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I am travelling often across Germany. I would love to use this time to work, especially because there is internet connection on board of the ICE trains. However, I often feel disturbed and cannot concentrate. I can point to 2 possible reason:

  1. People are talking around, even if it is a quiet car;
  2. I cannot focus because of the neighbors looking on my screen.

I have tried several strategies: i) select the least attractive seat; ii) use earphones and listen music; iii) make remarks to people when they are too loud. None of these really helps. I would like to ask if you have some tricks how to deal with such situations.

P.S. 1st class is not an option for me.

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    You are obviously easily distracted by your surroundings. You won't find working on a train easy until you learn to ignore what is going on around you. – user13044 Mar 5 '17 at 21:14
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    Do you have active noise-cancelling earphones? – Nate Eldredge Mar 5 '17 at 21:23
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    Maybe you want to get a privacy filter for your screen? I'm not sure whether the angle is good enough so that a person sitting right next to you can't see what you're doing but you might give it a try. – martin.koeberl Mar 5 '17 at 21:29
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    They still have a substantial effect on speech and other sounds. I would suggest trying it. – Nate Eldredge Mar 5 '17 at 21:31
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    Unfortunately it is mostly just your side. Your mind is picking up on everything around you, people talking, people sitting quietly, people walking, the trees and landscapes rushing past the windows, smells. It is a sensory cacophony that you are not used to in your usual work environment. But the more times you travel that way, the more accustomed you get to it and eventually you will be able to work same as your office. – user13044 Mar 5 '17 at 21:57
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  1. Active noise cancellation headphones, which contain a microphone and chip that listens to the noises around you and acoustically cancels it out. I use Bose QC15, which are good,but you still hear high frequencies (voices)
  2. Privacy Filters for your screen, which block angled light making the screen appear black to anyone looking at it from an angle other than straight on, so the person next to you doesn't see anything.

N.B. 1st class isn't really better, but often even more crowded on some routes

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    Good answer, I hope you don't mind me adding explainations of the things you suggest for anyone who hasn't come across them before. P.s. in my experience I find noise cancelling headphones are better for lower pitch constant noise (like an airplane engine noise or the noise of the train itself), maybe low-tech "noise isolating" headphones like in-ear buds are better for sporadic noise like distracting conversations? – user568458 Mar 6 '17 at 11:09
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It is a common thing that when sitting free, people will look around and observe things. Don't worry, they are not spying on you.

To solve this probelm, I recommend you to Occupy a window seat and turn the laptop a littile towards the window side. So, they can't see what you are doing.

To cancel noise, using a earphone with heavy sound will cause damage to your ear. So don't go for it.

To solve this problem, you should practice to avoid noise from surrounding. Personally I suggest you to practice YOGA to gain concentration.

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