Fire up Your Creativity, Use These 6 Background Noise Generators

This post first appeared on Lifehack.org. 

Either you require total silence from your workplace or you like an office that supplies ambient noises. Digging deeper into the subject, research data show that most (if not all) people become more productive when exposed to some ambient background noises.

I’m a perfect example, although, I’m a combination of the two. When I’m reading emails and searching for photos for my blog posts, I love listening to music and ambient noises, but when writing serious articles, I tend to block (no, I need to delete) all noises as much as possible. 

Anyway, I surmise most creatives love ambient noises. Sometimes blended with music, at times plain ambient, and other times just music. As for me, I have moods, so… I have various choices every now and then. 
So much about me, let’s turn to you. If you’ve always told friends, “this place has deafening silence” then most probably, you belong to the ambient-noise-needing category; workers who produce more when exposed to soft noises.
An office environment naturally exposes workers to background noises. At times, to the point where it turns disruptive. Most people would have no choice but to leave even temporarily. 

What about people who work from home, like me? Most use their radios as background while working, or they turn the TV on. After sometime, though, they’d realize they’re actually being distracted. Now, the key idea is–find indistinct and subtle sounds as useful workplace background. Fortunately, there are several tools ready to supply all the soft noises your system requires.

Simply Noise


This service does not use nondescript background chatter like another site, it’s a color noise generator. I’m sure you’ve heard of white noise (i.e. a turned on vacuum). This website provides three types of color noises. White (the most effective for distraction blocking; great for maintaining focus, writing, reading, and studying), Pink (perfect for relaxing the mind and body due to its stress-melting capabilities), and Brown (good aid for inducing sleep, soothing migraines, and pacifying children). 

Provided on Simply Noise is a sliding volume control, a sleep timer, and oscillation button (this one is my fave–you can set it, so, the volume will automatically rise and fall). As you can tell by now, Simply Noise is simple to use. Just select your color, set the volume you are comfy with, and you’re set to reap the benefits. 

Coffitivity



This wonderfully designed site provides three backgrounds: Morning Murmur (a gentle hum, which is my fave; especially when I’m starting my day, sipping my cappuccino and going through my to-do list), Lunchtime Lounge (bustling chatter), and University Undertones (campus cafe). A pause button is provided whenever you need a bladder break (rest room trip, if you prefer that), and a sliding volume control to give you the freedom to find the perfect level for your needs and moods.
Also available as an Android appiOS app, and Mac desktop if you’d choose to have one less open tab on your browser. 

Simply Rain



From the same founders of Simply Noise, this website offers the pleasant sound of rain.
The dashboard features a slide volume control, sliding intensity control (gentle shower to heavy storm), thunder mode (often, few, rare), oscillation button, and a sleep timer. Nothing too fancy…just pleasurable background noise for those who find the sound of rainfall to be soothing and comforting.
Also available: iOS app (99 cents). 

Rainy Cafe


This service combine two features (a perfect blend, actually). Rainy Cafe provides background chatter in coffee shops (similar to Coffitivity) AND the sound of rain (similar to Simply Rain). It provides individual volume and on/off control for each sound category. You can listen to only the background noise, or you can only enjoy the rain noises, or you can opt to listen to both as a nice combo. A minimalist site, if you’ll ask my opinion, yet it rocks.
No apps available at the moment. 

Rainy Mood


As the name reveals, this site focuses on the sound of gentle rain. But it enhances the service by providing a full screen background video, what else, rain on a window pane (that includes an on/off button), and it gives you the prerogative to add the “song of the day” to the the rain audio as well. It allows you to pick from three volume settings. Just click on the speaker icon that is situated at the bottom of the screen to make adjustments.
Also available: iOS app ($3.99) and Android app ($3.99). 

Jazz and Rain

jazz and rain
Last, but not the least, Jazz and Rain is pretty straightforward in terms of what it does. The name says it all. Its dashboard includes a sliding rain volume control and pause button, and a jazz volume control, skip and repeat buttons. An additional nice feature is the music title appears on screen, so if you hear something you love, you’ll know the artist and the title.
Currently no apps available.
Each one of us has work preferences, and some need some peace and quiet to get things done. However, if you belong to the other group, especially when you’re a creative, these six audio services provide a fabulous mix of chatter, rain, color noise, and instrumental music. All of which works pretty well at obliterating the deafening silence that’s hindering you from productive work.

Why Blog to Snag Your Dream Job?

This post appeared first on Lifehack.
Photo Credit: DomainerMike 
For a time, blogging was associated with journaling and documenting people’s experiences on the road while traveling, or moms chronicling their journey as mothers. Others used a blog as an online diary. Those days are gone. Today, savvy bloggers have turned blogging into a billion dollar enterprise. Furthermore, blogging can get you your next job. Here’s why:


1. It elevates you to a place of authority.

When you blog, you position yourself as an authority on the topic you choose. (Just make sure you have the expertise that goes with the topic!) This position is definitely a double A+ for your online reputation. It could catapult you to higher and better paying positions with credible companies. However, without a blog this is unlikely to happen.

Every time you present your resume to a prospective employer, you are perceived as just one of many applicants. With a blog though, you raise the bar and you can better deal with a recruiter. The authority attached to the blog will also elevate you to a better bargaining position at the negotiating table when you sit down with an employer to discuss salary. Go on, gain authority! Start a blog.       

2. It’s your online resume, but way better.

All of us have a curriculum vitae or resume. But here’s the nice thing–a blog provides a platform where you can highlight your skill set on your online CV (your blog), and it’s many times more powerful. Let’s look at an example. Say you’re a professional blogger, you can showcase your creative writing skills by publishing articles on the Web. (Simply put–blogging.) If you’re a broadcaster, you can put out a podcast to promote your ability to deliver talks, and to show your podcast production skills. Another perk of a personal website is that it allows you to add a number of satisfied clients’ testimonials. But do take care to get one thing right–what you include on your blog should be accurate, and well documented. 

3. It gives you a favorable online image.

Recruiters have become more efficient. Now they browse digital footprints instead of going through piles of paper. They peruse Facebook accounts, Twitter handles, and other social media activities. And let’s not forget blogs. Owning one, then, will give you an edge over other applicants. Why? With your website potential employers will have a more positive picture of you and how you present yourself as a person, and as a professional. Unlike your unflattering image on Facebook with the uncontrollable tags, a blog gives you the freedom to be the chief. Nothing is ever published without your consent.      

4. A personal website opens up opportunities you may not have outside of the blogging sphere.

Let’s say, for example, you blog about public speaking because you have solid experience in radio and TV broadcasting. Let’s assume that due to some unexpected turn of events, you have been pushed towards a different field: teaching. Without a blog with a broadcasting thrust, you may not get opportunities related to broadcast media again. What you have instead are job opportunities in academia. But since you write about broadcasting and public speaking, you are can maintain a profile and links to a professional network connected to the broadcasting industry, media outfits, or public speaking organizations; a development that may not happen without the blog.

5. It creates an aura of interest around you that employers find attractive.

Hiring managers read resumes on a daily basis, so it can get to a point where the task can bore them to death. However, if you blog, your website will represent not only your talents and abilities, but also your unique personality. This can help you stand out from the crowd. You will immediately raise yourself up as a high-quality applicant compared to the others who have not maximized a blog–a candidate they will likely call for an interview.

6. A blog helps you grow a network.

Companies are not only seeking candidates with an excellent set of skills and the right knowledge base, they are also on the look out for people who have powerful connections. So in addition to having a sizable network on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, running a blog that boasts of a solid fan base proves that you are capable of creating and maintaining connections online and offline.


7. It maintains your balance as a professional and will enhance your communication skills. 

When you’re in-between jobs and on the hunt for something new, it can get pretty boring. Blogging will keep you current with everything in your field and will enhance your communication skills, especially writing and using social media. As an added perk, it will most likely push you to maintain your momentum in your job search.

How to Choose the Right Topic for Your Blog

NOTE: This post appeared first on Lifehacker.

Photo Credit: Kris Olin via Flickr
One of the most underestimated facets of blogging is choosing the best topic to focus on. You can't just pick a topic you fancy and blog about it right away. You have to go through several steps. Well, actually, go through a process in order to decide intelligently.

Many people suffer the consequences when they commit the mistake of picking the wrong topic.

How do they commit this mistake, anyway?

They pick a topic they know nothing about. (This is the worst thing a blogger can do.) Most people who commit this error choose a subject because other people have made money from blogging about it. What they don't realize is that the successful bloggers did make money because they are experts of the topic and they who made the mistake were not. 


On the other hand, bloggers who commit this error create problems they'd rather not have. Yes, they can research about the chosen topic, but sooner or later, their readers will find out the truth—they struggled to write about it, or, worse... they're not well-versed with the niche.

(Remember, when deciding on a blog topic, you must choose one that will showcase your expertise. When your site visitors are inspired by your blog, then you are up to something awesome. Let's say you have been hosting a radio show for 18 years, you have all the right to blog about radio and broadcasting in general. If you have been leading bible studies for several years, you can definitely focus on tackling a niche related to ministry.)


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Regarding committing this terrible mistake, (picking the wrong topic) in the first place, they could have had the wrong motive when they made the decision of choosing a certain topic. They go for a topic they thought would make them money. (Now, don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with making money. In fact it's good especially if you do it with the purpose of creating wealth for your family.)





However, there's a problem if you go this route. The blog subject you have chosen to focus on could be something that you're not equipped to discuss. (This is scary!) With this, you have just committed a major mistake early on in your blogging adventure. A mistake that could ultimately drive you to failure.


Steps to take when choosing a topic:

1. Know thyself

-know your interests

-know your expertise

-know your background

-know your experiences

This crucial knowledge about yourself serves as a guide that will lead you to the topic you are seeking. Something you have passion for.

2. Ask yourself what you love talking about

What is that topic you can't seem to stop talking about? Once you start talking about it, the flow just continues and seems to never end.

3. Do your research

What topic is on top of people's lists? What's the current rage? This is something that can be turned into a business. In other words, you must take public interest into consideration. If the masses love it, nothing can stop you from making money out of it. But remember, the topic should be a mix of the people's interest and something you are knowledgeable in.

Are there bloggers raking in money out of the topic?

Try to type keywords associated with your topic on Google's search engine. If there are people blogging about it, you're a few steps to nailing it. There must be gold in such a topic. Hordes of people might be interested in it.

4. Find out what other things bloggers do to earn more.

Do they coach or teach people? If so, what are the subjects or topics they handle? Always remember: if there are coaches about a topic, it means there are people being coached. And this means only one thing—there is income to be had.

Do they sell products like e-books and e-courses? Do they sell services like one-on-one consultations or discussions?

If bloggers do their job right, they could be laughing their way to the bank.

5. Determine the longevity of the topic.

Can the topic hold interest for months or years? Will the blog post you create today still be valuable tomorrow, next month, or the coming years? If your answer is yes to all these, then you have found a niche you can explore and you are sure to have a sustainable income.

Ideally, there should be unending blog post ideas for your website for it to become a cash making machine.

Photo Credit: Kris Olin via Flickr