Headphones. They’re the office-wide do-not-disturb symbol and metaphor for being in the zone. Because nothing says “Get it done!” like plugging in, firing up a playlist, and cutting off distractions from the outside world. Even science agrees that music makes us more productive.
But have you ever looked at that certain super-focused someone and wondered what was playing through their earbuds?
We have. So we asked 25 Typeformers around the office what music ups their efficiency, and why certain tunes help them get into the zone. The result? The creation of our “Little more productive playlist.” Ranging from classical to seventies soundtracks, the list has something for everyone, from everywhere, for anything you need to get done. Check it out:
1. River Flows In You, Yiruma.
“I think that minimalistic piano music helps my brain think straight. By the way, I hate the label ‘minimalistic.'”
2. Fly, Ludovico Einaudi.
“You know, from the movie ‘Les Intouchables?’ It’s calm and helps me focus. And it has no lyrics so I can’t distract myself by singing along.”
3. Memories from Africa, Tchaikovsky.
“I love listening to classical music, and also like soundtracks. Basically, anything without lyrics.”
4. Orgoned, Kiasmos.
“Electronic, with no words to distract. The complexity slowly builds, providing the illusion that my ideas are as well.”
5. The Four Seasons: Winter – 1, Vivaldi.
“Recomposed by Max Ritcher. Because I never thought you could better a masterpiece. Listening to this song makes me focus and feel that I can achieve greater things.”
6. Unexplainable Stories, Cloud Cult.
“It’s got this epic, almost cinematic start which makes you feel like you can take on the world. Shame when the song ends though.”
7. Bangarang, Skrillex.
“It’s got these nice, floppy sounds.”
8. La Cava, Pasquale Catalano.
“It creates a thick barrier of concentration around my thoughts.”
9. Midnight City, M83.
“It empowers me and gives just about enough energy to face the challenges of a work day, all with a smile on my face.”
10. Tragedy, Bee Gees.
“I know it sounds lame, but come on! I’m serious. This song has something energizing that just makes me work faster, dance a little, and work some more. When I’m listening, the lamp turns into a disco ball and my colleagues could easily be wearing bell bottom jeans.”
11. Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap.
“Maybe because it’s so calm. Just a cappella voices and a beautiful harmony. I can keep listening to it on repeat for a while without even noticing.”
12. Heroes, David Bowie.
“For when you need to be a hero. Just for one day.”
13. Reconsider (Jamie XX Edit), The xx.
“The deep bass and synth, slow beat and calm vocals isolate you from everything and help you to focus. I get myself into ‘isolation mode,’ when I get tapped on the shoulder I jump right off my seat every time.”
14. Someone New, Hozier.
“I love the rhythm.”
15. The Xpander, GB.
“It’s long. It’s both relaxing and rhythmical, in a techno way. It helps me tune out disturbances and be in my aesthetic happy space.”
“No music. Silence with no interruptions. I find it easier to concentrate without music.”
17. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Regina Spektor.
“It’s in the ending credits of an amazing movie called ‘Kubo And The Two Strings.'”
18. The Bookhouse Boys, Angelo Badalamenti.
“I like that it has no lyrics and an easy structure. It helps me concentrate. I’m a big fan of Twin Peaks and all the songs in the soundtrack are good, but this is my favourite.”
19. Intriguing Possibilities, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
“I like soundtracks that don’t engage me too much. They just sit in the background. I particularly like ‘Skyrim’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ and this kind of thing. But ‘The Social Network’ has an amazing soundtrack and this one is great for concentration.”
20. Tidal, Shook.
“No words, mellow beats, and a happy melody. It’s really easy to get into the zone with this track.”
21. Music For a Forgotten Future, Mogwai.
“I need to really focus to be productive so I like immersive songs with good rhythm. If possible, without lyrics. Or at least in a language that I can’t understand.”
22. Easy, Faith No More.
“It’s just best song. It makes you feel like everything is awesome—including you.”
23. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen.
“Because it’s a great song!”
24. In The Midst Of It All, Tom Misch.
“It’s smooth, groovy, and makes all your stress fade away to nothing.”
25. Reign Down, Banoffee.
“Mellow vocals and clear beats make for fun listening and good focus.”
Want to know what Typeformers are up to in “productivity mode?” Here’s a look at what goes on behind the scenes.