While some of us need absolute quiet to be productive at work, others prefer some background noise, whether it’s classical music, indie rock, or something else entirely. Earlier this year, Kat talked about her favorite music for different moods and situations (and readers discussed theirs in the comments), and in the past we’ve discussed wearing headphones at the office and how to be productive when you work in an open office. Today we’ll round up some Spotify playlists that are perfect for the workday. Here are five that can help you get your work done:
Description: “Get into a morning flow with this focus playlist.”
Length: 39 songs; 3 hours 11 minutes
This playlist is filled with slow, mellow music, mostly without vocals/lyrics (which is helpful if words make music too distracting for you when you’re working — that seems to be the case with a lot of people). Listening to this might even calm you down if you’re feeling stressed about work or personal stuff (but I won’t promise anything). Two sample tracks are “Hibernation” by Random Forest and “Breathturn” by Hammock.
Description: “Keep calm and focus. This playlist has some great, atmospheric rock to help you relax and concentrate.”
Length: 112 songs; 8 hours 29 minutes
Here’s some more slow and relaxing music for your workday, again without vocals. Your brain will likely be able to keep these sounds in the background and help you focus on the task at hand, while the song and band names will either seem poetic or laughable, depending on your tastes and mood. (Examples: “Gusts of Wind Blowing in Different Directions” and “In Collusion with the Waves.”) Two sample tracks are “Passage” by Lowercase Noises and “Petrichor” by At the End of Times, Nothing. (Speaking of poetic, here’s a fun fact: “Petrichor” refers to the smell of dry, dusty ground when rain falls.)
Description: “Music to help you concentrate and stay focused during your most intense studying sessions.”
Length: 100 songs; 13 hours 15 minutes
This playlist is the only one of the five listed here that contains classical music, and it has a lot of it: 13 hours’ worth. The composers include Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Chopin, and you’ll find some more recent music as well — pieces by Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich. I don’t think this one needs “sample tracks” included — you get the picture. (To counteract that huge list of male composers, here is another Spotify playlist for your workday: Women of Classical, at 50 songs, 7 hours 36 minutes.)
Description: “Banging tracks with Ravitez and Afrojack, b2b!”
Length: 56 songs; 3 hours 25 minutes
As you can tell from Spotify’s description, this playlist is a little different from the three above. It’s full of electronic music, originals and remixes from artists like Calvin Harris and DJ Snake (don’t worry if those names don’t mean anything to you) with energetic beats to keep you motivated and repetition to help you focus. Two sample tracks are “Tell Me Why” by Sagan and “Everything Changed” by DBSTF.
Description: “Feed your brain with hypnotic electronic”
Length: 140 songs; 9 hours 49 minutes
Like the last playlist I mentioned, this one gives you lots of electronic music — but these tracks have less of a club/party feel and more of a chillout atmosphere (probably self-explanatory, but here’s a link anyway), so in other words, it probably won’t inspire you to get up and dance at your desk. You’ll find dubstep, electropop, and general dance/electronic music on this playlist; two sample tracks are “Creep” by deadmau5 and “Mimosa” by Psychedelic Stereo.
What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to while you’re working? Do you have a subscription to Spotify (and if so, what’s your favorite Spotify playlist?), do you use Pandora, or do you just listen to your own music? Or, do you prefer not to listen to anything while you’re at the office?
I love spotify’s RetroWave/Outrun playlist. It’s 80’s/video game shooter inspired electronic, and its fantastic for getting focused on a project. It’s also over 100 songs long, so i don’t have to worry about a whole lot of repetition during the workday.
Myrna tuned me into Spotify. I have the premium subscription b/c I like to download and choose my song’s, and it is better then itunes exept I have to buy Taylor Swift’s stuff anyway. FOOEY! But it is worth it. Myrna finished the marathon, but has had a bone spur ever since, so I can NOT get a ride out to LI this weekend b/c she is getting examined by a Doctor at the Special Surgery Hospital. I hope all goe’s well with her. Mabye she will meet and MARRY a doctor!!! YAY!!!!
I work in a very open office, and can’t listen to music when I’m trying to concentrate. Even classical is too much.
I’m a huge fan of white noise, and have the Noisli app. I crank up the nature sounds and can then get ALL the work done! Love it. I think I got the Noisli tip from someone here, so thanks, whoever you are!
+1 on this – music is great for a task that doesnt’ require a high level of concentration. But if I really want to get things done, Noisli is my go to – thunderstorms, wind or maybe a crackling fire mean I can really get down to business.
Crackling Fire + Coffeeshop! Imagine the people fleeing in terror!
Spotify’s Mellow Beats playlist is one of my favorites. It’s low-key instrumental hip-hop – I did so much work during law school while listening to it.
I’m currently listening to Revision Ballads which is pretty mellow. A bit like music they’d play in a waiting area. Music I listened to in high school (Green Day, Weezer, stuff like that) is weirdly relaxing for me. Maybe because the songs are familiar enough that they don’t require any mental engagement / remind me of long drives?
For those of you who like acoustic guitar, “Indie Folk for Focus” is my go-to work playlist.
Oh it’s so good! Listening to it right now!
Any Outlaw Country playlist. Everything else, even classical or “mellow” stuff, is too distracting. It may be like Cb said above, that the songs are familiar enough that they don’t require any mental engagement, plus they put me in a good (and productive) mood.
Dubstep was my go to study music. It sounds absurd but really works for me.
Sounds absurd that it works for focusing, not that the music sounds absurd. Although I’m sure people think that too.
I have a “French hip hop” playlist on Spotify–it’s got a good beat but I don’t understand the words, so I don’t get caught up in them!
I listened to a lot of classical music when studying for law school but when I was studying for the bar I discovered that movie soundtracks were amazing, specifically Superhero Soundtracks. Any of the Marvel/DC music was always good for keeping me focused and feeling like I was doing something important.
I listened to the Harry Potter soundtracks during bar prep.
But also, Hamilton. It’s honestly a miracle I passed the bar; I don’t know how all of my brain wasn’t taken up by Hamilton lyrics. I have the entire soundtrack memorized now and have forgotten most of the bar prep material.
Somafm.com has several electronica stations that got me through a lot of studying – you can really dial all the way up or down how involved or minimal you want the music to be; just read the station descriptions. Also, their XMas in Frisko station is one of my favorite parts of the season and is on non-stop in my house throughout the holidays.
Tech Comm Geek
For me, it depends on what kind of work I’m doing. If I’m writing, I do better with classical music without English words. My favorite Spotify playlists there are Medieval and Essence of Renaissance.
If I’m doing spreadsheets or other analysis work, then I want the Focus mood playlists on Spotify. Concentration is one of my favorites.
Country Coffeehouse is my go-to
This would out me...
Great post and thread – am saving these recommendations! Back in undergrad, I listed to the soundtrack of “Mirror has Two Faces” on repeat, it was like an instant concentration button. Drove my roomies mad though…
“Chillstep” is a playlist that is really similar to all of these and is one of my other go tos