Ritalin For Your Ears: Soundtracks for Focus & Productivity

Did you know that (according to Noisli.com) the wrong sound environment makes you 66% less productive?  That’s why I’ve pulled together this list of resources for soundtracks that encourage focus and productivity.  Unless your office windows open to a mountain stream, you’re working amidst more noise pollution than you realize.  If you’re like me, even a quiet room is distracting, giving my mind a little too much room to play.  Here are some suggestions for sounds to help focus you while you work.  Do you routinely listen to something specific to help you focus?  Have additional app suggestions? Please add to the list in the comments below.

1. Coffitivity.com

Have you ever abandoned your office for a nearby cafe?  Turns out that it may have been more than a caffeine hit you were craving.  Just open coffitivity.com to virtually immerse yourself in the comforting hum of a coffee shop with free sound selections such as “University Undertones” and “Morning Murmur.”  No account required.

2. Yo-Yo Ma’s Cello Solos

One of my client’s described Yo-Yo Ma’s cello solos as "Ritalin for your ears.”  I’m listening to it as I write this and I can see why.  YouTube is a bottomless pit of Yo-Yo Ma, so start here for a solid hour of auditory Ritalin.

3. Noisli.com

Noisli.com is a background noise generator, allowing you to DJ mix your own blend of calming background sounds such as a crackling fire, forest critters, thunderstorms, and more.  They also have pre-mixed house blends for relaxation or productivity.  I welcome their weekly emails with new sound combinations.  Noisli is free.  No account required.  Account required to save custom mixes.  Check out Noisli  at noisli.com.

4. Just play the same song over and over again

Chase Reeves, Creative Director for fizzle.co shares a technique that I’m not willing to try because I think it would drive me mad, but do understand how it works wonders for some: play the same song over and over again.  He backs up the reasoning in his excellent article Three Tricks for Productivity and Focus

5. Classical Indian Flute

If you can endure the distraction of craving a plate at the nearest Indian buffet, fill your office with the sweet and savory sound of classical Indian flute instrumentals. I do.  A quick YouTube search for musician “Hariprasad Chaurasia” will take you there.  Start

6. Focusatwill.com

For those of you who need music that’s been scientifically proven to increase attention span and concentration, try steaming music service Focus at Will. Focus at Will was developed by a team comprised of an ADHD expert, UCLA professor, and neuroscientist.  Access their scientifically remastered library of instrumental music at focusatwilll.com.

7. Ticking of the Pomodoro Clock

When I really mean business, I use my Pomodoro app as I’m working in 25 minute spurts, as prescribed by the Pomodoro Technique.  The banal ticking of a clock (in conjunction with watching the timer) is the single most focusing sound I’ve used.

Have an app or soundtrack that you use to focus while you work?  Please share in the comments below!

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.