Finding peace & quiet


Just wondering if anyone has got any top tips for finding peace & quiet and not being distracted by husband & 3 yr old at home?

My Uni is 2-3 hrs away so in time & money it's tricky to get to. Where else could I work do you reckon? The local library is pretty small though it does have a couple of dining-size tables to work at... Hmmm....

I have a lovely office to use at home but it's hard to focus when there's music, laughter, tantrums coming through the ceiling. Also when I'm around the pull to the kids is strong, esp after 3.30 when DD1 comes home from school and wants cuddles, stories and general mummy time

Avatar for sneaks

err, not too sure about the kids, my initial reaction would be to put them in some kind of pen - but I've only got a dog, sooooo I wouldn't really listen to my parenting advice :$:$

RE noise: how about listening to classical music through some noise-cancelling headphones or something?


Is there a cafe nearby that has space for laptops/working? I sometimes find a change of scene to a coffee shop quite refreshing and although there is background noise, it isn't enough to distract me from reading. Obviously it would cost the price of a drink but you can nurse that long enough to get through a good bit of work :-)

Headphones at home, or maybe specify some times at home that you are not to be disturbed? I'm also not used to children so that is probably easier said than done!


Ehmm, yes. I know the feeling.
I am in the same shape. I must say that I didn't find the perfect solution. It's a constant compromise. I used to have an office at Uni, but as soon as you start your writing-up period (that is when you most need of it!) you must leave your space to a new student.
So I am working from home. I had to resolve and send the child to nursery three mornings a week, and then I work after dinner, early in the morning, weekends, and literally any spare (!) five minutes that I have. It's very stressful (and noisy), but I should submit in a couple of months, so I keep thinking that it is only for a short period of time.


Hi Daisy. I work mainly in the local library but also go round to my in-laws sometimes. I don't have a study though - or even a desk where I can leave things out. :-( I think in your position I would just barricade myself in and put on some noise cancelling headphones!

Sneaks - I love the idea of a pen but unfortunately it doesn't stop the noise. I have given up putting mine into the playpen as they complain - very loudly!


I like the pen idea for the husband though ;-)


What is this "peace & quiet"?

I think I may have experienced this once.


Hi Daisy,

Finished my PhD last year and was in the same boat as you regarding peace and quiet - although things did get better in the last year as my daughter started school - and I TOTALLY sympathise with the guilt of not being there for your kids after-school etc.

In relation to this last problem there is no solution that I could think of. The way I dealt with it was simply to surrender the hours between 3.30 and 8.00 to being an attentive parent; this ultimately meant my thesis took 18 months longer to write than it should have.

Anyway heres what I did regarding yours and Virginia Woolf's problem of nowhere suitable to study.

One year in to my thesis my 2 room flat was driving me nuts due to the others running round, changing nappies, laughing, crying, shouting, eating etc. As the only option I could think of was buying a desk for our bathroom - I am not near to a local library or my uni - the best I could come up with was setting up a mobile office. So I sold my car and bought a £600 ford transit van with windows in the back. I got a couch and a desk off trademe bolted them to the wooden floor and researched/wrote my thesis in here. Depending how much $£$ I had for petrol I would either do a 10 minute drive to a churchyard in rural Cambridgeshire or just study while parked in our street. The only problems - besides everybody thinking I was strange - was that I didn't have power in the van so I had to write by hand; but I figured I could create the digital copy at home even with chaos going on around me as I only had to read off my handwritten notes.

Anyway. Palgrave are publishing my thesis this year and in order to do my rewriting I am currently having a leisure battery - like what they have in caravans - installed into the van so I can run a laptop and light in there. And this is despite the fact that we now live in a new house with a quiet dedicated study. I now don't think that I can think or write as well when I am not in my philosophy van.


OMG that's brilliant! Fortunately I have a space where I can go away and study, but now I want my own little van. :)


Biddysbottom that is genius!!  Funnily enough I also lived in rural cambridgeshire until recently and never noticed a strange but quiet studious looking person spending hours parked in a van lol. As much as I love the idea I don't think I could get away with leaving three babies in the house while I sit in a van on the driveway, although very tempting some days :-s  I have to resign my thesis writing to when the babies are asleep after 7 pm or that coveted afternoon when they all go off to the childminder :p


Camper van scenario is ace as I love that closeted feeling. Congrats on getting your thesis published as well(up), very impressive, all the more since you had to go against your supvs along the way.


Sorry I meant to add, Daisy, I have did my BA, Masters and now PhD all with a biggish family (4 children, dog and hubby) in tow. I found that needs must and you really have to grab any time that you can. It might not be a solid block but the odd half hour here and there at times and you'd be surprised when pushed how much you can get done in a concentrated time.

Over time I adapted and the noise doesn't bother me [much!] - I can study and write with the radio, television and family around (well in another room). It's the fighting that gets to me though and sends me over the edge. My youngest are now twin boys of 13 and last night I totally lost it - they were 'killing each other' squirting shower gel that turns to foam all over themselves, the landing, their beds etc. That shouting you heard was me :$

Everybody has different things to contend with and it's all relative but I think people with children tend to be good PhD project managers - you have to be!


This might sound a bit odd, but I listen to recordings of stuff like waves & rain, etc. when I'm in my office at uni as the people in mine & the next office can get a bit noisy. It kind of works like white noise to drown out sounds, but without being distracting like music would be!


Quote From greent:

This might sound a bit odd, but I listen to recordings of stuff like waves & rain, etc. when I'm in my office at uni as the people in mine & the next office can get a bit noisy. It kind of works like white noise to drown out sounds, but without being distracting like music would be!

Not odd at all! I do this ... I have the "Echoes of Nature" set, frog chorus and thunderstorms are my two favourites at the moment. Great stuff, sometimes a little too calming though.


I like the 'sounds of nature' recordings too - I have rain and thunder and crashing ocean waves, you can get whale/dolphin and crickets or birdsong ones as well, but I find those a bit annoying (crickets, seriously, how can that be relaxing?) . I can't listen to music when I'm working as it's too distracting, but these are fine.

I love the idea of the philosophy van though, that's amazing! I'm lucky enough to have a fairly quiet house (no children, one quiet dog and a partner out at work) but would be considering a science van if I didn't :-)