Taste breakers — Music that engages your brain

A change can be as good as a rest

’m a massive music fan. To the point that music is essential to my day.

The problem with that is that music can also be very distracting for me. While I’m happy to try and listen to anything once. I do tend to rely on the same old stuff while I’m working.

I get distracted or end up focusing on the music instead of my work. Neither is a good outcome.

I’m not alone here, its an issue for many of us. Over the past few weeks, I have tried three strategies to see what might work well for me.

No music

Yeah, this is as boring as it sounds.

Going through the day with the sound of silence in the background is not my idea of fun at all. I tried this for 3 days and gave up.

No music was if anything more distracting. It was very hard to focus on my work. I found myself looking for other things to do.

The conclusion from this very short experiment?

Working from home, music gives me the noise and external stimulation my brain is used to at work. I’m not designed to work in silence.

I soon moved onto experiment number 2

Binaural beats

This is essentially music designed to help you focus. Played through headphones with different tones, frequencies, and beats in each ear. It’s designed to stimulate the brain.

While it’s very similar to electronic dance, it did nothing at all for me.

Well, that’s not quite true it did give me a headache. Again tried using Binaural beats for 3 days.

While they did increase my focus and reduce distraction. I couldn’t get over the headache issue.

So an improvement and I would recommend trying them out. They just weren’t the solution for me.

I then moved onto experiment number 3

Taste breakers — Something different

Anyone who has ever used Spotify (Other streaming providers are available), will have seen this feature.

Its a playlist of music you would never normally listen to.

This is what has worked for me.

I don’t know the music so its in the background giving me the noise and stimulation I need. But none of the familiarity which leads to distraction.

Ok, more than once I have heard something that I had to investigate and learn more about.

On balance though this is working for me. Listening to jazz or opera or electric swing in the background is doing the trick.

I’m 6 days into this experiment and so far it’s working.


The music is not the point here. How much life changes when we work at home is what has surprised me.

Too often we seek perfection in an imperfect world. I’m used to lots of noise and external stimulation in the background for my brain. Working from my home office AKA the basement. I miss out on that.

While I can replace that noise with something else. There is a chance that what its replaced with becomes a bigger distraction than the silence.

I’m not alone in having this issue. There are many solutions out there. The three I tried were free, easy to implement and ultimately I found a great solution to a big problem.


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