How to Have a Distraction-Free Day with White Noise

July 24, 2019 | A Little Easier #16
Find yourself distracted by every little sound whenever you're working? Mask those sounds with white noise and get back to work distraction-free!

Do you find that, when you’re working, you get distracted by every little sound? Maybe you sometimes feel a little bit like Dug from the movie Up?

You’re definitely not alone.

Those sounds that pop up in our environment can be irresistible. And, they can be a massive time-suck.

Let’s talk about how white noise can help you combat Squirrel! syndrome.

White Noise Will Keep You Focused

Make Work Easier

I love to work in public. Starbucks, Panera, and public libraries are all places I’ll go when I feel like getting away from my desk at home.

Usually, they’re excellent places to work and focus. The low hum of chatter provides the perfect backdrop for focused work.

Problem is, sometimes noise punctuates the hum, shattering our focus and drawing attention. That’s exactly what happened to me recently at a Starbucks in Ann Arbor, MI. A pair of college professors sat near me and started talking so loudly. I couldn’t help but notice. And, as a result, I couldn’t focus.

Enter white noise

White noise is a sound which combines all frequencies of sound (howstuffworks). It gets its name from white light, or light that combines all frequencies of light.

While sitting in that Starbucks, I popped in my headphones, fired up some white noise, and got back to work. It was exactly what I needed: It masked all the other sound around me without pulling my focus. I got back to focused work!

In fact, the low hum of chatter in a public space often serves as white noise. But, this particular day, it didn’t work out that way.

Types of sound-masking noise

There are three different types of sound-masking noise: white, pink, and brown (Robin).

White noise

The white variety is, as mentioned above, a sound which combines all frequencies. It sound something akin to soft static.

Hear it with this YouTube video:

Pink noise

Pink noise is similar, but it reduces the high frequencies a bit, so it sounds a bit softer.

Brown noise

Finally, brown noise has the fewest high frequencies, resulting in a soft, low-hum tone.

My preference

Overall, even though this post is about white noise, my preference is for pink. It’s a bit less harsh than white, but it’s still enough to mask sounds around me when I’ve got earbuds in.

Where to get white noise for free!

I source my white noise from three different places:

1. YouTube

The YouTube videos I included above are excellent! Each one is super long (10 or 12 hours), so start it up and work away!

2. Browser app

There’s an awesome browser-based app (an app you don’t have to download or install) called Noisli. It’s free and allows you to play with a range of noise-masking sounds.

Noisli white noise web app

In addition to the standard white, pink, and brown, you can toggle on noises like thunderstorm, rain, and even coffee shop!

Head over to Noisli now to give it a shot.

3. White Noise app (iOS and Android)

The third method I’ve used is the White Noise app. It works about the same as Noisli from #2 above, except you won’t need an internet connection to use it (after you’ve installed it).

There’s a free version that works well! There’s also a pro version that only costs $0.99 that allows you to use the app without ads, and to keep it playing in the background.

Grab the app here:



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