How do you manage noise when working in public space?

I’m an introvert: people distract and exhaust me, and my ideal working environment would be an empty room and silence. Next best is what I have whenever I’m in my own environment: the space is never empty, but it’s usually silent save for ambient noise. Working from public space involves dealing with noise levels that are, for me, entirely counterproductive. Right now I’m in a hotel lounge and was settling in to focus on a magazine layout job when all of a sudden they switched the music to something loud, upbeat and with lyrics. I put my earplugs in immediately, but I can still hear that crap, and my concentration’s shot. What do you all do to manage noise when working from public space, or what are your workarounds?

In my case right now, I’m here because I need several hours of electricity, not just the two hours max I could get at my off-grid location. My noise workaround is to come to town and recharge my laptop, then go back to the country to work, but for long amounts of time, that’s not an option for me (yet — but I’m working on it).

what about listening to a white noise app? i can code while listening to music, but I can’t read and retain so when I need to concentrate on reading in a loud area i put on white noise to drown everything else out.

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Yes, white noise is excellent.

Oooh, I hadn’t thought of that! Which app do you recommend?

I use the heavy rain setting on this app:

Ha: I was offline all day yesterday because up in the country we had REAL heavy rain all day and all night, so I didn’t have a connection and didn’t want to drive into town on my scooter — just waited it out. Thanx for the suggestion, I’ll check it out.

Oooh, I ended up using an app called White Noise Lite (app store, free). It has this killer feature called a mix pad where you can blend up to 5 of their canned sounds.

If you use OS X, I suggest Noizio to generate your favourite mixes of sounds (I love the Deep Space one). However, if you prefere a web tool, Noisli is my favourite.

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I love the Noizio interface, and deep space is good, yeah! Thanx for the tip.

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I use

It’s basically sounds from famous Oxford libraries. Might not be exactly what you are looking for, but might be worth a look :slight_smile:

Ha! You’re right, it’s not what I’m looking for, but funny — thanx for sharing. What I really need to do is completely block out the radio at the hotel bar where I work, so what’s working for me right this minute is Noizio: deep space + sailing yacht + blue whales.

I am quite as bad off as you in terms of being unable to work in public places - sometimes there are irritating noises, but I just put on my noise-cancelling headphones with some music and that solves it for me.

I am however completely unable to sleep at night without white noise, especially here in Asia where there is always some noise going on at night. I even have a small external speaker I hook up at night so I don’t bust my poor phones built-on speaker over time.

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Hi LittleShiva,
I regularly work in crowded and noisy places (planes, trains, cafes, lounges) and always carry my noise-cancelling headphones. I recommend the QC series from Bose, any model between QC-15 and QC-35 will go, depending on your budget (QC-15: doesn’t play sound when there are no batteries, QC-25: plays sound even without batteries, QC-35: adds wireless capabilities).
Boses’s noise cancelling technology is strong enough to even cancel engine noise when you’re flying…
Hope it helps,

Oh, thanx, good to know!

I’m always using my in-ear monitors and listening to chill music. Sometimes Noizio instead.

Depending what notebook you use, you could consider getting one or more battery and a docking station.