Favorite Work Playlists
While working I enjoy having background noise, complete silence tends to drain my creative juices. I use a number of media types to build my playlists, today I will share a few of my favorites with you.
What I pick:
Before I go into the specifics of what I enjoy using for background noise, lets talk about what I look for.
I need something that will just play in the background and I will not actively listen to. This means one of three things.
- The Music has no lyrics
- I cannot understand the lyrics because I do not understand for one reason or another
- I know the lyrics so well it just turns into background noise
For example I can listen to nearly any 90’s country or rock song, however, I cannot listen to the latest hits as I find myself following along with them.
I also find I cannot just zone out to Phantom of the Opera, for some reason that still draws me in to much after all of these years.
Audio Books Playlists
Some people may ask… Audio Books? Wouldn’t that just distract you?
For my favorite audio books no, not at all. There are some audio books I have listened to so many times my brain just tunes them out. I really like these because if I get really stuck on something or just need a quick break, I can just lean back and close my eyes and start enjoying the book.
Now I can’t listen to anything new like that, this has to be an audio book I know very very well. I admit I have listened to some of my favorites more than 20 times.
Old TV Shows work a lot like audio books. I will admit sometimes they can be more distracting. Those days I usually just switch over to music since that is the least distracting of all.
Movies are a lot like TV Shows. Once I know one well enough I can just have it play in the background. Unlike TV shows a movie is over to quick to go through my entire work day. Usually here I will pick a series or build my own series up. I may decide I want to tell the story of the rise of computers and build a play list appropriate to that.
What to Avoid
While I have said it already, it is a losing battle to put on something you will want to watch or listen to. You need something your brain can just tune out until your brain needs it to relax.
Stuff I Hate:
If I really dislike something and it comes on my playlist it completely knocks me out of the zone. This shows your brain is always listening even if you are not paying active attention to what is being played.
I love many types of music, these are the playlists I have found I work best to.
- Nerd Rap
Some people might think Classical would be a good pick, however, I find classical relaxes me to much and I end up wanting to doze off instead of working.
- Omega Force and Black Fleet by Joshua Dalzelle
- Drizzt Series by R.A. Salvatore
- Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry by Laurell K Hamilton
- Spells, Swords, & Stealth by Drew Hayes
- Sprawl Trilogy by William Gibson
- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
These are just a few of my favorites to listen to.
J.R.R Tolkien and R.A. Salvatore really helped to cement my love of Fantasy back in elementary school. That love of fantasy is deeply intertwined with my love for gaming.
I found the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry while I worked security and those books quickly became favorites of mine. Laurell K Hamilton has a deliciously wicked mind.
The Sprawl Trilogy is one I attempted to get into many times over the years and have only recently read through. Now it is a favorite on my audio books list.
Spells, Swords, and Stealth along with Omega Force and Black Fleet are new books I found first on Kindle. After reading them I loved them enough I purchased them on audio book and listened to them non stop for months… My wife is very sick of all of them after a few drives between Michigan and Arizona.
When it comes to TV Shows, I have some strange taste, at least according to my wife.
Even as an adult I still love cartoons. I could list many many more, however, I decided as with audio books to keep it to my top 5… (ok so I went over by 1 on each). I will throw out an honorable mention here too Super Jail! and Code Monkeys. I do not watch them as much anymore because I have children running around my office a lot, however, I still love them.
When it comes to movies I prefer to build play lists that tell a story. Here is just an example of one of them.
- BBS The Documentary
- War Games
- Triumph of The Nerds
- Get Lamp
- 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience
- Indie Game The Movie
As you can see it is a mix of Documentaries and movies about computers. Starting with the very early days of computing on BBS’s and moving towards modern day computer gaming.