I’m Only Productive When It Rains

music and productivity

Do you listen to music while you work? I wish I was one of those people who could jam out and still get the job done, but truth be told, I’m just not. My favorite playlist could start and end without me having heard a single lyric.

All sorts of studies have been conducted about whether or not, and how, music affects productivity. From what I’ve read, research has concluded that music can help with mindless tasks that don’t require a lot of concentration. It may also improve mood, which can therefore increase productivity. However, retention and concentration often drop when listening to music, so it isn’t always best in situations where you’re performing a new task or one in which you need to focus.

Even though I normally work in silence, my co-worker and I recently stumbled upon the perfect combination of sounds that simultaneously helped us both relax but also sharpened our focus, both for mindless tasks and those that required full concentration.

Behold, instrumental music merged with Rainy Mood. Rainy Mood is a website that plays rain/storm sounds, and IT. IS. WONDERFUL. It looks like it’s been around for at least five years, but is recently new to me, (and actually, Fast Company even recommends it in this great article about how music affects productivity). Rainy Mood in itself is wonderfully soothing, but when you play rainy mood over top of an entirely instrumental song without lyrics, that combo is the true star.

I’m not necessarily talking about classical music, though I’m sure that would be great too if you’re into that sorta thing, but rather post-rock, instrumental rock, or ambient music. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to and use Spotify, try the Productive Morning playlist. Or, there are suggestions for song+rain combinations listed right at the bottom of the Rainy Mood page. This combo, with Explosions in the Sky, is one of my favorites. I usually turn the rain volume down just a little, but otherwise, it’s perfect.

What helps you with your productivity (even if it’s not music)? What do you listen to while doing work? Let me know in the comments!

Here’s to a rainy, productive week!

{Illustration by Allison Myers. Garbage reference in title. Thanks to Bethany Snyder for introducing me to Rainy Mood.}