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Music for Work: 5 Great Productivity Playlists to Keep You on Track


Some people say there's a song for every occasion, but I disagree: I think there's a playlist for every activity. Things that require you to use a special part of your brain—like, oh, say writing, reading, or editing—are often thought of as silent activities. For music lovers, however, silence is not always an option. Here are some great productivity playlists to help you buckle down.

Productivity Playlist #1: Indie Music for the Indie Writer

You may think that you need to pick a special kind of music for writing, but really, you just need to listen to music that you enjoy. If you're an indie pop and indie rock fanatic, check out this playlist of upbeat indie music for writing. Filled with old favorites and new tunes to fall in love with, this fun productivity playlist will help you get through your next chunk of writer's block. And hey, if it doesn't, at least you got in a solid two hours of desk-dancing, right?



More Indie Recommendations: Playlists are great, but sometimes switches in artists and sounds can be distracting. Listening to full albums can be a great way to focus for people who are easily distracted. We recommend Trouble Will Find Me by The National, Something about Airplanes by Death Cab for Cutie, and My Head Is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men.

Productivity Playlist #2: Inspirational Instrumentals for the Aspiring Author

Focusing on writing can be tough when there are lyrics. This is especially true if you aren't familiar with those lyrics, as your brain will likely have a harder time trying to tune them out. This playlist is tailored for fiction authors looking for instrumental music for writing. It's filled with dramatic songs from some of your favorite movies and television shows to help inspire you, as well as with tracks from some great instrumental bands.



More Instrumental Recommendations: If you're a fan of dramatic film scores, check out the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings soundtracks. If you liked the instrumental bands you heard in this playlist, I suggest listening to Golevka, an alternative hard rock instrumental album by the Evpatoria Report, and Transitions, a mellower but equally dynamic album by El Ten Eleven.

Productivity Playlist #3: Rock Music to Get You into the Editing Groove

Maybe you're a professional editor, or maybe you're going over your own work. Either way, you need to get yourself into the editing groove. For me, nothing works better for this than an awesome guitar riff to vibe to. This bluesy rock playlist for editing features a collection of modern artists like The Black Keys, The White Stripes, and Gary Clark Jr., as well as the legends who inspired them—think Zeppelin, Hendrix, and the Stones.



More Rock Recommendations: If soul-stirring, vibey rock is what gets you through your work day, I recommend AM by The Arctic Monkeys, Brothers by The Black Keys, The Sheepdogs' self-titled album, and Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak and Blu. And, of course, don't forget to revisit the classics you already know by heart.

Productivity Playlist #4: Easy Acoustics for the Laid-Back Reader

There's nothing quite like a quiet day with a good book. This acoustic playlist is full of quiet music for reading. If songs with vocals are too much for you when reading, this easygoing playlist may also come in handy when you're working on a creative project like drawing, sculpting, painting, or otherwise creating something beautiful.



More Acoustic Recommendations: Rose Ave., the debut album from You+Me, Sufjan Stevens's Carrie & Lowell, Iron & Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days, and Bon Iver's self-titled album are sure to help you have a pleasant morning, afternoon, or evening of reading.

Productivity Playlist #5: Eclectic Instrumentals to Electrify Your Essay Writing

Ah, essay writing . . . to master this tricky craft, you must first convince yourself that you aren't, in fact, slowly plummeting toward inevitable, painful, and humiliating academic failure. Having the right kind of music for writing at your disposal is one way to help relieve the stress of academic writing. This playlist, filled with great looping melodies and only minimal vocals to help keep you focused, is just the thing you need to meet your deadlines with relative ease.



More Eclectic Instrumental Recommendations: Play & Play: B Sides by Moby is a great album to keep your foot tapping and your fingers clicking, as is Ratatat's latest, Magnifique.


Did you enjoy any of these productivity playlists? Do you have more suggestions for music for reading, writing, or editing? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to reach out to Scribendi on Facebook, and don't forget to follow Scribendi on Spotify to see new playlists as they're published.



Image source: Krzysztof Puszczyński/

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