Sound or Silence - Sound or Silence – What do you listen to while you work

Sound or Silence – What do you listen to while you work?

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What someone listens to while they work can vary from task to task.  Some people can’t concentrate without loud pop music blaring, yet other people lose concentration with the slightest sound.

Headphones with a yellow background

What you listen to, or what you may not listen to, may all depend on the type of work you are doing. This is definitely the case for me. Having a house full of children and pets creates a loud environment most of the time, so having some quite when I am alone is something that is very desirable personally. However, a lot of people hate silence. They constantly will have some sort of background noise, whether it be music, the tv, or even a dehumidifier for some white noise.

My favourite source of music or background noise is satellite radio. I have had a subscription to SiriusXM for over 10 years and have loved every minute of it. I listen in my car, on my phone, and at my desk. There is a channel for everything and everyone. Here are the things that I like to listen to according to the type of task I am undertaking. Maybe one of my suggestions may be the right fit for you!

Office Work

When I am checking emails, invoicing, or bookkeeping, I generally listen to talk radio. My host of choice is Howard Stern. He may not be for everyone, but I have been a fan for over a decade and I can’t get enough of his show. Listening to Howard Stern when I am completing administrative tasks is the perfect thing to listen to because even though I am doing work, I can still listen, and concentrate on my tasks at the same time. I am completing work, but also being entertained so the time passes by more quickly.

Creative Work

A person holding a paintbrush in one hand and a pencil in the other, covered with paint.

When I am trying to bring out the creator in me and trying to brainstorm or come up with creative ideas, I usually have to listen to some softer, quieter music. I will often choose folk music, alternative pop, or spa music. Believe it or not, SiriusXM offers a channel that plays the very music you hear at the spa. This soothing music does not put me to sleep when I am sitting at my desk, but it relaxes me enough to be able to be calm and creatively productive. It’s not for everyone, but for me, it works!


When I am doing research for work, for me personally, or for this blog, I tend to listen to a few different genres of music. Sometimes I listen to the current pop hits. Other times I listen to alternative rock stations. But most times I enjoy listening to cover music. There is a channel on SiriusXM called ‘The Covers’ and all they play are…covers! I love this channel because I get to hear some of my favourite songs sung in ways I have never heard before. And doing research is the perfect task to listen to this music while doing!


A person writing in a notebook with a pen

When I am writing, whether it be a blog post, a long draft of an email, or anything else that is long-form, I listen to….NOTHING. In order to get the perfect words to flow out of my brain, I need complete silence. Any distraction will kick me off track. Writing is one of those tasks where my brain needs my full attention and if my mind has the opportunity to drift away from me by getting distracted by music or noise, then it sure will.


A married woman is cutting up fresh spices on a cutting board with a large knife.

My family loves to listen to specific genres or types of music when we are cooking dinner, or eating together. We either listen to Billy Joel, The Tragically Hip, Country, 80’s music, 90’s rap or country. No matter what we are cooking or eating, 99% of the time it’s one of those styles. We have an Amazon Echo so one of us will ask Alexa to play one of those genres and she will pick the perfect playlist.

Cleaning/Folding Laundry

A roll of paper towel and a spray bottle of glass cleaner.

Again, talk radio is the thing that I like to listen to while cleaning or folding laundry. I don’t really enjoy doing either of these tasks so anything to distract me and take my mind off of it is what I will listen to. Howard Stern is my talk radio host of choice yet again.

So, are you like me where what you listen to depends on the task? Is it loud rock or pop music while you work? Soft sweet tones while you are writing? Or does talk radio distract you from the mundane chores of cleaning and folding laundry as they do for me. Hopefully, my preferences give you some inspiration for what you could listen to while completing the many tasks we may be faced with!

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