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  • ruby crowhurst


I've recently, in the past six months, started my first full-time job. I won't say the details of it because overall, it's not particularly interesting.

However, I am in the lucky situation of being able to listen to music while I work. I can plug my headphones in and, often, will listen to music for hours at a time while getting on with whatever I need to be doing.

Music while working is something that really has to be perfected. As much as you may want to listen to your favourite head-banging tracks to make mundane work a little bit easier, it's never a good idea.

Without wanting to seem like I'm bragging, over these past months I would say I've nearly perfected the 'music to work to' format. it was something I never perfected while I was studying, which lead to more hours bopping along to music thinking I was studying, rather than actually studying.

Admittedly, everyone is different. Some people, and I know a few of them, would rather listen to headbanging rock to block everything out. I am not one of those people, and if you're also not one of those people, then maybe this advice and my personal work playlist can help you out.

Personally, I like to listen to chilled music when working, which you'll see from the playlist below.

Generally, here are some Do's and Don't's for choosing some music to listen to when you're working hard:

  • DON'T choose songs that you'll want to sing along to. It will distract you and you will find yourself two hours from sitting down realising you've basically got nothing on your work plan done. It will happen. Believe me.

  • DO listen to acoustic covers of your favourite songs. This is what I started with and it genuinely was a very good place to start. Your favourite songs but in a more chilled out, less bouncy and/or hardcore format. You still listen to your favourite tracks but don't get as distracted. It's a win-win really!

  • DON'T choose that album that you really want to listen to. Much like the above point, it will distract you. Plus, who wants to delve hard into an album at work? Save that for when you're home and you have the mental capacity to just sink right into it.

  • DO use other people's playlists to start with. if you've been a student within the past couple years then you'll recognise the phrase 'Low-Fi Beats to Study To' because everyone listens to it. That's because it works. There's no shame in hopping on the hype train until you figure out what really works for you. If you want to check out the OG Low Fi Beats, then it's on Youtube here.

However, the most important thing is, if you get distracted by any music then don't listen to it. You can spend years curating seemingly perfect playlists, but if you still don't get the work done, then what's the point? Most of the time when I'm focusing exceptionally hard on something, I have to switch the music off. it's finding that balance of 'Okay, I need to switch off and really think about this' rather than unsuccessfully trying to push your brain to focus through instrumentals.

Below are some tracks and album's I'd highly recommend listening to while working, including a link to the playlist. Lauv's 'I like me better' and Clairo's 'Immunity' actually managed to make it on to my Spotify wrapped despite only knowing they existed from about halfway through the year. So, they clearly work for me!



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