How to Stay Focused While Working

Listen while you work. 🎵🎧

Do you ever sit down at your desk, fresh cup of coffee at your side, motivated to get stuff done and conquer the day . . . and realize that instead, you’re destined to be distracted by SO. MANY. THINGS?

Well, if you’ve never experienced that then you can mosey right along. But, if you HAVE been distracted at work before, then I suggest you stick around and hear me out.

I love efficiency and productivity, and my friends at NAPO can help you more directly with that but what I want to talk about today is music! I love using music to help me focus on my work, especially when there’s a lot going on around me.

I’m a fan of peace and quiet, but sometimes you just need a little bit of background noise. And I don’t mean ‘the-kids-are-home-for-a-year-because-of-a-pandemic’ kind of noise, but a nice flow of background music that occupies the part of our brain that tends to perk up when we hear the garbage truck go by, or your co-workers incredibly mundane but distracting nearby conversation — or if you’re like me and work from home, your husband’s incredibly mundane but distracting nearby Zoom call.

There are a variety of studies and articles that summarize the influence music has on the brain but the bottom line for our purposes is that it’s highly individualized. You’ll probably know right away whether music helps or hinders you, so this might not be for you. Personally, the right kind of music helps me focus during certain types of work.

The only problem is that I’m a writer and if I listen to music with words, I’ll end up typing Macklemore or Brandi Carlile lyrics all over the place. I haven’t really asked, but I’m pretty sure my clients don’t want that.

So my favorite instrumental music to listen to while working is movie scores. I’ve actually been doing this since my college days and have always loved movie scores, but there’s also a time and place for classical, yoga/meditation music, and just general instrumental. So because they help me so much, I’m sharing my playlists with you today. You’re welcome.

Movie Scores Spotify Playlist

Classical Spotify Playlist

Yoga/Meditation Spotify Playlist

Instrumental Spotify Playlist

Now, one thing to note is that I tend to lean toward melancholy music. I actually find it inspiring and beautiful, but if my playlist just feels like a big ol’ downer to you then at least you have a jumping-off point. Clearly, the possibilities are endless and you can find what fits your own personal taste. You’ll know right away if it helps you focus or — SQUIRREL!

So give these playlists a try and see if they help you focus when you’re working. And let me know in the comments what you love to listen to when you work!

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