As I write this I am listening to the melodic sounds of gentle waves and birds softly chirping on a beach in Cuba. There is no one else around on this Cuban island to interrupt my thoughts or disturb my peacefulness. Just me and the blissful sound of waves gentle lapping on the shore.
Alas, I am not in Cuba. but at home in Tipperary on a cold October evening. When I close my eyes however, I can imagine that I am sitting sunning my toes on a Cuban beach. It’s all thanks to a new Chrome Extension that I came upon while browsing ProductHunt.com, which lists new apps, products, websites and all things tech related. The Extension is called Rofocus and has a number of ambient sounds that you can play, from coffee shop background noise to wind blowing and of course one called Cuban Beach. You can see what it looks like in the image below.
A great many people find it easier to work with ambient noise in the background. Sometimes I like complete silence, sometimes I like to have music playing in the background, sometimes I like ambient noise. It all depends on what I’m doing, how much I need to focus and how much creativity is required.
It’s not just the opinions of some people that say they work better with ambient noise. There is science backing it up. According to the article “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise On Creative Cognition” published in the Journal of Consumer Research, a moderate level of ambient or background noise induces distraction which encourages individuals to think at a higher, abstract level, and consequently exhibit higher creativity (Mehta, Ravi, et al. “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise On Creative Cognition.” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 39, no. 4, 2012, pp. 784–799. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/665048).
Rofocus also includes a timer utilising the Pomodoro technique which breaks work down into 25 minute intervals. I’m all for using tools that increase productivity and creativity. Anything that offers any potential improvement is always worth looking at. I find Rofocus does all that I need, is easy to install and easy to use.
One of the great things about Rofocus is that it’s completely free to install. Of course you will need to be using the Google Chrome Browser. So if you are using Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or any other browser to surf the net, this may not be of much use to you. If you are using a different browser and want to try Chrome just click here to visit the Chrome download page.
If you are using Chrome but have never installed an extension before, the video below shows you how to install and manage extensions. Extensions are small programs that you can add to your browser to do different jobs. Click here to visit the Chrome Extensions page
If you do install it or have your own suggestions to improve productivity and/or creativity please leave a comment below or chat to me on Twitter @derryo