Listen While You Work

As a designer, getting the creative juices flowing and learning how to master the art of avoiding distractions is key to producing quality work. However, such a skill has proven to be extremely challenging for most designers, particularly those working in an office.

Several colleagues on the phone or someone trying to smash a high score on the arcade table can be an easy distraction from that piece of work that you just can’t get to look right. Blocking these out and the bonus of a little creativity boost can get you “in the zone” to pump out quality work at a respectable pace, essentially making you a task machine.

Yet there’s no doubting that it can be hard to find this somewhat mythical level of super productivity and creativity. However, just getting there for a few hours a day can drastically improve your work load, making you feel in control and on top of your work while maintaining a healthy level of enthusiasm and interest.

As someone who constantly finds himself distracted by the what’s happening around the office, I opt for an eclectic music selection to keep my mind on the task at hand. While creativity often comes in short bursts or none at all, a great selection of background noise often stimulates concentration and helps you to perform better. However, it’s important to mix it up — somedays lo-fi electronic music will keep me on the ball, and other days simple generated background music will give me that extra kick.

Below are a few things I listen to in search of the holy grail of productivity: 

Ambient Noise

There are numerous research projects proving that a moderate amount of ambient noise can help you increase creativity. These tools can help you keep the back corners of your brain busy, instead of attracting those distractions that are always around a workplace.


Many creatives tend to do their work at coffee shops, the background chatter clangs and clatter of a moderately busy cafe has proven to aid in creativity. “Coffitivity recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.”


SimplyNoise is really straightforward, static. that’s it.  There is three frequency spectrums to choose from, each ear is different and you might like one more than the other. I find this one blocks out all distractions and really keeps me focused on the job at hand. The creators have also made SimplyRain, peaceful looping of rain that can be adjusted to your liking.



Soundcloud is probably my most used source for work. It’s a great space for all genres of music but definitely has a strong electronic following. creating an account and following artists exposes you to diverse genres of music with your stream always staying fresh. By far one of the stand out features of Soundcloud is its player. The intuitive and seamless player will keep playing while you surf artists and even keep the position of a track you may of skipped. You can even comment on any point of a track.


Bandcamp is a  great platform for independent artists. all tracks can be played for free also with options to purchase and donate to artists.

Music for programming

Musicforprogramming features a compiled set of playlists for use when doing tasks that require concentration, programming, drawing knitting, painting.

Informative Resources/podcasts

When I’m past the creative stage and doing things such as integration of a design or doing simple content formatting I turn to some informative sources. These allow me to stay focused and entertained while I complete the mundane parts, yet they also help sharpen my knowledge.

Dorm Room tycoon

I mentioned briefly in my last blog post. William Channer is a product designer and tech journalist, he interviews the worlds top creators and innovators in the tech field. Always provides plenty of inspiration to work hard.

Shop Talk Show

Shoptalk is my favourite podcast on web design, development and UX. Hosted by internet wizards Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert, the guys interview/hangout with fellow designers, developers and founders and answer plenty of questions along the way.