Relax and Focus: The Playlist

by Jared Norman
published August 06, 2019

I’ve taken a recent interest in more calming and relaxing styles of music that might pair better with long, focused sessions programming or doing other concentrated tasks. Historically, I’ve always had a few playlists/artists I’ve gravitated to working to. There’s good evidence that listening to music you’re very familiar with increases productivity when doing many tasks, and that fits with my experience. Listening to music I’ve been listening to for a very long time, such as artists who I was into as a young teen, has always worked well for me.

That said, much of the music that I listen to a lot is quite abrasive. I’m a big fan of many forms of extreme metal, and while I find that music generally pretty good for working to, I’m sure that the extreme nature of all that stuff doesn’t do many favours beyond just that I’m familiar with it.

In the interest of finding some more relaxing music to explore, I started scouring the Internet and found /r/MusicForConcentration, a subreddit dedicated to exactly this topic.

After sifting through the wealth of YouTube content and Spotify playlists, I started to get a feel for what worked for me: really soft ambient/atmospheric music with little in the way of discernable melodies.

Sure, this stuff might not fit many people’s definitions of “music”, and I don’t find most of it particularly engaging on its own (there’s some really interesting stuff in here too though), but I find it lends itself really well to getting lost in my work.

I’ve had some really great programming sessions with this so far, so feel free to give it a listen. There’s over 36 hours of music in here to get you relaxed and focused on the task at hand.

Also, if you find I’ve accidentally included something with lyrics or weird distracting sounds, please let me know. Some of these artists had tracks that had ringing bells and other distractions in them, but I think I’ve cleared most or all of that stuff out.