and relieve some stress who wouldnt want to celebrate finishing a difficult task to the tune of Eye of the Tiger? But some people find even background music too distracting. Headphones can still help with that, though.
If theyre solidly built, your headphones can be a portable quiet room where you hear nothing at all. There are also noise-cancelling headphones that can give you all the silence you want and more to spare.
Putting Up a Sign
Headphones are big, bulky, and a perfect way to tell people youre busy. For that purpose, its as good as a door (or even better! Unlike an office, nobody is going to wonder if youre actually working or not.) Headphones mean that people cant just talk at you and expect a response. They have to physically get your attention, which discourages casual conversation. If someone taps your shoulder, its usually something important.
Being a Good Neighbor
If you like to listen to music or podcasts at work, blasting it out of your speakers is very rude. Do everyone a favor and get a pair of headphones.
Ear-enclosing, studio style headphones cost anywhere from $100 to $300 for a mid-range pair, but dont feel obligated to buy one. Earbuds work just as well, although they wont do anything to help if you have the music off. Remember, the whole point of this is to help you stay productive, not play keeping up with the Joneses with the guy in the other cubicle. It doesnt matter how cheap it is, as long as it helps you get your work done.
Image credit, Flickr, Nick Southall