iPhone/iPod touch only: Working with white noise in the background can be great for improving concentration. Custom Sounds of Nature takes the same approach with the soothing sounds of crickets and oceans. It's so relaxing, you just might fall asl...zzzz.
We've looked before at what kinds of sounds enhance our productivity, and coloured noise generally gets high marks. Some people swear by the method, while others say the constant static-sound drives them up a wall. Custom Sounds of Nature puts environmental noise on your iPhone or iPod touch so you can plug in your earbuds and work to the sounds of ocean waves gently lapping the coastline or birds chirping merrily in trees.
Assuming you aren't distracted by thoughts of capsized boats or bird droppings on your new car, Custom Sounds is a slick little tool to keep in your arsenal of apps. It's highly customisable, letting you tailor each sound and its associated background noise until it's just the way you like it. Choose Calm Ocean, then add seagulls, foghorns and wind chimes. Alternatively, select a babbling mountain stream that includes bullfrogs, birds and day crickets. Add or subtract sounds until the ambient noise works for you, then save it as a bookmark for future use.
If you like to fall asleep to nature sounds but don't want to drain your battery, then set the app's timer so it shuts off automatically. As an extra touch, Custom Sounds has a slow fade feature that gradually reduces the volume before turning off so you aren't awakened when the noise suddenly stops.
Custom Sounds of Nature is a free app, but if you really dig it there's a paid version with several additional sounds that you can pick up. What do you like to listen to when it's time to buckle down and get to work? Are you into crickets and bubbling stream, death metal or something in between? Share what works for you in the comments.
Custom Sounds of Nature [iTunes App Store]