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Wednesday
Mar262014

Productivity tool: Coffee shop sounds, creative productivity and Coffitivity - and a poll

Survey: Do you like background noise while you're working?

Don't know about the rest of you, but I find my background noise preference depends heavily on what I'm working on. When I'm illustrating and am past the early sketch stages, I listen to audiobooks or have episodes of a previously-watched tv shows playing on my second monitor; the key for me is to have something interesting enough for variety but not TOO interesting to distract me from work.

For early creative stages and for writing, I used to prefer silence. These days, however,  I like to have something going on in the background, especially if my work day has been especially long. Music with English lyrics is too distracting, so I listen to Italian progrock but even that can start driving me crazy after a while.

One of my favorite background sounds for intense creative work? Coffee shop noise: murmured conversations, movement, muted clatter of cups and cutlery. I also find having people around who are DOING things stimulating, and I'm less likely to start daydreaming or slack off. I used to go to real-life coffee shops to do my writing, but this has downsides. The expense, for one thing, plus sometimes the conversations taking place around me are a tad TOO interesting.

Looks as if I'm not the only one who finds coffee shops and coffee shop sounds motivating:

How The Hum Of A Coffee Shop Can Boost Creativity - by Anahad O'Connor in The New York Times

Why Some Of Us Get More Done At Coffee Shops - by Kevin Purdy on Lifehacker

Coffitivity Plays Ambient Coffee Shop Noise To Boost Your Productivity - by Melanie Pinola on Lifehacker

For others who like coffee shop sounds in the background while they work, here's one solution:

Coffitivity: Just opening up the website page will start up the sounds of a coffee shop, and you can also get free apps for iOS, Droid and Mac desktop. I prefer the latter because I don't like having my browser open while working because it's too tempting to "just check one more website."

There are choices of other sounds as well, like a campus cafe and lunchtime lounge. Coffitivity has also invited the community to submit sounds to share, so I expect we'll get more choices soon.

How about the rest of you? Do you prefer silence? If not, what do you like to listen to while you work? I'd appreciate you taking a few minutes to answer my 1-2 multiple question poll: Do you prefer background noise while you work?

I'll post results in an upcoming Inkygirl post.

Reader Comments (2)

I usually prefer it to be super silent when I am trying to concentrate on a project. But as my project evolves, I like a little background music. I haven't tried the coffee shop background sounds, since we live so far from town. I can see were the Coffitivity App could be useful.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAkiko White

Deb, I have a Spanish language CD I listen to, and "Lullabies from the Axis of Evil" has great non-English language stuff I listen to -- but then, you're right, after a point, it can have you tearing your hair. I find that I need that silence... And a Psychology Today piece last year confirms it: for some kinds of creative work, multitasking can really slow you down. So, while this Lunchtime Bustle soundtrack is soothing, I don't think it'll be helping me write. It's probably different for illustrators, to a certain extent...? I'm very interested in this, thanks for doing it!

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertea

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