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by Kaitlin McManus | April 09, 2019

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Guy Jamming Outside

Everyone works differently—some people can’t get anything done unless it’s quiet, while others prefer the white noise of a coffee shop or busy office. Plenty of us are music folk—be it to drown out unwelcome noise or just to give us a little something to groove to through a long afternoon. So we’ve collected some of the best playlists on Spotify to listen to at work or while you study.

Classical Essentials

You knew this was coming. Mozart won’t actually make you smarter (not in any significant way, at least), but classical music is complex enough to be interesting while usually quiet enough that it doesn’t pull focus away from your work.

Film & TV Favorites

I actually like this playlist better than its classical cousin—maybe because I know more of the songs. Movie scores are often relatively nonintrusive but always entertaining. Think of it as the common man’s classical.

Binaural Beats: Focus

Full disclosure: I don’t care for brainwave entrainment (binaural beats or its buddy, isochronic tones). I’m so used to music that I find it distracting since there’s no musical pattern. But some people out there swear that brainwave entrainment has changed their work habits. So give it a shot, see if you like it!

Swagger

If you dig a groovy bassline and more than a touch of Americana, then “Swagger” is definitely for you. Steady rhythms are great for focus—deviation from the beat you expect can be majorly distracting, and while the songs on this list are relatively straightforward, they’re pretty dang good.

Instrumental Pop Covers

If a song holds up when you strip it down to a simple piano or acoustic guitar solo, it’s probably an awesome song. This playlist takes all the hits and brings them down to something more relaxing than when you pump up the jams in your car.

Video Game Masterpieces

Okay, hear me out. Video game music is actually designed to make you focus—that’s how they keep you playing. It’s not all chip-tune stuff anymore, either (the beep-boop music you associate with games from the olden times)—think more along the lines of grand, sweeping scores. And maybe some chip-tune.

80s Smash Hits

I mean … duh, right? Nothing pumps you up quite like '80s pop tunes. If Whitney Houston and Wham! don't perk you up enough to get you through a grueling data-entry session, then I have no idea how to help you.

Low-Fi Beats

If you’re looking for something a little chiller, but by no means lacking in style, check out these hip-hop-inspired tracks. They’re perfect for bobbing along to, and by and large lack any vocal parts you might find distracting.

Brain Food

Another chill playlist, though this one leans more towards the electronica side of things. I personally can’t get enough synths and drum machines, so these instrumentals are my go-to when I need to get stuff done ASAP.

Feel Good Friday

Exactly what it says on the tin—all your favorite jams in one spot, from the new stuff to the throwbacks. Try not to sing your way through your Friday afternoon.

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