I don’t know about you, but I can’t really concentrate while listening to other people’s chatter. Sitting in a shared office space, then, makes it challenging to focus on solving a difficult problem. And getting into the flow we code monkeys yearn to settle in, is outright impossible. The solution for me is to put on a pair of nice, noise-cancelling1 headphones, and tune into some of my favorite relaxing sounds on the internet.

For your reference, here’s a list of my go-to sites and sources:

  • You are listening to. This brilliant service takes random ambient tracks from SoundCloud and mix them together with police scanner chatter from a big American city of your choice. I get the irony in the fact that I just wrote I can’t concentrate when listening to chatter, and now I’m recommending a service that features it. But it works surprisingly well as background static.
  • White noise generators. What works even better as background static is actual background static. White noise is awesome for getting in the zone, but it takes a little practice. Any white noise generator should do. Just search the internet for “white noise generator“, pick a random one and you’re good to go.
  • Rainy Mood. If you need something a bit more tangible than white noise, you should give Rainy Mood a try. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: Rain sounds. You do run the risk of falling asleep while listening to this one, though, so stay away from it right after lunch.
  • SomaFM. This online radio station is home to several awesome electronica streams. Their main attraction is Groove Salad, which I’ve been listening to on and off ever since SomaFM came online in 2000. Among their other top notch channels are Drone Zone, DEF CON Radio, and Space Station Soma.
  • Ambient Space Music. This is a Spotify playlist compiled by some random fella named Evan Witten. This might be him. Or not. It’s not important. What’s important is that his Ambient Space Music playlist is amazing.
  • Ultimae Records. French record label Ultimae Records is home to some of the biggest names in ambient, and downbeat electronica. Solar Fields, AES DANA, and Carbon Based Lifeforms are just a few of the amazing artist attached to this label. The same Evan who is responsible for the Ambient Space Music playlist, has also taken upon himself to compile a playlist of everything Ultimae Records has released that is available on Spotify. Great stuff.
  • c0ding 4 Fun & Profit. Another Spotify playlist, and a shameless plug from myself. This is where I collect tunes that are not in any of the other playlists, or tunes that work very well whenever I need to focus.

If this doesn’t make your day at the office better, nothing will. Except maybe for some coke.

As an added bonus, I’ve also got a (collaborative) playlist that’s great if you’re ever forced to work in Confluence. It won’t help you relax, but it’s great for channeling that Confluence anger.

Footnotes

  1. Passive, of course.