On headphones

Your tools are extremely important, and only made more important by how often you use them.

On headphones
Photo by White Field Photo / Unsplash

I have two sets of headphones that I use pretty much daily:

An over-ear set of Bose QuietComfort IIs. These use Bluetooth; the Bluetooth management is pretty finicky. The active noise cancelling is fantastic — they are extremely good at blocking out distractions and helping me get in the flow.

A pair of 2nd-generation Airpods which sit in my ear. These also use Bluetooth, and the Bluetooth management is slightly more finicky than you would expect from Apple. They're really good "walkin' around" headphones — I can understand podcasts as I'm walking the streets of Philadelphia, and can quickly rip them out of my ears if someone says something to me.

I find both of these pairs of headphones really comfortable. I wear some combination of them for more than 8 hours a day, on more days than not. Lately, I've been wearing these interchangeably on calls, essentially based on whichever pair is closer or more charged or more already attached to my head.

I've learned that I essentially have to be listening to music to get into the flow. I've never really been an audiophile — I know I could have fancier headphones, but any other pairs I've tried have been less comfortable, often by a pretty wide margin. I really can't stand headphones that go any more inside your ear than earbuds do, and I've gone long enough without a cord attaching me to a device that I don't think I could go back.

Once both of these pairs of headphones are properly connected, they fade into the background, and I get stuff done. This is the most optimal setup I've found, and I'm happy with it, but I'm sure in the future some device will improve this loadout.

Your tools are extremely important, and only made more important by how often you use them. Your headphones are tools, too; you should be happy with them, and the only way to know you're happy with them is to know what you're optimizing for.