As someone who mainly works at home, I’m well aware of just how silent a lonely home office can be—and how quickly it can grate on your nerves and distract you with its lack of sound. Some people rely on podcasts to offer background noise, but the constant chatter can be distracting when I’m attempting to write up the latest tech gadget. Music is often lovely, but there are days when even that won’t do. Enter the odd—yet useful—free app Coffitivity (Mac App Store link), which livens up your silent home office with the soothing sounds of a busy coffee shop.
Given that I often wish my local coffee shop was quieter, I didn’t expect to like this little app, but it’s quickly grown on me. In part that’s due to the app’s three alliteratively wonderful soundscapes, accessed using Coffitivity’s systemwide menu: Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge, and University Undertones. The mixes are a nice blend of shop background noises—cash registers, coffee brewing, plates clinking, and the like—along with little snippets of conversation.
Those little bits provide just enough background noise without becoming annoying—I never found myself distracted by the snatches of idle chit-chat, even though that often happens to me in an actual cafe environment. I do, however, wish there was a fourth option (“Quiet Quarters,” maybe?) for library-like noises—page turns and coffee-cup clinks, but no chatting—but that’s just my own preference.
The app couldn’t be much simpler to use. A tiny coffee cup sits in your menu bar; click it, and you can pause or play the Coffitivity sounds, adjust the volume of those sounds (this volume level is thankfully separate from your computer’s master volume, so you can listen to music, as well, if you prefer), and choose the preferred soundscape. The app’s simple preferences window lets you have the app launched automatically at startup, and you can choose to play/pause Coffitivity’s audio by simply clicking on its menubar icon, instead of by accessing a menu command. (With this option enabled, you right-click the icon to access the app’s menu.)
That’s all Coffitivity does, but that’s all it’s designed to do. If a little background noise would help you focus on your work, give it a try.