I truly don’t think this post could be more timely. A large majority of us are working from home — more now than ever — and we don’t really know when we won’t be… for the foreseeable future, at least.
Anyone that has worked from home for a while will know that it’s a good idea to have a few playlists that you regularly listen to in order to stay focused. I’m sure this is the same for those who work in offices or co-working spaces, but I find it’s especially useful when you work from home.
Whether it’s the garbage truck, your loud neighbours or your pets looking for attention, there’s always something that is threatening to disrupt your productivity. Personally, I find the latter to be the most distracting, but I also have a tendency to hear the tiniest noise and feel the need to get up and investigate, should the cats be holding a poor lizard hostage or should a random person off the street feel the need to pop into our backyard for no apparent reason. Listening to music stops that process from occurring, and I feel as though I am not home and can truly focus on the task at hand.
I used to listen to podcasts while I worked, but began to find that they made me slightly less efficient than I knew I could be. Also, as a large percentage of my day is spent writing or coming up with ideas, the sound of one or two people talking often distracts the natural thought process, making each task go on for way longer than it should.
It was then that I discovered how useful instrumental music can be for productivity. There are no words, so you won’t be distracted by an off-the-cuff curse word or “and then she murdered her aunt with a wheelbarrow!” There’s also a rhythm to instrumental music — yes, even if it’s classical — which can help you find your groove while working and help push you along. Finally, I think the most evident bonus of listening to music while you work is the sound barrier it creates to the outside world. No more getting distracted by day-to-day noises, outside conversations and needy pets.
Here are my favourite Spotify playlists for productivity. I recommend investing in a Spotify Premium membership to avoid getting distracted with ads, but it’s really up to you and what works best for your productivity.
Writing Music for Focus — especially great if you’re writing a more thoughtful piece or something quite moody.
Autumn Classical — a beautiful playlist that I listen to in the afternoons alongside a cup of tea.
Winter Classical — this one is ideal for evening work, which I do try to keep to a minimum, but sometimes needs must. Especially great with noise cancelling headphones.
Brain Food — Spotify describes this playlist as ‘hypnotic electric’, which isn’t really my usual go-to, but I do find myself listening to this playlist when working on an especially difficult or finicky task, like website coding or marketing material design. The repetitive nature of the electronic music really just narrows your focus to the task at hand, without making you feel stressed or overwhelmed. It’s great.
Café con Leche — beautiful Spanish lyrical music with a relaxed vibe. I listen to this when I’m working on editing and design tasks that are a bit less intense, and it makes me feel like I’m sitting in a cosy café with my laptop, a strong coffee and some sort of sugary treat, which is especially useful right now as that’s all I want to be doing.
Piano in the Background — this is probably the playlist I listen to the most. It suits almost any kind of work and makes me feel reassured, which is an odd thing for music to do, but very much welcomed at a time like this.
Reading Soundtrack — another versatile playlist filled with beautiful and calm music. This one can make me feel a little sleepy sometimes, because the music is so calming, but I think it’s a nice option for moments when you feel so overwhelmed that you can’t function. Pour yourself a cup of tea and pop this playlist on for 30 minutes to bring yourself back down to earth.
Are you someone that listens to instrumental music while you work? Do you have any Spotify playlist recommendations for me?