View Full Version : Can't focus with background noise

10-19-16, 01:04 PM
I work in an open plan office, and most peopleís jobs require a lot of interaction (not so much mine) so it canít get pretty noisy with a few conversations going on near me at once. I absolutely cannot focus when this is going on, to the point of being near tears. The funny thing is though, when I have headphones in and can listen to podcasts it actually helps me to concentrate more. I think it annoys people that I wear headphones all day and block them out because I canít hear them when they call me, and sometimes miss the phone or door, but the alternative is that I sit there with my head screaming in frustration half the day. I either need absolute silence, music blasting in my ears, or a steady analytical podcasts. I can't switch in and out of paying attention to what's going on in the room easily.

Does anyone else deal with this? Any suggestions?

10-19-16, 02:24 PM
It's rather difficult as you can't change the environment you are in .
As you said the headphones are the only possibility for you to work .
There are probably no mind tricks that would help you here .
You have to solve this with technology.

1.Depending on how big the office is, I would let all the people know why you are wearing the headphones. This way that would know you can't hear them.
-They would know they have to come over to you or send you an email , that enables instant notification and some instant messenger if you are using something like that.
-basically trying to figure out a way ,so they could connect with you with technology.

2.You have you figure out how to make phone(land line) visible when it rings.
-not sure what kind of phone system you have , but maybe there is some gadget that can be connected to the phone to make it light up when you are getting a phone call. Or a phone system that has a light notification ,if you are allowed to bring your own phone.
-If it is a cellphone then vibrating function

If they will not accommodate you ,perhaps there is a need to change the job .
Even google search doesn't' provide anything that would really work here.
good luck.

10-19-16, 02:27 PM
Could you give an example of :steady analytical podcasts?
I like to listen to something when I work, but It must be something that wound't make me think or laugh.

Little Missy
10-19-16, 03:22 PM
Could you give an example of :steady analytical podcasts?
I like to listen to something when I work, but It must be something that wound't make me think or laugh.

Hey, give the Back Up Beep a try. I've been listening to it for about 6 or 7 months now. And scraping, a lot of dirt moving and scraping. :eek:

10-19-16, 03:57 PM
I find that it's worse with just one or 2 people, sometimes. because i end up listening to the conversations. or then im just not in the mood to chat and you cant just come back from lunch and zone out and not say hi or something.

if its super busy all around I dont mind as much.

Good advice above about just really explaining the headphones.

ive been in an office alone for a while, i love it! and i have misic on really low( bought speakers, hate headphones). bur this is going to change, they are changing things around and remodeling part of my floor. hopefully ill be with this person who i like, works with my boss and is often away...

10-20-16, 03:49 PM
I suffer the same problem. People don't hate me for this one thing but it does add to how different I am among all the other differences.

I think there is a way to make your desk phone light up too. But if you don't want to buy anything, you can also forward your desk calls to your cell phone and there is an app (at least android has one) that makes your cell phone blink. You can also set cell phone to vibrate too.

Meds might help too if you aren't on any though I doubt they would be so effective the solve this problem.

11-04-16, 10:51 AM
My situation exactly. I work in a small university, on a cubicle floor with several other departments. It seems every day is a struggle of one kind. Some days the ladies are extremely chatty and loud, other days it's someone mindlessly whistling for hours. Than there's the lady I share a wall with, who goes through hour long bursts of throat clearing, one every five seconds (no exaggeration).

The only thing I can do to cope is headphones, otherwise I go a bit crazy and get in a really negative mood. I think a small storm cloud actually appeared above my desk once, lol. But, I've also noticed that others in the office tend to talk to me less, especially other departments with questions. I often get "I didn't want to bother you".

It's a hard issue to solve, but there's good technology that will help. Depending on the phone, you might be able to get a popup notification on your computer screen, the same with the door.

11-04-16, 11:19 AM
I've found life to be much more pleasant wearing ear plugs - got a nice container of the highest noise blocking ones at a drug store.

I wear them every day, throughout the day. Never knew how much noise in general (just everyday noises!) increased my anxiety and body tension until I started wearing them all the time. It really helps with sensory overload. You can still hear some things, but everything is much more muted.

And then your colleagues wouldn't get annoyed with you because they probably won't see the ear plugs in. :)