When listening to an episode of Cortex on Relay.fm, Myke Hurley and CGP Grey talked about how they use music to get in the zone for productivity. It really resonated with me as I’ve done the same thing for many years, and one of my albums of choice was actually mentioned by Grey.
Get into the zone, work harder, associate similar tasks with the music.
There are two main benefits of doing this: one is to distract the part of the brain which is looking for distractions, and the other is to provide a familiar experience and link it with the act of getting things done.
All Day is name of the epic 2010 mashup album from Girl Talk which is needs to be experienced in order to be understood. Essentially, it’s a huge number of small snippets from loads of pieces of popular music, all smashed together in one cohesive mashup mega mix spectacular, but you’d have to listen to it to see what I mean.
I use All Day and Girl Talk’s other albums (all available for free) to get myself into the zone for being productive when writing, scripting and power coding, especially when I want to feel pumped up and full of energy.
The only word of warning is that it may be a bit too distracting if you’re not familiar with the album, as you may end up trying to work out where the samples are coming from rather than concentrating on your work. I’ve been listening to this album since it came out, so a lot of the lyrics are just noise to me now.
Not only was this album mentioned on Cortext, it was also discussed on Inquisitive.
Music to Code By
Music to Code By is not an album of music. It is a productivity tool. It will help you focus intently on any task.
The melodic loops are around 50 to 80 BPM and 25 minutes long, which is perfect for me to use as a timer without actually watching the clock. After the track finishes, I get up and go for a short walk before putting on the next track. I use this all the time, especially when I want to calmly read specifications, work through tasks, design software architecture and focus on complex problems.
MTCB isn’t free, but you can get samples from Carl’s website and order from there. I currently only have the first three tracks, but another compilation will be released soon. My favourite track is Blue.