Posts Tagged ‘Noise’

Where I work, white noise is pumped in to make it harder to hear people farther away from you. When I first moved to my previous building where there was no white noise for a few days, you could hear anything anyone said all the way at the other side of the floor. It was strange. It was distracting. I was reminded of the Jim Carrey movie “Bruce Almighty” where he gets to play God and hears all the prayers of people coming at him at once. That’s what the floor felt like without the white noise.

Then when they added white noise, we thought it was deafening at first, like some constant dull roar that we would always find bothersome. Yet before long it was not noticeable at all. We got used to it.

Today for a short while the white noise was absent. Suddenly we could hear conversations going on all around that we wouldn’t normally hear. Jokingly, the person across from me exclaimed “I can’t work in these conditions!” I thought about the old cartoon with the hibernating bear being disturbed by some slight sound and then yelling “I can’t stand noise!”

It wasn’t too many minutes before the white noise came roaring back. People sighed with relief that it was no longer quiet. A lady on the other side of me then countered the earlier neighbor’s comment by saying of the white noise “I can’t work in these conditions!” We all laughed and went on about our business.

People have different tolerance levels for noise, whether for work or pleasure or even sleep. Some work with earphones listening to their favorite music. Some like the TV or music on at home as background noise regardless of what they’re doing. Some like a fan blowing while they sleep regardless of the room temperature.

I find that for some tasks it is OK to have background noise, while for others I need silence to concentrate. I’m turning off the TV more and more in order to focus on tasks more important.

Consider the possibility that on occasion you will hear best in the silence. Leap year lesson #41 is Know when to adjust the volume.

For many of us, information overload is an everyday reality. Between emails, texts, websites we frequent, phone calls, print media, broadcast media, news sources, etc., we have more information coming at us than we reasonably have time to absorb. Add to these the simple things of wanting to read an occasional book or pursue an educational goal, and the amount of input we heap on ourselves quickly gets out of control.

Some of it is important, but not all of it.

Periodically I have to unsubscribe from email newsletters, follow fewer people on Twitter, unfriend a few folks on Facebook, choose to take some time off from the routine websites I visit, and somehow reduce the quantity of info storming my way. I’ve done that quite a bit in the past few days.

When we allow our consumption of information to go unchecked, we end up devoting too much time nibbling at the edges on insignificant crumbs and we invest too little time feasting on what awaits us at the center of the plate.

If you have regular emails from some business or organization that no longer serve a useful purpose, then unsubscribe. Do the same with other connections in social media or print media. Try to remember every now and then that information sources are probably not useful to us forever. We need to impose an expiration date.

De-clutter the path of information from the world to your brain. Experience the simple freedom of leap year lesson #9: Reduce the noise.