Welcome to”Coffee talk”. This week - Tools for Focusing


Welcome to the Coffee Talk thread. In this series of threads we discuss productivity in general (i.e. not necessarily Asana related). Everyone is welcome to join into these casual discussions.

In a crowded office or workspace, it can be hard to tune out distractions and really focus on the task you’re trying to accomplish. For me, when I’m writing, I need to be able to completely tune out various noises (such as a group of coworkers talking at the nearby printer) but I want to remain available to my colleagues with an open door. To accomplish this, I utilize white noise.

There are a plethora of white noise apps out there. My favorite is (aptly named) White Noise. With this program, I can choose to use a desktop application or their mobile app. It allows you to choose from a wide variety of sounds, lets you mix sounds for a custom experience, save playlists and even upload your own sounds.

It’s amusing that ambient noise can help you focus from ambient noise, yet somehow it works. I am able to use headphones to help me crank out some work at my desk yet leave my office door open so colleagues feel welcome to approach me with a question.

What tools do you use to help you focus and get things done?


Check out noisli.com as well! I love to hear wind + fire :slight_smile:


I also use playlists from Spotify like playlist with only piano and no lyrics.


Like @Bastien_Siebman I use noisli
It has a cool browser plugin I use as a pomodoro technique (setting 25 minutes to the counter) :smiley:


@Bastien_Siebman Noisli is a nice, quick option. I love it’s very simple UI and that it also has a plain text editor.

I utilize the timers and alarms in White Noise too, @carlo. Very handy feature. The pomodoro technique works well for me when we have less people in the office.


One thing I am starting to understand is that if you don’t feel productive, keep working will not make you productive. You have to stop the bad cycle, do something else, and come back to it later.


I person have my own playlist I listen to. If something is serious and has to be done in a short period of time, I tend to use my house music playlist. We work in an open space environment, so no doors to close, but it has become a universal language that when someone has earphones on, it is their do not disturb sign :wink:
And for utmost productivity, I treat myself for chocolate at the top of the hour :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


And for utmost productivity, I treat myself for chocolate at the top of the hour :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I like the way you think! :grinning::chocolate_bar:


Same as others, I tend to listen to music - mostly retro synth stuff, so no vocals. We have ‘quiet pods’ which are basically just computers that have been put in little alcoves or round corners, so you can slip away and work for a while but all the office noise is reduced to a gentle hum (it also means you can still hear the fire alarms if they go off!).

The single most important thing I do to focus, however, is close cursed Outlook. Every time one of those new message previews pops up, it knocks me off my stride and tempts me to open it.


+1 about closing mail, Facebook, Slack… to avoid notifications.


Budget my time using HourStack. Set up high level task blocks for the day, and give myself permission to spend 5 hours on my most important task, knowing that the other less important stuff will be seen to in the remainder of the day. Clearing my mind of other obligations allows me to focus.


Amen to that! I close my email and sign out from Skype for business. A concept which tends to be alien to some! :+1:


I also use Focus@Will and a Pomodoro Chrome add-in (Marinara).


Awesome idea for a thread, @Crystal_Alifanow! Like @Mark_Hudson, I tend to listen to music without vocals, as well. I’ll also often leave my headphones in without music to mute the sounds around me sometimes. I find that simply having my headphones in is a mental cue for myself that it’s time to focus. Headphones also signal to folks around me that I’m in work-mode. :slight_smile: