When you’re buckling down to get through a hefty to-do list, the environment that you’re in has a huge impact on your ability to concentrate and work efficiently. Think about it: How much do you really get done if you can overhear office gossip from a few feet away? Are you motivated to respond to emails or start a new project when all your co-workers are talking about Game of Thrones?
Considering the ever-increasing popularity of open offices, it can be as easy to collaborate as it is difficult to focus. With so many potential distractions nearby (like ahem, those Game of Thrones spoilers), sometimes the task at hand requires your full attention in order to do it well.
Luckily, there are a lot of ambient background tracks you can listen to in order to create a more relaxing environment for yourself. While just the word ambient may make you think of hold music, Fast Company cites research that says “a moderate level of ambient noise actually does boost creativity for most people.”
So, whether you’re feeling too excited to sit still or too tired to concentrate, one of these tracks listed below can help you into the right mindset for productivity.
1. If You’re Feeling Leisurely: Listen to Now Relax
A simple soundtrack and photo series of water scenes, Now Relax can bring you into the midst of a mountainous waterfall, a peaceful pond, or the beach at sunset. By immersing yourself in soothing nature sounds, you will gradually become more alert and energized, so you can speed up your workflow and still make it out of the office by 5 PM.
2. If You’re Feeling Distracted: Listen to SimplyNoise
Whether it’s incessant office chatter or disruptive construction work, it can feel impossible to focus on the task at hand when you can barely hear yourself think. That’s where SimplyNoise comes in—the platform offers white, pink, or brown noise that tunes out everything so you can focus on what matters most. What is pink noise? You’ll have to click to find out.
3. If You’re Feeling Uninspired: Listen to Coffitivity
The café backdrop and low chatter are an ideal balance of stillness and activity, the perfect environment to boost creativity. Backed by science and loved by a community of creatives, Coffitivity might be the pick-me-up you need to brainstorm ideas for your next project.
4. If You’re Feeling Motivated: Listen to CODING.FM
What can be more encouraging than the idea that everyone around you is hard at work, too? Enter CODING.FM: noise loops of typing on a keyboard offered at different intensities. Categorized as Monday morning coding, Hackathon coding, and Angry dev coding, these soundtracks will definitely immerse you in a serious work setting.
5. If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: Listen to Rainy Mood
Well-known and widely used while sleeping, studying, and relaxing, the rainy soundtrack of Rainy Mood can help calm you down when your mind is going in all directions. Forget what people say about dreary days—they’re actually a great opportunity to get ahead on work.
6. If You’re Feeling Peaceful: Listen to Osmosis
A sequence of meditative hums and relaxing bell sounds can help you maintain your feeling of peace and calm. Osmosis also offers directions for humming along, which can relax your breathing and clear your mind.
7. If You’re Feeling Stressed: Listen to Calm
While there are plenty of ways to manage stress long-term, there are lots of days when you need a quick fix. Select any soundtracks from a wide range of scenes like a fireplace, snowfall, or a grass field. If you’re still feeling anxious, Calm has more to offer than its relaxing nature-themed noise loops. The platform also provides basic meditation sequences for free, as well as more advanced options if you’re willing to spend a little money.
8. If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Listen to Noisli
Letting you mix a variety of different ambient noises, this one can be the perfect solution if you’re just not sure how you’re feeling, what you want to listen to, or what to do to get in the zone. Plug in your headphones to your personally customized settings, or hit random and let Noisli do all the work for you.
No matter what track suits your mood, it’s important to remember that atmosphere means everything when getting work done. It’s OK to need a change of scenery to help you refocus towards your goals, and that isn’t always an option when you’re holed up in the office or working from home. Ambient music tracks are a great option for experiencing a refreshing change pretty much immediately, no travel required.
TopicsTools & Skills , Productivity , Music , Break Room , Life Hacks , Focus , Syndication , The Muse Editor's Picks
Photo of headphones courtesy of Shutterstock.
Caroline Liu is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and computer programmer studying at Wesleyan University. She is pursuing majors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science in order to bridge her passions for tech, design, and social justice. Learn more about Caroline on her website or follow her on Twitter.More from this Author