Poll Results: Do you listen to music while you work?

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

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Our latest poll asked the question:

Do you listen to music while you work?

We got over 20,000 votes and a slew of written responses. The most popular answer? Always, with 45% of the vote. Here’s how the results panned out:

This means that 92% of people at least sometimes listen to music while they work.

It’s pretty surprising that 2% of people have no choice. I remember working at at least 3 jobs I’ve worked at where music was playing and I had no input as to what it was or how loud it was. Computer jobs too, I’m not even counting my food service or bar jobs which would double that number at least.

I fall into the “Sometimes (depends on situation)” category. If what I’m doing is “thinky” I need silence. If it’s light thinking, sometimes quiet, mostly-relaxed instrumental music is OK, but I don’t own an awful lot of that so it’s rare. Writing for me counts as thinky. JavaScript is definitely thinky.

If I’m doing something a little more mindless I can listen to music. Cutting a clipping path in a photo for example. Music me up. Or some light HTML and CSS work is OK. But if I’m trying to figure out a way to handle a layout or make some organizational decisions about CSS structure, that’s thinky again and I need silence.

The problem is that I’m often in and out of thinky phases. I rarely remember to turn music back on after leaving a thinky phase, so most of my day ends up in silence.

It’s not for lack of love of music though, that’s for sure. I listen to at least some music every day. I take pride in my collection (albiet all digital). I play music every day as well. Usually just practicing alone. Perhaps that factors into it. As an amateur musician at least some part of my brain is trying to analyze music which interferes with other thinky processes. Who knows.

6% of people said “Never” – I imagine some part of that is people who find it too distracting and some part is people that just don’t like music (they are out there).

New poll soon! I’m always accepting good ideas for polls as well.