I've always been obsessed with music. I got my first boombox in middle school, along with the Ace of Base CD (hell yes), and quickly progressed to amassing an impressive collection of cassettes and CDs ranging from Smash Mouth and Alanis Morissette to Eve 6 and the Rent soundtrack.
Whenever my family went on vacation, I brought my trusty walkman and a travel-sized Case Logic zip-up CD holder stuffed full. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent browsing the aisles of Tower Records (R.I.P.) and the local Barnes & Noble music section. I used to take out the little paper booklet slotted into the front of each plastic CD case and read the lyrics along with every track until I had them memorized.
Nowadays, my music collection—like most of ours—is in the cloud. Thanks to my Premium Spotify account ($9.99/month, so worth it), I can listen underground on my commute to and from work on the subway—sans ads. I also love to have music playing in the background whenever I'm plugged into my laptop doing my Internet due diligence, browsing Twitter and Instagram and plowing my way through my RSS-runneth-over Feedly. And, it goes without saying, gotta have some music blasting while I'm working out.
But I'm especially grateful for Spotify when I'm trying to get work done at home or at a coffee shop or library. No matter the ambience of my environs, I find it SO much easier to concentrate and get into that state of flow when I've got the perfect beats themselves flowing in the background. I'm partial, especially while writing, to music without words and with a calm, pacifying vibe.
My favorite Spotify playlists for getting work done:
Acoustic Concentration: 1 hour and 40 minutes' worth of instrumental tracks.
Zen Focus: A relaxed, meditative mix that'll keep you in the zone.
Deep Focus: You can keep calm and carry on with this 9-hour playlist of atmospheric rock.
Peaceful Piano: Exactly what it sounds like, featuring 70 songs.
Naptime: A hefty roundup perfect for nodding off during long car rides—or for settling into a work session.
Perfect Concentration: Classical your thing? Shut out the noise with this playlist of calming ballads from Mozart, Liszt, movie soundtracks, and more.
Writing: I find that creative writing, of all mental tasks, requires the most zone-out-friendly background music. This beat-heavy lineup of tracks does the trick.
Add your own favorites below or share with me on Twitter @AllisonStadd.