Psychology of a Small Playlist

Joseph Mosby experiments with my trick of listening to a song on repeat to get work done, and digs a bit into the psychology behind it.

12 replies on “Psychology of a Small Playlist”

If I listen to a song too many times within a short time span, I tend to fixate on it, to the point of incorporating it into my dreams, and thinking about it even when I’m not listening to it.

Interesting. I do something similar but with whole albums. Especially good with music in a language I can’t understand, or no singing — words grab your attention, music settles into the background.

@Sudhir words are the killer of full concentration when reading, so avoid them, but they don’t seem to matter so much when writing code. I can happily code to Jurassic Five (I need a beat… a beat!) but need wordless or at least non-English when reading.

I found video game music has a dramatic effect on my focus. The music itself was created to be heard while focusing on tasks so it makes sense to use it while working. I have a whole playlist of music that I play when I am trying to ‘get in the zone’

Matt, you might like a service I use called Focus@Will:

You can pick from a variety of music types, and each one has a small playlist that plays continuously for a set amount of time.

The music is all hand-selected to (supposedly) limit your emotional reaction and improve your focus. They work with neuroscientists to pick the music. I don’t know much about the science, but FWIW, I use it every day and it’s done wonders for my productivity.

I’ve honestly not tried the Alpha channels – generally stuck to Acoustic & Classical. Will give it a shot! Listening to 30 seconds of the video you posted made me feel like doing something productive *instantly* – no joke.