Why You Should Work in Silence
I read this a while ago in The Atlantic and didn't want to believe it:
"Studies show that for most types of cognitively demanding tasks, anything but quiet hurts performance.”
The whole article is good, but that's the main idea.
I love listening to music while working. I can usually remember what I am working on by the song that was playing at the time. I remember working in the darkroom on a print that won contest back in 1995. How did I know it was 1995? Three new albums were playing on repeat while I was printing: Astro Creep 2000, Balance, and Waiting for the Punchline.
These days I have instrumentals or thunderstorms playing while I'm working. But, after reading this, I tried silence for a while. Then, I went back and forth comparing the quantity and quality of my work.
Turns out, at least for me, the article is accurate: I work better in silence.
But I have more fun with sound.
I suppose the answer is to weigh your priorities at the time (heavily biased towards fun), and never ever work in an open office.