5 ways to improve your focus at the office

You're sitting at your desk in an open plan office struggling to tune out Shirley's loud account of plans for the weekend. There's a deadline looming, someone's phone keeps ringing and the struggle to focus is real. 

Concentrating in open plan workspaces is a problem for many 21st Century employees. At my desk in Christchurch, I sit near the sports reporters, who often watch live cricket or horse racing on television ("for reporting purposes") and many of my colleagues spend a lot of their time on the phone. The incessant clack of computer keyboards alone can be enough to drive a person mad. 

These are just the realities of offices. So how do we cope with the high levels of distraction around us? 

1. WHITE NOISE

Noisli is a website and app that creates customised ambient noise to help improve your focus or stimulate relaxation. 

Plug in your headphones (ideally noise cancelling ones) and choose from 16 different background noise choices. Options include rain, forest sounds, crackling fire, wind and water (although watch this water one, it can also stimulate frequent trips to the toilet). 

You can even mix and match - a little thunderstorm with some bird songs? A fan and a coffee machine? 

2. FOCUS PLAYLIST 

Listening to your usual beats may not do the trick when it comes to focusing the mind. Put away your jogging playlist and tune in to some proper focus music. 
YouTube has a huge range of free options, including Relaxing Records, which has a range of study and concentration playlists available free.
You could also try some classical music with the volume on low to help stimulate the brainwaves.

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