Environment and productivity

What kind of environment is best for work? Do you work in such? When I worked for IBM I was confined in a cubicle in a big open-space.  It was an experience I don’t want to go through again. The environment was “noisy by default”, there was a continuous sound-spam of chatting people. It was really difficult to concentrate and be productive.  The only way how to avoid it was to put on headphones and listen to some music.  But still I was disturbed by IM notifications and other crap.

Now I work in a small office in a team of five people and I am totally happy.  Most of the time nobody talks and if then it is mostly work related.  There is often silence, the only thing you hear is fingers tipping the keyboard.  I guess I sound quite nerdy, but I really like it this way. I believe this is the only way how to be really productive. Talk little, avoid being disturbed (if possible) and focus on the task at hand.  Then take a break, read some short article, have a cup of tea, or a little walk in the office.  That helps. If I deliver nice code, I am happy. If I don’t then I don’t like myself. Really.  I am far from being a perfectionist, but I like good work. I find it satisfactory 🙂

What helps me focus and create something is good music.  I can not play any musical instrument but I am an enthusiastic listener. I am particularly fond of jazz music. I know it may sound as a contradiction because jazz is often difficult to listen to, but it helps me to write code. Jazz is so full of energy and surprising ideas, that it lifts me up. It inspires me.  I love Pat Metheny for example. Listen here. Is it beautiful?

So .. this is the kind of music I listen to when I code. Or when I need to get new ideas. Or just to sit back and relax 🙂

What kind of music do prefer to listen to when you work? Or do you prefer silence?