One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your focus and productivity is to adjust your working environment. We each have different preferences for things like soft or hard furniture, room temperature, and background noise. Figuring out what works best for you in your environment can help you make the most out of your work time.
I’ve written before about Noisli, an online tool that combines a highly customizable background noise generator with a distraction-free writing environment. A recent update to Noisli earlier this month adds several features that make it an even stronger productivity booster.
Design Your Perfect Sound
When you visit the site initially, you can select a sound profile using the Random, Productivity, and Relax buttons, or customize your own. Simply click on the icons to toggle the sound on or off, and adjust the volume slider to create your own perfect mix. You can create your own combination from a variety of sounds, including:
- Water stream
- Summer night
- Coffee Shop
- White Noise
- Pink Noise
- Brown Noise
But the real magic happens when you create a free Noisli account (you can sign up with an email/password, or use a Google or Facebook login). Creating a Noisli account gives you access to adjust the tool’s settings and access additional features.
The new update, allows you to save your favorite sound combinations to reuse. I find it helpful to create different sound combos for different kinds of tasks or time of day. You can also share your sound combination via social media.
Use a Timer
Noisli has now added a very useful timer feature for use with its sounds. It defaults to the 25 minute setting used by the Pomodoro method, but is easily adjusted to any timer setting you prefer. It also includes a fade out option, so your background noise doesn’t stop too abruptly (useful, for example, if you have created a Napping combo).
Write Without Distraction
Your Noisli account also gives you access to a distraction-free plain text editor, which includes a Markdown preview tool. You can download your text file to your machine or save it to Dropbox or Google Drive.
Noisli’s default behavior changes the color of the site’s background fairly rapidly; when it lands on a color you prefer, select Stop Bkg from the Settings menu to freeze the color. This color extends into the text editor environment, allowing you to choose a color you find soothing or energizing.
Finally, one of the things that makes using Noisli so enjoyable is its clean, minimalist design. Once you spend a few minutes to try out different sounds and save your favorites, you can just set it and get to work. There is also an iPhone app, but no Android app as of yet.
Do you use a background noise app or minimalist writing environment? Let us know in the comments!