Reading and writing have become increasingly difficult in a world with fewer quiet spaces. Some people claim to enjoy working in an active and energetic environment like a coffee shop. Noise may help spark ideas for those individuals. But my view is that noise pollution is one of the biggest hurdles for most people trying to focus on any project.
I have a lot of empathy for students who struggle with procrastination. How is anyone supposed to write a speech or study with so much noise going on around them? Most of the schools I teach at are in densely packed cities. I assume that most students also live in compact apartments or houses on busy streets that are full of noise at all hours of the day and night.
I recall the hopelessness of trying to find somewhere quiet to read a complex and long article or to write a ten-page paper while I was in school. One of the best investments I ever made was a pair of industrial earmuffs from amazon (shown in picture). I acquired my own personal sound-proof study space for a mere twenty dollars. I was so relieved to have the chance to focus and think clearly without noisy neighbors, cell phones, music, or traffic interrupting my thinking.
A first step towards beginning any assignment is finding a suitable space to work. I’d guess that a significant portion of projects get stuck at this first essential step. If you find yourself having a hard time focusing on an outline, or any work, consider finding a quiet space.
If you’re lucky, you might find somewhere quiet to work at home or in a library. If that’s not possible, consider buying some noise blocking ear muffs. They’re well worth the money. Think of it as four lattes at Starbucks for an unlimited quiet study space.
I’m kind of sensitive to noise, I’ll admit it. It may very well be that not everybody is so picky. But I’d wager that most people would perform far better work with a quieter work space.
So good luck with whatever it is you’re working on. If you’re having trouble, seek out a quiet space!