Are you more or less productive around others?

Some people say they're more productive when working around other people, while others say they get far more done when they're alone.

I can see the merits in both arguments when I assess how I work best.

When I see others working hard, it motivates me to do the same. On days that precede holiday weekends (like today), where many people tend to be out of the office, I often find myself struggling to muster the energy and interest to check things off my to-do list. With no supervisor around to watch over my shoulder, it's all too tempting to watch a YouTube video or check out what's on sale on Amazon and other sites.

On the flip side, if there is too much commotion in the immediate environment -- people constantly chatting and interrupting me -- it becomes very difficult to complete tasks. I need some quietness in order to think; otherwise, I end up doing things like reading the same sentence multiple times, thereby reducing my productivity a great deal.

Thus, the ideal work setting would be a moderately quiet one where everyone is hard at work, with the supervisor checking in every now and then (not too much, as that would smack of micromanagement).

Interestingly, I can be more productive while listening to music than when hearing people converse around me. While upbeat music helps pump me up and get the mental juices flowing, outside conversations can be awfully distracting, especially when people don't know when to stop talking. Such chit-chat is what I like to call "noise."

I long for the day I get my own office, but I can foresee my being tempted to slack off at times once I have liberty to close the door as I please.

Are you more or less productive around others? Do you prefer noisy or quiet working environments?

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