When I'm concentrating, I'm almost completely oblivious to whatever is going on around me. So as long as I can work someplace where I won't get stepped on, or run over, I'm fine.
Getting to the point where I can
concentrate that deeply, however, is a little more challenging.
Most ambient noises don't other me. The notable exception is screaming or fussing children. Don't know if it's some latent maternal instinct - or just primate male cussedness - but any commotion involving or surrounding children jumps right to the front of my brain and stays there until it's resolved.
I'm perfectly happy with complete silence, or social ambient sounds. A quiet restaurant is probably my favorite setting. First, because you can get food and do a little flirting. Second, because I find the sound of muted conversation to be soothing and oddly stimulating to whatever muse I happen to be courting. Coffee shops are OK too except for the sound of milk being steamed for cappuccino. That sound is bloody annoying! Especially when you have baristas
that either don't know what they're doing - or decide to make a career out of it.
Music does NOT work for me.
In common with many other pro and semi-pro musicians, I cannot simply listen to (or ignore) music when it's being played. I'll immediately start analyzing, evaluating, critiquing, and processing it. If I don't know the piece, I'll subconsciously try to learn it. If I do know it, I'll mentally play along - or even worse, start playing with
And while it's great fun to come up with new and interesting musical ideas ("Hey, I want to try doing that Gregorian Chant on bagpipes and baritone sax!" -or- "Did you ever notice how you can interweave Ravel's Bolero
with Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic
- and it works
?") it doesn't help too much when you're trying to finish an essay on deadline.
Good lighting is important. My eyes, never that great to begin with, need all the help they can get. The important thing is it not be too bright
because I'm very light sensitive.
Top quality ergonomic furniture is a plus I suppose. Wouldn't really know because I've never owned any. I have a 'good' desk and a 'good' chair. I'm happy with both. Although that may only be because I don't know any better. If I ever get clear enough to where I can comfortably blow a few grand on office furnishings I'll have to check it out. Or maybe not.
The occasional unexpected shoulder rub or cup of Earl Grey delivered by a pretty redhead (with bouncy little dog in tow) is also a welcome and very necessary addition to my work environment.
But that's a topic for a whole discussion by itself.