The secret is out.
Using music to focus and stay productive is the secret ingredient to a successful workday. Business professionals from all industries use music to enter flow state and get “in the zone.”
We sent out a simple ask to our networks: What song do you listen to when you're wanting to get into the zone and why?
Focus music for productivity
We received lots of responses from business professionals like you and these are their recommendations.
1. Ibrik - Bonobo
One of my favorite artists to get in the zone is Bonobo. His music is peaceful and energetic, helping both to focus and get some motivation. Most of his songs have no vocals, which is said to make you more productive. If you want to give it a try, I suggest starting with "Ibrik"!
- Adrien Lemaire, Content Manager at RingCentral Engage Digital
2. Portal 2 Soundtrack
Video game soundtracks are great for productivity. The Portal 2 soundtrack is one of my favorites to help get in the zone.
- Zack Busch, Research Analyst at G2
3. My Friend the Forest - Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm, especially his "My Friend the Forest". It just calms me down and helps me concentrate so much better.
- Olga Bedrina, Director of Content Marketing at Wave.video
4. 1/1 - Brian Eno
Focus and Intensity are different for me. Focus is Brian Eno all day. His "music for airports" album. It's so calming and hypnotic and warm It makes the crazy buzz of the outside world go away while I work.
- Dalton Finney, SEO Team Lead at BFO
5. More Important Than Michael Jordan - Pretty Lights
Pretty Lights puts me into the zone when it's time to put my head down and get to work. If I've gotta choose a song, I'll go with "More Important Than Michael Jordan"
- Michael Barone, IT Service Desk Specialist at G2
6. The Hours - Phillip Glass
Anything by Philip Glass, but I always come back to his Suite from "The Hours." If I'm really trying to stay focused, I can't listen to anything with words, and Philip Glass is always a favorite. There's always a driving force behind his music that pushes me to cross the finish line on projects, and The Hours Suite was my soundtrack to Q1 planning this year.
- Alexandria Onion, Content Marketing Specialist at Yello
7. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Soundtrack
I've recently started listening to video game music - specifically the soundtrack from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I used to listen to my favorite songs while working but ended up being distracted by the lyrics and the urge to sing along. Video game music rarely has lyrics and that allows me to better focus on the task at hand. Plus, I can ramp up the mood and include some dramatic battle music just as easily as I can unwind and play some peaceful tunes. That was especially helpful while writing our latest whitepaper - the relaxing music balanced out the stress I was feeling and put me in a better state of mind while making edits.
- AJ Alonzo, Director of Marketing at demandDrive
8. Stone in Focus - Aphex Twin
When I need to cut out all distractions and just get shit done, I listen to Stone in Focus by Aphex Twin. In my opinion, this is the perfect song to keep you motivated without becoming distracted. It doesn't have any vocals to pull your attention away from the task at hand, but it isn't so boring that it puts you to sleep. The combination of long droning synths and short percussive rhythms are perfect for getting "in the zone." Best of all is the fact that this song seamlessly loops into itself, so you can put it on repeat and listen for as long as you need to without any interruptions.
- Bryce Welker, Founder at Crush the CPA Exam
9. ASMR Sounds
I'm a musician myself, so when I listen to music during work, I get way too distracted as I want to sing or hum along. That's why I listen to white noise or ASMR videos if I want to help myself concentrate and stay productive. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and has become quite a hit during the last years. Mostly, it's used to help people relax, unwind, and fall asleep. But I've found that with the right choice of ASMR videos, you can boost your productivity. I even did a little experiment, listening to ASMR at work for a whole month and tracking my productivity levels. Not only did I become more productive - my efficiency went up 22%!
- Kristine Spure, Senior Writer and Content Marketer at Truesix
10. Evan Carmichael
I typically listen to music with no lyrics when I am trying to get work done. Here are my favorites: Evan Carmichael's Productivity Music channel, Aphasia Records, Pandora Journey has a collection of Epic Music on their channel. In addition, I like movie soundtracks (Dean Valentine, Two Steps from Hell, Trailer Music) - these help me stay focused.
- Nissar Ahamed, Founder and CEO at CareerMetis.com
11. Astronaut - Samuel Orson
I love the Astronaut EP by Samuel Orson for focus-mood music. It's instrumental, upbeat, and really pleasant. Very easy to tune out when you are in the zone but always interesting when you stop and pay attention. I was first introduced to it when someone at a coworking space put it on for everyone to listen to. I'm also very partial to listening to the entire Radiohead discography on shuffle in the background. I tried adding low volume music to brainstorming sessions with other team members but it ultimately ended up being too intrusive.
- John Donnachie, Co-Founder at ClydeBank Media
13. Enth - Crystal Castles
It literally makes me feel like I am teleporting into my work.
- Danielle Floyd, Sr Administrative Assistant at Takeda Pharmaceuticals
14. wish it would never stop snowing - Sleepy Fish
There is some great research out there that when you need to focus, nonlyrical is the best style because it helps allow your brain to create words and ideas vs the song. Even more so, a rhythm closer to your resting heartbeat is better than something crazy fast. We have an open-floor office with one speaker for all of us so when it's time to get to business, we hit the Lo-Fi Beats playlist on Spotify. This whole playlist is filled with songs like this that you can take your pick of. *i wish it would never stop snowing* by Sleepy Fish is a particular favorite of mine. Of course, when we need to pick the energy up it doesn't get better than Chance the Rapper.
- Sam White, Marketing Manager at My Soul CBD
15. Lots of Happiness Turns to Gold - isaintjames
I found this on an 'Gold Instrumental Beats' playlist and find it very easy to listen to when I have a large task at hand. Plus, I am usually very focused in the morning so a song like this really helps keep me in the zone.
- Joe Murphy, Interior Design Specialist at The Shower Head Store
16. Cafe Music BGM
For me, it's really hard to listen to music with words in it while I work. It will often distract me, so I like to listen to jazz music. On Spotify, one of my favorites is Cafe Music BGM. They have really good music that helps me stay focus and is great background noise
- Max Falb, Digital Marketing Strategist at Fueled
17. Hall of Fame - The Script
Whenever I need a motivation boost, I listen to the Hall of Fame by The Script. It motivates you to put in a lot of hard work. Their lyrics are just on point. Sometimes all you need is a motivation boost and this song gives you just that.
- Sunil Neurgaonkar, Growth at WhatFix
18. Tribulations - LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Trials and Tribulations’: I listen to this before big meetings to pump me up and boost my confidence. Anything instrumental deep house as well. whenever I have to hammer out some data entry or tasks I may otherwise want to put off, this keeps me in the zone and helps the time fly.
- Kelly Fox, Enterprise Account Manager at TetraV
19. Soulmate - Lizzo
I do my best work when I’m jamming to high-energy music with a great beat. I think we can all agree all of Lizzo’s music ticks those boxes. But the reason I picked this particular Lizzo song is because of the hyper-positive message of self-love and confidence. Who wouldn’t do awesome work with Lizzo hyping them up in the background?
- Lauren Pope, Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2
20. Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons
It's upbeat to boost energy, repetitive with the instrumentals to stay distraction-free, and the singers have interesting voices. I also used to play this on long drives, so it's become a habit!
- Arielle Kimbarovsky, Marketing Coordinator at Jellyvision
Has to be Little Lion Man from Mumford and Sons. The lyrics are solid and the music is pumping but for anyone that has to bust out a last minute report or pitch and needs something with tempo this one is exactly what you need.
- Dan Willis, Customer Experience Officer at Speak Out Media
21. Fallingwater - Maggie Rogers
Anything by Rainbow Kitten Surprise or Maggie Rogers! You can't go wrong with either. Awesome beats, these two keep me in the zone, and are very relaxing
- Carly Akerly, Digital Marketing Associate at Matchnode
22. Sunrise - Kygo
Stays true to its name and feels like a virtual pulling-the-curtains-aside-to-let-the-sunshine-in ! Always works :)
- Rajat Pawar, Software Engineer at G2
23. Good as Hell - Lizzo
My #1 energy-boosting song right now: Good as Hell by Lizzo Sometimes when I know I have to stay focused for several hours, I'll put a favorite song on repeat until I finish the task—even if that means I'm listening to the same song for multiple hours. Listening to one song over and over again creates the feeling that time is standing still, which helps me stay focused on the task at hand and not stop to switch the song or playlist, which breaks my concentration and tends to lead to other distractions. I used to listen to the same song on repeat when writing papers in college, and that trick still helps me stay focused and productive when I need to get a lot done in a short window of time.
- Meg Andersen, Marketing Consultant at SmartBug Media
24. Calling Out - Penguin Prison
It’s upbeat, positive, and fun - puts me in the right mindset to get work done.
- Jens Hauser, Specialty Sales Lead at Target
25. Merrymaking at My Place - Calvin Harris
We are a 100% distributed team, so we like to do what we can to help our team feel connected. We created team playlists in Spotify and encourage our team members to listen and add to the list at any time. One of our favorite songs on our Team Jam Sesh playlist is Merrymaking at My Place by Calvin Harris. It's got a funky vibe that helps get the energy flowing is and perfect for a Zoom dance party to break up the workday, and move the body.
- Kara Barnes, Executive Director at The Monkey Creative
26. Rich Man - Vampire Weekend
Vampire weekend. Lately I love "Rich Man" on their new album. It gives me inspiration to write and do good work!
- Megan Wenzl, Community Outreach Associate at Clique Studios
27. Closer - Goapele
Goapele - Closer; Drake - Do Not Disturb; Drake - Weston Road Flows. These songs help me realize how far I have come in the journey and what I should look forward to. It helps kick my drive up a notch.
- Michelle Ngome, Marketing Manager at Sutliff & Stout
28. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. It makes my mind go other places and puts me in a good mood. It also makes me imagine being out in the world getting away from work and really living.
- Waynetta Lucas, HR & Admin Manager at Vernet Group
29. C'est La Vie - Tinashe
Tinashe's Nightride album is my go-to when I need to focus! It has the perfect mix of slow and upbeat songs for knocking out some work. C'est La Vie would probably be my go-to from the album.
- Matthew Smith, Manager of Member Services and Public Policy at Agricultural Retailers Association
30. This Is It - Scotty McCreery
I really like This Is It by Scotty Mcreery because it brings back wedding memories and puts me in a good mood.
- Lexi Garrity, Production Control Specialist at Vernet Group
31. Kyoto - Skrillex
There’s a loop of Skrillex “Kyoto” on YouTube that is great background noise for grinding out huge projects
- Brooke Bartos, Marketing Automation Manager at Walker Sands Communication.
32. Hells Bells - AC/DC
Hells Bells. Started every wrestling practice with the song. Bells meant time to focus
- John Thompson, Sr. Design & Marketing Sales Specialist at Impact Networking
33. Master of Puppets - Metallica
When I'm deep in thought and need to reach flow state I'll throw on an entire album by Hotel Neon. Their immersive soundscapes will put me in a relaxed state allowing me to do deep research. When I need to pick up the pace and churn out a first draft of a content asset - I'll head over to Spotify and seek out a Vince Staples playlist. I always start with the song FUN!. But what if time is of the essence and I need to grind something out so that I can finally leave my desk? Coffee gets poured, Metallica's Master of Puppets is loaded up and I attack my keyboard full throttle.
- Jason Thibault, Founder at Massive Konent
34. The Kids Aren't Alright - The Offspring
The Kids Aren't Alright by The Offspring. It doesn't matter if I'm at work, working out, cleaning, or otherwise trying to be productive - if I have a lag in energy, I can put this song on and get an immediate boost. It's partly the beat and music, partly the lyrics, it just gives me some instant energy.
- Ian Andersen, Web Project Manager at SmartBug Media
35. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Daft Punk
It's all right there in the lyrics! Work it harder, Make it better, Do it faster, Makes us stronger I like all the remixes and covers too. I make sure I listen to it BEFORE I get started working. I do a lot of writing, so after I get my groove on, I switch to instrumentals. Which does include a lot more Daft Punk and DeadMau5. It works really well for getting into a new blog post where I really want to encourage and inspire other people.
- Beth Bridges, Keynote Speaker at The Networking Motivator
36. Boys In The Better Land - Fontaines D.C.
You can't go past Fontaines D.C. debut album Dogrel. Just released this year, it's become our new go-to soundtrack for high intensity brainstorming, pre-client meeting warmups and getting in the zone before jumping on stage. 'Boys In The Better Land' is our absolute favourite song for a productive, five minute post-punk energy boost.
- Fidel Monk, Owner at Fidel & Sarah Music
37. Vroom Vroom - Charli XCX
When I want to get in the zone, I throw on an artist and listen to their entire discography, or go for a curated playlist on SoundCloud. My go-to sounds are more electronic and dance artists like Charli XCX, Crystal Castles, AG Cook, or in a slightly different direction with The 1975. But if I have to pick one, I’m going with Vroom Vroom by Charli XCX. It is a ballad that is a bop, has a dirty production, and gets me in an amped mood.
- Levi Olmstead, Manager of Community and SEO at G2
38. successful - Ariana Grande
When i’m not writing, I’m listening to something that’s upbeat and catchy. This Ariana Grande song turns my mood around instantly and gets me hyped up if I’m nervous before a big meeting or presentation. I have the entire Sweetener album on repeat at work, but if you’re going to pick one song to listen to, it’s Successful.
- Izabelle Hundrev, Content Marketing Associate at G2
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