Music, focus and working from home

I started working from home last November and I noticed that my music consumption dropped drastically as I struggle to work listening to music and not having a commute anymore, I sometimes go days without actually proactively listening to anything.
If I get a new album, things are even worse, as I either work or listen to it.
Anyone in a similar situation? How do you manage?

Why is this a problem, exactly?

I’m in a similar position and I mainly listen to music when I’m driving (not a whole lot) or at the gym. If I’m at home cooking or doing something I can do on auto-pilot, then it’s a toss-up between listening to podcasts or music. So I hear more of my own music as I’m working on it than anything else, really.

It is what it is.

My problem is that if I’m listening to music I can’t really focus on work so I pretty much don’t listen to anything…

I can’t even listen to music I enjoy and do schoolwork at the same time. If you use a time slot in your given day / week to check out an album it’s usually more interesting and enjoyable anyway, at least in my experience.

I just use noise for background purposes, I guess that qualifies as music even if it isn’t really

There’s only certain types of music I can listen to while I work (professionally, that is, I don’t work from home but I have free reign to have headphones in almost at all hours outside of meetings at my job), generally jazz, black metal or chillout. I can’t do anything with lyrics as interrupts my ability to correctly compose certain documentation.

Definitely have run into the issue of going vast periods of not listening to anything - especially during the times I’ve had my car stereos stolen or broken (happens way to often it seems).

Depending on what type of video games you play, sometimes I enjoy setting up specific playlists for different types of games and keep them on. I listen to a lot of ambient / downtempo for scifi games, DnB/metal for shooters. Doesn’t work for all though.

Lately I’ve been trying to dive back into pixel art for a game project I’ve had off and on for like 3 years, so I get a lot of listening in while I draw, do graphic design, or otherwise work on project workflows or the charter.

It’s a challenge to somehow “place” music in a daily routine while actually giving it enough attention for it to enhance what you’re doing and not detract as a distraction, lol.

Same here. I code by day and find most music really distracting. When I still worked at an office, I had to put something on to block out the chatter and the only thing that worked for me was really chill and repetitive dub techno. So maybe at least try something unobtrusive like that (ambient, noise, minimal, etc).

Do you go for walks or ride a bike or anything? When the weather is nice, I make it a point to go for a walk after lunch just to be outside and change the scenery, so that’s also when I listen to music.


And same here. I need to focus on music (if it’s music I like). And yeah, there are days when I just can’t find any time or am not in the mood to listen to any music. Don’t know any recipe besides going out / having a ride / etc.

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That’d be my case as well.

Possible corollary, I find my own output more creative and interesting the less I listen to other people’s.

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I can’t even read a book at the same time as listening to music


I like listening to house and techno while doing hw. I would put an Eric Prydz mix on and my mind is compelled to glide through the work. For me I can’t listen to music with lyrics because it distorts my though process, but anything instrumental provides me with background music to my thoughts.

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Listening to music while working is ok for repetitive tasks, but whenever I need to focus, my brain filters out everything else, so if I do put some music on, it’ll either be the album’s over and I can’t even remember what it sounds like, or it distracts me and I need to turn it off.

What makes me sad is I feel like I’m not listening to music as intently as I used to. Sometimes the problem is trying to pack as many productive activities as possible in a same time slot. I’ve recently rediscovered listening to music and paying attention to structure, texture, basically doing reverse engineering on the song and sounds. That’s a totally different experience, and it feels good to listen to music that way, but it needs a dedicated time.

If you want to devote at least some time to listening to music, maybe try doing it in moments of rest, inbetween things or before going to sleep?

Make sure working from home doesn’t mean you’re working twelve hours a day either…
In many ways it’s multifactorial, like a big factor I think for me is also that I’m not living alone and the same way that it’s going to be work or music, it’s going to be meaningful time with the other person or music; I’ll usually turn it down or off if we start having a conversation (and repress feelings of anger)

I’m listening to music while writing this and it took me an extra fifteen minutes

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In some respects I almost feel like the near-infinite availability of music on the internet and streaming devices anywhere you go has somehow detracted from the once incredible allure of jamming out to a CD.

That feeling of finding an awesome album in a store, whether vinyl, cassette or CD… just doesn’t exist anymore. I find myself clicking through hundreds of bands and albums on spotify and bandcamp and eventually just being like “eh, I guess I’ll listen to nothing then.”

15 years ago I’d pick up a CD and listen to it hundreds of times until I hated it… now it’s very rarely I find a release I jam into the ground. It’s kind of sad. It was so rad eventually to have the internet and discover new and exciting artists in niche discographies and now it takes a pretty good amount of mental effort to break away into discovery mode and give things a honest shot.

I think a lot of listeners on the internet have developed this too… It’s crazy to think that these days most music only really gets 5-10 seconds of attention before the listener has already decided if they will pass it up or not.

(I suppose this is an entirely different discussion, just sharing my caffeinated thursday morning thoughts :slight_smile:


I get that too, I have those moments when I’ll browse bandcamp, have ten tabs with albums that grab my attention, and then I’ll be skipping through the songs, and decide which one actually deserves my attention based on the general sound palette I hear. It sucks, really.
It reminds me of how I sometimes can get mad at my gf for always asking questions about a movie I suggest we watch; not just what is it about but also how long is it and does it have good reviews and are you sure it’s any good; it’s like our time is such a limited and precious resource we want to be really sure we’re not spending it into stuff that’s boring or disappointing. Cue to an hour later when we watch the stupidest comedy on netflix (that is what you call the bottom of the pit)


I think this is also related to some of the reasons why people don’t listen to albums the way they used to, as a whole unit that was built to be heard from start to finish. Not just concept albums, just regular run-of-the-mill stuff, but the band obviously thought about the order and cadence of the songs were considered.

In all fairness, the single predates the album by quite a bit, and the internet has moved us exponentially in that direction, but I grew up in the age of the album and I sort of lament it’s passing, both in content and as a way to spend and focus your time.


The finding of whole albums that are worth listening from start to finish is rare nowadays being due to high saturation of it and that 5-10 second attention span that seems to be an infectious disease for most nowadays is honestly a huge influence in my music making…

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Yeah, but then there are also shitloads of bands / artists (myself included) who are guilty of just putting filler tracks on an album instead of just making an EP and cutting out the shit that obviously sucks.

Some bands are just filler bands, too, which is even worse. They have like 3 good tracks and everything else is just some formulaic shit that doesn’t do anything cool or unique. The problem is a two-way street.

If you find an album that is honestly good all the way through, it’s not just your attention span
at play IMO

Sorry for the necro