Noise versus silence: isn’t it time we switched off for a while?

Noise versus silence: isn’t it time we switched off for a while?

Here are three ways to encourage less noise and promote silence in order to achieve more each day:

1.    Implement a daily ‘silent session’

Dedicate the first few hours of your day to working in as much silence as possible. From 8-11am endeavour to block out all noise. Switch your phone to voicemail, put an auto response on your email and close your office door to work alone and uninterrupted.

If you pause all of the incoming noise (which includes colleagues popping around for their morning gossip) you’ll discover how these unnecessary interruptions add up over your week and stop you from getting your work done. You can sometimes feel that there are not enough hours in the day, but really there is seldom need to work until midnight everyday if you’re using your mandatory eight hours effectively.

2.    Promote privacy

The open plan office trend hampers one’s ability to work autonomously. If you find an environment such as this distracting, express your concerns to your manager who may be able to place you in a quieter space, even if it’s at the corner of a shared table. Listening to classical music through your headphones does wonders to focus the mind, and placing a ‘do not disturb’ card on your desk is a clear way to get the message across.

If there’s a certain person or process that is hindering your productivity, tell your manager and they can implement new ways to help you get the most out of your work day.

If you have the luxury of working from your own office, close your door (and let others know you’re off limits in the morning – explain that you’re not being rude, it’s simply how you get things done).

3.    Be savvy with your time

Take a typical work day and write down everything that happens – from meetings to the 10-minute chats you have in the tearoom. Now assign the value of ‘noise’ or ‘silence’ against every activity – ‘noise’ being something that adds no value to your work and ‘silence’ being the time you spend in ‘the zone’. You’ll be surprised.

Armed with this knowledge, you should organise your week with productivity as your main objective. For example – do you really have to attend that meeting in person? Can that discussion be carried out over email?  Are you wasting time at lunch?  Could you save an extra half an hour by having it earlier and in silence? Remember that time waits for no one.


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