Arguably one of the most important things to ensure for your freelancing is the environment where you work. Are you going to be able to focus on your work while you’re in the same room with your kids watching Sofia the First? If you can, more power to you, the ability to block out sounds is important. But if you can’t focus with your kiddos running around, or the TV blaring, you’re going to need to set up an environment conducive for focus.
Music is a part of everyone’s life. From radio jingles to the radio on your commute to work; the soundtrack to your favorite movie to a song you made up to remember a password (How I Met Your Mother? Get it?). It’s important and can be a huge benefit to your work.
Personally, a silent room drives me insane. When I read for pleasure, I put on the radio, Pandora, or Spotify. But pleasure is different from working. When working, I need something less distracting. I find myself singing along with the music instead of focusing on my work. So what to do? Here are a few options.
- The score from your favorite movie. The score of the movie is the music in the background; it’s the orchestral music that helps set the mood. I loved the sounds of the Harry Potter movies, so I listened to the score while I studied.
- Video game music. The music put into video games is intended to motivate you and sets a mood. If you’re working on a steady project, find something that’s smooth and encourages you to continue on your path. If you have a deadline looming, pressure, play “boss fight” music. It’s faster and louder. It motivates you. This website is an option.
- Personal Playlists. If lyrics don’t bother or distract you, make playlists of your favorite tunes. Spotify is a great tool to set up your own lists of your favorite artists. If you want something similar to the radio, Pandora creates “radio stations” based off of one artist or song.
- Instrumental Covers. Another of my personal favorites is to listen to instrumental covers of my favorites songs. It removes the distracting lyrics and gives you something familiar to listen to while you’re working. Vitamin String Quartet has covered everything from Lady Gaga to Led Zeppelin and everything in between. I plugged them into Pandora and got a radio station based completely off of instrumental covers.
- Classical Music. Not the most popular of choices, but still a good option if you don’t like silence and can’t handle lyrics. Don’t be fooled though, “The Mozart Effect” has been ruled a complete myth. While Mozart created some amazing music to listen to, it does nothing to increase your IQ. So if you’re interested in classical music, be open to all composers.
- White Noise. A non-music option, technically, but an option nonetheless. There are various apps in the iTunes or Android stores that offer white noise options. They include white noises including rainforests, humming fans, trains, and more. Some of those don’t sound very relaxing, but if you grew up on the train tracks, it’s a constant sound you get used to.
What do you think? Is there something you listen to while you’re working that I haven’t mentioned? Thoughts on these options?