Listening to music while working is somewhat of a divisive topic for those who take pride in their productivity. Should you shut yourself into a realm of silence while working, or is it ok to crank up the radio and sing along to your favorite jams?
The answer is not as simple as you may think, though it is perfectly logical: some people prefer to listen to music while they work, while others need silence to concentrate.
The good news is that for those who prefer to listen (or sing along) to their favorite beats to stay focused is that there are a lot of great options for fresh playlists every day of the workweek. Check out the songs below to identify ways to update your working from home playlist.
You’ve likely heard that listening to classical music while you study helps you focus and can even increase students’ retention of their material. Will the same scenario at work cause you to be more productive while working in your home office? It’s possible! Instrumental classical music is extremely versatile and varied: it can be used for relaxation, sleep, energy, and focus. Below are three tracks that may help you wake up in the morning.
1. Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in A”
Have you ever sat down at your desk and felt as though you were about to fall asleep despite your two cups of coffee and a full night’s rest? Use this energizing, happy sonata to turn on those creaky gears in your brain on those slow mornings. A fair warning to those with small children, however: This bouncy tune may bring to mind all those baby learning videos that you thought you’d erased from your memory!
2. Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1”
If you’re the type of person who prefers sipping hot coffee while watching the leaves fall in the middle of the countryside, you will likely love this slow, inspiring song while you work. Though it sounds sleepy in the beginning, the tentative notes soon transition into an inspiring and emotional melody.
3. Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”
You don’t have to love a good wedding march to enjoy this classic canon. The cello intro and warm orchestrations will help you feel calm and relaxed as you get down to business.
So you’ve exhausted your classical playlist and you want to move on to more wordless — but not tuneless — melodies. If you and your spouse or roommate share a work-from-home space and you clash on musical tastes (as well as whether the music should feature a singer or not), you may be able to compromise by playing the following instrumental covers of these popular songs.
4. Sia’s “Chandelier”
As an early 2010s favorite, this haunting song was what catapulted Sia to international fame. You’ll likely recognize the melody even if you’ve never followed the artist. An instrumental rearrangement of the original will get you pumped up and ready to work on whatever project you’ve allotted for the day.
5. Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”
This relaxing, beautiful melody will bring to mind one of your favorite songs, but if you are distracted by Ed (and possible Beyoncé, depending on the version) singing at you while you are trying to concentrate, you may enjoy an acoustic cover of one of the popular singer’s most famous songs more than you would the original while you focus.
6. Maroon 5’s “Memories”
This sentimental tune is just the right balance of melody and wordless guitar sequences to provide the ideal background listening for your home office. Be warned, though: you might find yourself singing along to this easy-listening favorite.
If you’re a fan of electronica, techno, or house mixes, you’re likely a fan of listening to this genre — preferably through noise-canceling headphones to really feel the dance beats — while you work. For those who prefer to listen to faster, bass-backed rhythms, dance music may be the playlist unicorn you’ve been looking for.
7. Erik Pryde’s “Pjanoo”
The up-tempo Pjanoo is just the right mix of electronica and yes, you guessed it: piano instrumentals. This is a perfect song for individuals who would like to add faster songs to their playlist that reflect the energy of their day while not distracting themselves with vocals.
8. Maison & Dragen’s “Rio de Janeiro”
This energizing electronic song will be like caffeine to your brain if you’ve just switched from listening to slow meditative tunes or calming acoustic playlists. If you need a musical pick-me-up without vocals, this song can be combined with Pjanoo to give you a few minutes of recharging while switching projects or completing a section of work.
9. Deadmau5 feat. Chris James’ “The Veldt”
This song features smooth vocals from Chris James that blend into Deadmau5’s signature heavy beats. Though the melody contains words, the song is mellow enough to blend into the background of your workday while keeping you energized and focused.
10. Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train”
Even if you aren’t familiar with many jazz classics, you’ll certainly recognize this one from Duke Ellington. It’s old-timey melody and horn arrangements will have you dancing at your desk as you complete your work.
11. Charlie Parker’s “The Yardbird Suite”
Charlie Parker is an iconic name in jazz, and this song captures everything he’s famous for: The improvised riffs, the bright melodies, and the energy of the era. Make sure to find a high-quality, remastered recording for the best listen.
12. The Talented Mr. Ripley Soundtrack
This award-winning soundtrack from the movie set in the 1950s jazz-era Italy features songs from jazz greats like the above two artists as well as a few original compositions. Even if you have never seen the movie (or you never plan to), its soundtrack is well worth the listen.
Sometimes we all could use a little break from work. If you’re not one who likes vocals during your actual work time, use the below songs to recharge, get you in the mood to finish work, or give your brain a three-minute rest from its workflow.
13. Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train”
Ok, so this 80’s throwback is a little cheesy, but what’s better for getting you in the mood to work than a song about going to work? This is a great starter song for your playlist as it will begin your day on a high note and give you a smile before you sit down to productivity.
14. BTS’s “Dynamite”
For those who need a K-pop-infused brain break, check out this popular Korean boyband. Their colorful melodies (and clothes) will have you singing along and replaying this song for the next hour!
15. One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”
If you have a love of boybands, this feel-good pop song will provide you with a much-needed recharge after a long day. Check out the rest of their first album if you need a throwback on your lunch break.
16. Cora Zea’s “Afternoon Spirits”
This soothing melody features wind chimes and piano. It’s perfect for concentrating on a quiet morning or wrapping up your work at the end of the day without breaking your focus streak.
17. Enno Aare’s “Ella’s Lullaby”
Discover great artists where you’d least expect them. This Spotify artist has been somewhat reclusive in past years, but this hasn’t stopped him from producing great calming music that can be used for meditation, studying, or productivity.
18. Alexis French’s “Dreamland”
This classically-trained pianist composes haunting melodies that both relax and inspire. Check out his new album which features the above song as well as classics like “Bluebird” and “Last Song” to be transported to a calming fantasy world while you focus.
These special frequencies, when played under music, are supposed to improve your sleep, your concentration, and your mood. Try them for yourself and see: They’re best listened to with a pair of high-quality headphones that block out extraneous background noise.
19. Syncrophonic’s “Creature”
If you’ve got some mental heavy lifting to do, get inspired with this purposeful, slightly ominous song in the background. If the beats work, you will likely feel both productive and focused throughout its duration.
20. The Monotone Dancer’s “Limbo”
This song features a low tone to start and transitions into including a higher, flutelike melody. It includes the binaural beats underneath, but you may not even notice them as they disappear into the song.
21. Shaman’s “Energizer”
It may be strange to think of a slow song as energizing, but try this song with hidden binaural beats and see what you think about whether it improves your alertness at work. It’s reminiscent of an ocean crashing onto shore again and again while lifting you up with a calming melody.
Overall, the type of playlist you choose to curate will be based on your individual musical tastes, the type of work you’re accomplishing, and your current mood. Browse The Flexible Professional’s blogs to discover more great tips and advice for working from home, maximizing productivity, and identifying your ideal work-life balance while creating a career from home.