Skip to content

Boosting Your Creativity with Just Enough Noise

When I was in college, I couldn’t study in the library. The silence-that-wasn’t-really silence amplified sibilant whispers, scratching pens and rustling papers. So distracting. I found that continuous sounds that blended together were far better for studying.


Not too long ago, after noticing that it was easier to be creative in a coffee shop than in a quiet office, Justin Kauzer and ACe Callwood decided to help us all out by recording just the right coffee shop noises that we can listen to as we work.

They recommend playing Coffitivity (free) and your music at the same time, with your music a little louder than the café sounds.

There’s some evidence that what we need for the best creative results is the Goldilocks of ambient noise: not too soft, not too loud (see Mehta, Zhu & Cheema, 2012).

Coffitivity went up in March 2013, and by June they were written up in the New York Times. They won a salute from Time in May with a place on their list of 50 Best Websites for 2013.

I’m listening while writing this post, and I especially like hearing the low coffee shop sounds between songs. Thankfully, Coffitivity does not include loud banging of espresso presses, which I appreciate very much. In addition to the soft, blended quality of the noise level, I also feel a little like I’m around other people without having to leave my office.

Want the coffee shop ambiance while working in a beige cube farm (with headphones) or at home in your jammies? Try Coffitivity. Friendly sounds and a boost in creativity. Easy to like.


Audio: Library Background Noise for Relaxation
I tried listening to this while writing this post. It quickly drove me a little crazy.

Article: Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition

Site: Coffitivity

List: 50 Best Websites 2013—Coffitivity

Post: How the Hum of a Coffee Shop Can Boost Creativity

Disclosure: Some links on this site are “affiliate links,” which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something.
  • Thanks for your post. That’s an interesting audio mix. I’m looking forward to the version that can totally block/remove a beat (such as pop beats played in coffee shops). Research has determined that the wrong attributes of a beat — such as those of a pop beat with an incessant high treble and a sharpness (grating) — can be dangerous to the mind. And of course you recognize that a loud banging is dangerous and is anti-productive. I’m pleased that Coffitivity has pleasant ambient noise — not the kind of dangerous noise we hear in coffee shops and retail stores.

    • ajeanne

      You’re welcome. I’m hoping they’ll make some similar-but-different recordings for variety.

  • Pingback: Jeanne Farrington › Cope | Fend | Hack | Get a Grip—Part 1()

  • Pingback: Jeanne Farrington › Should You Listen to Music While You Work?()