You’ve got a lot to do. The crazy thing is… all that stuff on your to do list might be making it even harder to get things done. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to anxiety and distraction. It’s hard to compose an email when you keep noticing more flooding your inbox. Enter Noisli, the desktop and mobile app that seeks to be the remedy for all that noise in your head.

Research suggests that a moderate amount of the right kind of background noise can actually help you be more focused, creative and productive. Noisli offers 16 different options for customizing sounds to work or relax to. They include nature noises (like birds chirping and wind rustling leaves), indistinct coffee shop chatter and three versions of good ol’ fashioned static. You can mix and match sounds, increasing or decreasing each one, like you’re the DJ of white noise. “Bonfire” plus “summer night” might just be your jam. (Pump it up!) When you find the perfect combo, you can save it and replay later. The app works offline too, so your favorite sounds can soothe you during your commute.

Visually, it offers a text editor that gives you a clean slate for composing your thoughts. It saves what you write locally, so that, even if you accidentally close your tab or crash your browser, it will remember what you wrote when you go back to the site — even hours later. When you’re ready to transfer those thoughts to an email, blog post or report for work, it copies and pastes without all the formatting baggage that many text editors drag along. It also supports Markdown for when you need to make a bold (or should we say **bold** ?) statement. In fact, the beginning of this post was composed using Noisli, and we’re loving it!

While you’re working away, the background gradually fades from one color to the next — think sunset not strobe light. This is to take advantage of the positive effects that different colors may have on your state of mind. Around here, we love color, so just the sight of it puts us in a better mood. When you have those moments, when you need to stop and let your mind wander a bit, it’s also soothing to stare at and doesn’t let you get too far off track.

The iPhone and iPad apps ($1) have a timer function that will make your sound(s) fade out after a set amount of time, which you can use as a sleep timer. It would also be great for productivity techniques like time boxing or Pomodoro. Instead of a jarring alarm, the sound of waves fading to silence could let you know it’s time to switch tasks or take a break.

There are a lot of apps out there with similar ideas in mind, but Noisli has a unique approach using sounds, color and a zen interface to drown out unwanted everything and help you focus in the neverending battle for productivity.

(h/t: Bless This Stuff)

What type of environment helps you get your work on? Does background noise or music make you feel more productive?