Productivity is a term that's highly prized, often amongst the most trending tags on platforms like Medium.
People nowadays want the best productivity hacks right now. They go at length trying to understand the most effective ones - yet most of us underestimate the power of silence, particularly when working on creative tasks.
Working in complete silence enables:
- having better focus, as concentration is impaired by various types of office noise such as phones ringing and people talking
- the brain to recuperate from noisy and stressful environment
- feel less fatigue than in an open plan office, while having to filter different noises
This preference differs for people though. Some employees can't work in complete silence; they need at least a form of background noise - like people talking - to be more engaged or creative in their work. This also allows to be more social than being alone in an office cabin.
I enjoy working in an Open Plan Office or in a Coffee Shop with buzzing people, albeit for a repetitive or simple list of tasks such as correcting the CSS alignments of certain elements of a screen. I usually even listen to entertaining podcasts.
I, however, prefer the opposite when working on complex tasks. I prefer complete silence when planning, writing or programming. Even a drop of water might smear my ability to stay in the zone. I cannot work to my full potential when surrounded by people. I get easily distracted by their babbling - concerning work or not. And in such a setting, I am most likely to be interrupted, which breaks my state of flow.
A way I try to mitigate this situation is by breaking tasks into a set of smaller ones and work on one part at a time. I try to clearly describe the steps, what needs to be done and where have I reached. With this information, I don't struggle having to understand what I am doing each time I lose focus or is distracted.