When White Noise Is the Right Noise

The Block Club office has a beautiful open layout, which allows for quick on-the-fly huddles, collaboration, accountability and—greatest of joys—hearing a teammate cough up coffee at the perfect Monday gif Julie just shared on Slack.

Still, there are two downsides.

1—It’s a tough life for an unwatched sandwich. No doors means that a sandwich has no place to hide, and occasionally our overfed, under-sated office dog Miles absconds with someone’s lunch. It’s a bummer, but feels like a fair trade for his goofball antics and unwavering emotional support.

2—It can get a little loud in here. While it’s just as often the case that you’ll hear nothing for hours but the furious clicking of keyboards, at times it can be a little tough to remember the words on my own page with all the different conversations flying around.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to Problem No. 1. I think Tim is currently developing mental blueprints for a Rube Goldberg device that sprays Miles in the face with water upon even thinking about Tim’s slice of pizza, but it could be years before that technology sees the light of day.

For Problem No. 2, though, there’s Noisli, a customizable white noise app (for phone or web browser) with a relaxing, colorful layout.

Since I’m usually working with words, I don’t have too much leeway with music, lest I unknowingly insert song lyrics into a presentation doc. Noisli has been a huge help—a steady stream of white noise that you can customize to create your perfect work environment. You can combine the different sounds at different volumes at your own discretion, or click the “productivity” and “relax” buttons to try out various pre-set combinations that Noisli considers conducive to productivity and relaxation. It’s your call.

No jarring track changes, no strange wind instruments insisting that you relax to their aggressively dulcet tones. Just a nice mountain stream and a gentle breeze (and, just for the first minute, something that sounds incredibly like someone using the bathroom, but you soon identify the water-drop noise icon as the culprit and remember to avoid that one, maybe, because it’s a little distracting for an app that’s supposed to cut down distractions).