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Musically-Powered Workday: Playlists + Podcasts for Focus

Man using laptop and listening to music.

How do you feel when you listen to your favorite song?

You feel good right? That’s because music is healing.

Upbeat music can be a mood-booster, make you feel more positive, and help you let go of worries and cares. Soft, soothing music can relax you, calm your nervous system, and help you focus.

There are so many positive ways music can affect us, including making our workdays more productive and more fun.

Music can be beneficial for getting into a focused flow state. It’s great for cutting out distractions, boosting your mood, fine-tuning your focus, and enhancing your productivity. It’s pretty much the perfect, fix-all remedy you need for those days when your to-do list becomes difficult or tedious which, let’s be real, happens to all of us every now and again.

Working with music isn’t for everyone — some people love it, while others prefer working in total silence. At DotConnect, we love putting our favorite music, podcasts, or ambient noise in the background as a little extra pick-me-up for our workday.

Today, we’re bringing you our top recommendations of music, podcasts, and ambient noise to fuel your workday with tunes and soundscapes.

Best Music Playlists

Music is the background noise of choice for most of our team. In fact, we’re constantly sharing our recommendations for daily playlists, and our favorite artists on our team Slack channel. Sharing music preferences is one of the many ways we get to know one another a little better, even though we’re scattered all over the US and beyond!

Music is particularly useful for those who need a little extra spark to their workdays. Not only does it make you want to groove as you’re smashing your to-do list, but it is also particularly useful in enhancing creativity and increasing productive output in creative tasks.

So if you’re ready to blast some tunes during your next work session, here are some suggestions:

For When You Need Focus

Try putting on binaural beats that support creativity and concentration.

Binaural beats work by stimulating different parts of the brain to achieve specific brain wave states. Our brain waves operate at different frequencies when we’re in deep sleep, meditation, or stimulating activity. Binaural beat music is designed to support Alpha and Beta waves, which help you focus, boost creativity and problem-solving, and support a positive mood.

For the best binaural beats around, check out these free YouTube videos: IQ and Creativity Increase, Genius Frequency, and Get a Lot of Work Done.

For Those Moments When You’re Feeling Fancy

Classical music is one of the most tried and true genres for background sound.

There’s a reason the classics have stayed popular over time. Those perfectly sequenced sounds evoke beauty and peace of mind.

If you’re someone who wants to buy into the so-called Mozart Effect, you can try this playlist of non-stop Mozart melodies. Or, go for a composer catch-all with this “Classical Music for Studying” playlist.

For Those Times When Your Work Is Particularly Tedious

Put on something more upbeat!

Spotify has great playlists of mood-boosting tunes and funky rhythms that will leave you dancing in your desk chair. And YouTube offers fun, upbeat world music to make you feel like you’re on a vacation. Who doesn’t want that when you’re cleaning out the black hole that is your google drive?

Check out Motivation Mix, African Music, Congo to Cuba, Work From Home Mood Booster, and Work From Home Hits for some upbeat hits to keep you grooving all day.

For Stressful Days When You Just Need to Chill Out

We recommend playlists that heavily feature an acoustic guitar for those really relaxing rainy Sunday-in-a-coffee-shop vibes. Or you can go with soothing singing bowls, sound healing, or peaceful chanting.

Basically, any playlist that makes you smile but also keeps you grounded and calm will work here. You can opt for something fun and high energy, or go with something more mellow and soothing. Anything that gets you out of your head will work!

We love Tibetan bowls, Healing Frequency, Buddhist Meditation Music, Coffee + Chill, Cozy Coffee House, or Country Coffee House.

For Bookworms and Artists

Ever heard of “Light Academia” and “Dark Academia?” We hadn’t either until recently, but now it’s everywhere — in fashion, home decor, and especially in music.

The trend romanticizes studying literature and a culture of learning. While “Light Academia” (think Gilmore Girls) focuses on the more lighthearted and positive aspects of learning culture, “Dark Academia” celebrates a slightly moodier side — think Harry Potter. Folks who love these trends love listening to Light and Dark Academia playlists while writing or painting, and you can easily work to them.

Try the Light Academia With Calming Piano and A Dark Academia Playlist to Study to.

Best Podcasts

So what if you’re not the biggest fan of music, but you need something in the background to keep you from getting distracted? Podcasts will become your best friend.

Listening to podcasts is similar to working while watching TV, except the distracting visual component of watching TV is removed. Without the flashing screen distracting you, you’re way more likely to become entrenched in your task.

There are many benefits of listening to podcasts during your workdays, such as reduced stress levels and increased motivation. Not only that, if you’re able to absorb what the podcast is about as you’re doing work, you can even get a dose of inspiration from the subject material!

For Those Who Want to Stay on Top of the News

We highly recommend Up First and Consider This from NPR. Up First will give you the three major news headlines of the day in 10 minutes, while Consider This will break down and analyze a major news story in 15 minutes.

It’s a great way to kick off your morning tasks while getting the latest on everything happening in the world around you.

For Those Who Want to Learn New Things

We have to recommend the classic TED Talks Daily. Keep your brain sharp with stimulating discussion on everything from Artificial Intelligence to Zoology.

Every time you turn on this podcast you will learn something new, which gives you the opportunity to explore topics you had never been exposed to before.

For Those Who Want to Feel Inspired

We suggest you gravitate towards podcasts by your favorite thought leaders! For us, we really love listening to Seth Godin’s Akimbo Podcast and Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts. Thought leaders open you up to new possibilities and ideas, expanding your mind’s circuitry and helping you problem-solve from a new perspective.

For even more recommendations, check out this list from Real Simple this list from The Manual, and this list from The Muse.

Best Ambient Noise

Some people find music and podcast too distracting to work with — we get it. But you don’t have to work in total silence!

Ambient noise is a great option. It provides just enough background to keep you from sitting in silence, but not enough to distract you. Plus, it can help those of you who are tired of working from home feel like you’re in a different environment. Turn up the ambient noise and take a mental vacation from your worn-out office chair and the same view you have every day.

For those who love working in coffee shops

We have a couple of recommendations that make you feel like you’re working in a café for hours, without spending money on several overpriced lattes. If you’ve been craving change but are unable to physically relocate, let your imagination conjure the sights and sounds of an atmospheric café.

Make yourself a fresh cup of your favorite coffee and try rainy coffee shop, outdoor coffee shop, or busy coffee shop with soft jazz music.

For Harry Potter Fans

We highly recommend you check out these YouTube “Common Room Ambience” videos themed to each of the four houses! Sometimes having a playful, imaginative and fun setting can help you be more creative.

So, Gryffindors, Slytherins, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws, rejoice and go crazy!

For Outdoorsy People

Of course, we suggest you go for nature sounds. Escape your office and transport yourself to your favorite outdoor spot, such as the forest, beach, or, if you’re more into glamping, a rainy cabin in the mountains!

It’s entirely up to you and how you’re feeling.

For Those Who Live by the Pomodoro Technique

Try “Work-With-Me” YouTube videos!

In case you didn’t know, we’re big, big fans of the Pomodoro Technique here at DotConnect — we talk about it in this blog post about structuring your work week!

These “Work-With-Me” videos are a great option for those who are feeling a little isolated at home and tend to work better when surrounded by other people. They basically provide the same effect as working in the library — there is someone on screen, heads-down in their task, working with you and holding you accountable.

These videos take all the thinking out of following the Pomodoro Technique — the creators have already set all the timers for you! Here’s an example of 45-minute work/15 minute break Pomodoro sessions, and here’s one with 25-minute work/5 minute break Pomodoro sessions!

So before you start work tomorrow, queue up some of these suggestions to keep you going. And, before you know it, you’ll be finding your flow. Happy listening!

How DotConnect Can Help You Have a Happy Team

Feeling positive and having fun aren’t necessary to your work life, but they sure can help!

Finding ways to make yourself happy and motivated will make the day go that much faster and can even help you be more productive. That means it benefits you and your team. It’s a win-win!

Do you want help creating a team that makes you happy? We love creating positive work environments by recruiting awesome talent. We’ve partnered with businesses like NFL, DirectTV, and Snapchat, and we can do the same for you!.

While recruiters are typically just focused on filling roles, we find and nurture top talent and are skilled at identifying the personalities that will add to a thriving workplace. After all, it takes more than a full office to have a great company culture — you need the right humans.

And if you’re a job-seeker looking for your dream team, reach out to us!