Interestingly, creative cognition occurs best with a moderate amount of ambient noise (not too much and not too little), according to a 2012 article from Journal of Consumer Research.
Abstract: This paper examines how ambient noise, an important environmental variable, can affect creativity. Results from five experiments demonstrate that a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products. A high level of noise (85 dB), on the other hand, hurts creativity. Process measures reveal that a moderate (vs. low) level of noise increases processing difficulty, inducing a higher construal level and thus promoting abstract processing, which subsequently leads to higher creativity. A high level of noise, however, reduces the extent of information processing and thus impairs creativity.
Trick of the Trade:
Add moderate ambient noise by using Coffitivity website
Plug your earphones on and listen to ambient noise from a virtual coffee shop. I used this all day yesterday, answered tons of emails, and even wrote this post. It's worth a try for those you trying to boost your creative and productive energy. Let me know what you think.
Caveat #1: You need internet access.
Caveat #2: Don't use the site if you are doing internet shopping -- "increases the buying likelihood of innovative products"