There’s no one magical playlist you can find and share with your co-workers to become the most productive company in the world. Trust me, if it existed, I would’ve found it by now. However, listening to the right music has been proven to help people focus more intently and stay focused for longer periods of time.
For example, classical music has been proven to help retain information, reduce anxiety, and result in lower blood pressure. Although this is true, it may not be the most accurate response because it’s a generic response. How I see it is that you need to listen to music that doesn’t have any surprises; meaning nothing that is new to your ears and nothing that’s distracting or intense.
New or intense music takes more energy to listen to than something simpler or something you’ve heard a hundred times before. You’re listening for lyrics, what’s coming next, and the journey that songs can take you on.
The truth is, the best focus playlist you can listen to is the one that works for you.
For example, my focus playlist is 13 blissful hours of slow, primarily acoustic songs. Unfortunately, I have made it to the end of that playlist in one sitting before, but I also stayed focused for 13 straight hours, and that’s no small feat. I started building my playlist in high school, and every time I need to focus on something, no matter the task, I put it on. The beauty in only having one focus playlist is that I’ve conditioned my brain to kick in when I hit that play button. It knows after a few songs that we’ll probably be there for a while, and it’s time to put our game face on.
Everybody’s been there. Your office is buzzing with noises and distractions. You have six hours of work to do and it’s already after lunch. If only there were a way to tune it all out… Trying to find a good playlist will be nearly impossible and definitely time consuming. You need to be prepared when panic strikes. Staying cool under pressure can make you an irreplaceable asset to your team.
Staying focused is a hard thing to do, but it’s not going to become any easier if you don’t try to make it easier. You should start building your focus playlist with music you’re familiar with, but that doesn’t get you excited. Unfortunately, your favorite songs are a no-go. Dive into your music library and pick out songs you know forwards and backwards that will be easy to ignore. Refine your playlist, make it perfect, add to it when you find something that fits, and take songs out when you’re sick of them or they’re just not working for you. Keep it fresh to keep yourself motivated.
If you don’t know where to start looking or your music library is so vast it would take you weeks to comb through it, you have a few options...
Spotify has a browse feature that allows you to select a genre/mood, and “Focus” is an option. There, you will find pre-assembled focus playlists in a variety of genres. Some other good categories in the browse feature are Chill, Sleep, Folk & Americana, Jazz, and Blues.
Pandora is a good place to start if you have a specific artist in mind; it creates a radio station of the song/artist name you type in, and plays songs that are similar to it.
Good luck, and remember: a playlist that works for one may not work for another. Have fun creating your own that works best for you!