stay focused http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12038/all en-US Shhhhh: How to Block Out Noise http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/covering_ears.jpg" alt="Boy covering his ears" title="Boy covering his ears" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As I&rsquo;m writing this, the apartment to my left is having its kitchen smashed out with a sledgehammer, the apartment across from me has power tools running with the door open, and in the hallway, a couple of chatty fellows are spraying the ceiling down with something &mdash; pssst, pssst, pssst, talk, talk, talk.</p> <p>I am the last tenant on the fourth floor of an apartment building that is being completely rehabbed, and I have been thinking a lot about quiet recently.</p> <p>See, I work out of my apartment, and having that apartment dropped in the middle of a construction site during working hours isn&rsquo;t exactly conducive to quiet concentration. I have, however, figured out some ways to battle the noise (and researched others that I have yet to try). So if you&rsquo;re looking for a little quiet &mdash; at home, at the office, or while traveling &mdash; I hope these suggestions can help you out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-silence">In Search of Silence: 4 Ways to Get Peace and Quiet</a>)</p> <h3>Wear Earplugs</h3> <p>I developed a bad habit in college that I haven&rsquo;t been able to completely shake &mdash; wearing earplugs to bed. The good news is that I always have earplugs around, and they&rsquo;re a cheap, easy-to-find (most drug stores have them), and relatively effective method of blocking noise. The downside is that earplugs often don&rsquo;t block noise entirely, they just muffle it.</p> <h3>Listen to Music</h3> <p>If there&rsquo;s one thing I&rsquo;ve learned from stereotypical teenagers on TV, it&rsquo;s that turning up the tunes is a great way to drown out annoying parents (parents who also, most likely<em>, just don&rsquo;t understand</em>). If you&rsquo;re trying to listen to music while working, the key is to find music you can work to. Personally, I can&rsquo;t write to anything with lyrics, so recently I&rsquo;ve been playing <a href="http://www.ratatatmusic.com/">Ratatat</a> and <a href="http://www.prettylightsmusic.com/#/home">Pretty Lights</a> in heavy rotation. Pumping the music directly into your ears with headphones can also be more effective than just playing it in your space.</p> <h3>Use Noise-Canceling Headphones</h3> <p>Of course, even more effective than listening to music through headphones is listening to music through noise-canceling headphones.&nbsp;They can be an investment, running between $100 and $300, but they read ambient noise in your immediate area and create a signal to cancel it out.</p> <h3>Close Your Windows</h3> <p>It's really quite simple, but if you&rsquo;re getting noise from the outside, close your windows. This might mean you need to turn on the heat or AC, so there&rsquo;s definitely a cost involved &mdash; but the white noise from the machines might help block the noise even more.</p> <h3>Pad Your Space</h3> <p>Soft things help suck in noise (that&rsquo;s why you always see foam on the walls of recording studios). So opt for a plush living space instead of one with all hard surfaces &mdash; thick curtains, carpeting, pillows, and other bits of softness can all help dampen sound.</p> <p>Renter&rsquo;s website Tenant.net also recommends <a href="http://www.tenant.net/Rights/Noise/noise3.html">adding a second wall</a> if you can.</p> <h3>Meditate</h3> <p>When you&rsquo;re better at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying">focusing</a>, it&rsquo;s easier to block out noise.</p> <h3>Ask for the Noise to Stop</h3> <p>If you can, go to the source and ask for the noise to stop or the volume to be reduced. And I&rsquo;m not talking about banging a broom on the ceiling &mdash; ask directly and politely. Moreover, make sure you&rsquo;re asking the right person.&nbsp;Earlier today, I overheard a woman who lives on the floor below me chew out the construction workers for starting so early in the day. While I&rsquo;m not thrilled about it either, it&rsquo;s not their fault that our building management asked them to start banging around at 8 a.m.</p> <h3>Go Somewhere Else</h3> <p>When all else fails, it might just be time to go elsewhere. Sometimes I&rsquo;ll work in a coffee shop (yes, it&rsquo;s quieter than my apartment). At work, you might be able to temporarily move to another space, or even ask your boss for your desk to be moved permanently. But I'm sorry, that baby on the plane is not going anywhere (except your flight's final destination).</p> <p><em>What methods do you use for dealing with noise?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question">That &quot;What if you knew you were going to die&quot; question</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/an-organized-year-a-month-by-month-guide">An Organized Year: A Month-by-Month Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-critical-steps-to-protect-your-data-in-the-cloud">10 Critical Steps to Protect Your Data in the Cloud</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">25 Ways to Take Five Minutes for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Productivity noisy quiet stay focused Thu, 11 Aug 2011 10:36:15 +0000 Meg Favreau 659373 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fallacy of Multitasking http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fallacy-of-multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/multitasking.jpg" alt="Man with four hands multitasking" title="Man with four hands multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's imagine that you finally decide to ignore the latte factor and buy a cup of $5 iced coffee at the nearby coffee shop. It smells good, but you want to drive home before you drink it because your baby just started crying, and you know she wants to be home as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-keeping-your-latte-factor-will-help-you-save-money">3 Reasons Why Keeping Your &quot;Latte Factor&quot; Will Help You Save Money</a>)</p> <p>You get out of your car, holding the cup of coffee in one hand and while carrying your baby home, and she decides that the coffee is better on the ground than in your hand. Slap! With baby arms swinging, all you can manage is the look of disbelief as you see your coffee splattered all over your front lawn.&nbsp;</p> <p>You ask yourself why you didn't just carry the baby into the living room before going back out to get the coffee, but what's done is done. You make sure your child is safe, and then you quickly try to undo the new &quot;brown grass&quot; that you just created. In an effort to save about 35 seconds of your life, you wasted that cup of coffee, managed to wipe that smile off your face, and spent another 10 minutes trying to turn brown back to green.</p> <h3>Misconceptions of Multitasking</h3> <p>I hope this doesn't sound familiar, but how many times have you tried to do two things at once, only to end up taking more time than if you just focused on one task at a time?</p> <p>Every time I hire someone, I make it a point to discuss multitasking if the word ever shows up on the resume. Many people think that multitasking simply means doing two things at once, but it's seldom possible. What ends up happening is that the quality of work on both tasks suffers, and sometimes, things even need to be redone. This is the opposite of efficiency.</p> <h3>There's No True Multitasking</h3> <p>In reality, we just aren't wired to perform two tasks at once. And this may come as a surprise to some, but neither are computers. What actually happens is that all the resources of the computer are shared by each task, with some resources used to handle the switching between the tasks. The illusion of true multitasking only happens because the computer can do this so efficiently and quickly that it <em>seems</em> to be doing everything at once. Have you ever tried to open many different programs, and they all take forever to load? This is multitasking at work.</p> <h3>How to Improve Your Efficiency</h3> <p>Instead of trying to do two things at the same time, you should actually be trying to focus on one task at a time. Get one thing done, then move onto the next. In real life, there will no doubt be times when you have to handle two projects concurrently. In these cases, you still have to focus on one project at a time. Work on one, then set it aside while you work on the other. Anytime you try to switch between the two means time lost, so do your best to keep &quot;project hopping&quot; to a minimum!</p> <p>Additionally, here are some tips to help you focus on only one task:</p> <ul> <li>Cut out distractions by learning to say no.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-time">Write down everything about the project</a> you aren't working on at the moment, so you don't have to think about it or worry that you will forget about little details.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put a higher emphasis on having enough sleep. It's hard, I know, but when you aren't tired all the time, you will be able to concentrate better and you can get everything done more quickly, giving you a bit more time to have more sleep.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check out these tips to help you get more done.</li> </ul> <p>Next time you try to multitask, beware of the loss in efficiency, and think twice before you try to work on two tasks at once.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">6 Areas Where You Can Eliminate Distractions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/productivity-tips-to-carry-you-through-2012">Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity efficiency multitasking stay focused Tue, 15 Feb 2011 13:00:16 +0000 David Ning 490679 at http://www.wisebread.com Stay Focused: 300+ Tips for Staying Focused http://www.wisebread.com/stay-focused-300-tips-for-staying-focused <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stay-focused-300-tips-for-staying-focused" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010001172XSmall.jpg" alt="Day dreaming" title="Day dreaming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="161" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know about you, but for me, spring brings out the worst in my ability to focus. When the weather turns sunny all I want to do is be outside. My basement renovation project gets pushed aside for garden work. Library studying turns into less-than-productive patio studying. Of course, the upside is that I no longer have to try to drag myself into the snow and ice for exercise as I'm much more inclined to head out for a long walk or run.</p> <p>Despite my desire to pursue outdoor projects and work outside, there are some things I just need to stay focused on and finish up.</p> <p><strong>So what are the best ways to stay focused?</strong> I pulled together some of my favorite posts from around the web.</p> <h2>Get Motivated to Focus</h2> <p>Sure, it may sound strange that you have to first be motivated to say focused, but it's true. To finish a project you have to force yourself to start on the project before you can actually stay focused to work on it. Here are some great sources of motivational tips and tricks:</p> <p>Zenhabits has <a href="http://zenhabits.net/2007/08/get-off-your-butt-16-ways-to-get-motivated-when-youre-in-a-slump/">16 motivational tips</a>.</p> <p>Scott Berkun writes about <a href="http://www.scottberkun.com/blog/2010/how-do-you-get-motivated/">what motivates him</a>.</p> <p>ABA net has <a href="http://www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt/articles/mgt05061.shtml">10 tips for motivation</a> that apply to any profession.</p> <p>Pick the Brain offers <a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/21-proven-motivation-tactics/">21 ways to increase motivation</a>.</p> <p>The 99 Percent offers simple but practical <a href="http://the99percent.com/tips/6371/how-to-get-motivated-for-self-promotion">motivation advice</a>.</p> <p>Planting Dollars lists several <a href="http://www.plantingdollars.com/uncategorized/if-you-cant-find-motivation-watching-these-this-check-your-pulse">motivational videos </a>.</p> <p>Quick Sprout shares <a href="http://www.quicksprout.com/2009/12/07/101-motivational-business-quotes">101 motivational business quotes</a>.</p> <p>Nora Dunn tells you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">100 way to change your life</a>.</p> <h2>Once You're Motivated, Stay Focused</h2> <p>Once you're motivated to keep working on a project what is the best way to stay focused? These experts offer some of their favorite advice:</p> <p>Location Independent Living describes <a href="http://locationindependentprofessionals.com/2009/09/11/ask-the-coach-when-fear-gets-in-the-way-how-do-i-stay-focused-on-the-goal">how to stay focused on the goal</a>.</p> <p>Sara Winfrey reminds you to look within to be able to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-finish-something-hard">finish something hard</a>.</p> <p>Dave Cheong details <a href="http://www.davecheong.com/2006/06/21/11-ways-of-staying-focused/">11 ways of staying focused</a>.</p> <p>Toilet Paper Entrepreneur gives focus tips from <a href="http://www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com/blog/how-to-stay-focused-63-very-focused-ways">63 other people</a>.</p> <p>Dumb Little Man's <a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2009/05/9-practical-ways-to-to-help-stay.html">9 practical tips will help you focus</a>.</p> <p>Almost Fearless brings <a href="http://almostfearless.com/2010/04/09/5-tips-for-working-in-the-midst-of-chaos/">5 tips for working in the midst of chaos</a>.</p> <h2>Just Do It</h2> <p>Instead of linking to hundreds of other tips telling you to just get get started and stay focused, I'm going to offer the 1 ultimate tip. <strong>Suck it up, take a deep breath, and power through until you're done.</strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stay-focused-300-tips-for-staying-focused">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-yourself-a-break-the-productivity-secret-thatll-change-the-way-you-work">Give Yourself a Break: The Productivity Secret That&#039;ll Change the Way You Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be">6 Reasons You&#039;re Not as Happy as You&#039;d Like to Be</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise">Shhhhh: How to Block Out Noise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-get-motivated-today">25 Ways to Get Motivated Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity motivation stay focused Mon, 19 Apr 2010 13:00:02 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 23676 at http://www.wisebread.com