I’ve been trying methods of improving focus with music at work. I’m in an open plan office, which is the modern layout compared to the cubicle farms of the previous generation. With the removal of partitions we need a new way to enhance focus and avoid distractions in and around the office, so most workers opt for a big monitor on their desk and a good pair of headphones, preferably noise cancelling.
Listening to music for me has always been distracting, I’ll spend time compiling playlists ready for my work day and find the time drift away. I’ve tried classical music and movie soundtracks but the continuous new input is just distracting no matter the style of music. I had a go with those natural sound generators where you can configure some woodland environment in the rain with a train chugging along and all that but it hasn’t become a habit for me.
I listened to Matt Mullenweg on Tim Ferriss’ podcast and they shared a conversation about the power of repetition, with Tim watching Shawn Of The Dead on repeat whilst writing, while Matt listened to a single piece of music on repeat to improve focus. So I gave it a go and found some success but nothing really settled for me until…
…I put Juicy by Notorious B.I.G on repeat. Now it might not work for everyone but the rhythm of the song syncs with me, the beat is simple, and the bassline feels good. The song itself is great for working too, the message of hustling is obviously relevant when you are trying to focus on your tasks.
Experiment with music you listen to and see what you can tolerate on repeat first, then narrow your focus to a specific artist, and finally a song. It might not be the most obvious genre of music so be open to what you might end up listening to, at the end of the day it is for your focus and you alone as you will likely be listening on headphones anyway. I tried Pitch Perfect movie soundtracks, Bieber, and Heavy Metal, before settling on Juicy.