Photograph of pretty woman with closed eyes listening to music on headphones

Any office or classroom that you are forced to share with others can be a distracting environment. Pulling on headphones and finding an audio source to block extraneous noise can help regain some productivity, but it can be difficult to find a source that is not distracting in itself, and that does not require attendance every few minutes.

I’ve talked about some solutions to this issue in the past; here are a few of my latest favorites:

Get Work Done Music gets right to the point, with a simple UI that speeds up and slows down the tempo of the music to match your needs and work environment (slower BPM for more contemplative work, faster for testing or to enhance work that lacks engagement). Zendesk Buddah Machine Wall

The Zendesk FM3 Buddah Machine Wall takes the opposite approach: the Flash interface presents a series of “Buddah Machines” –players with ambient loop tracks and a somewhat cryptic interface – that you can set up to create your own infinite musical loops.

musicForProgramming returns to simplicity: it’s a series of mixes designed to aid concentration and increase productivity. Mixes are available in MP3 format, with links to original artists.

Photograph of girl in skirt with headphonesGroovesalad is a SomaFM station with a focus on ambient beats; visiting the station downloads a .pls file that can be loaded directly into iTunes and other players. Tunes on Groovesalad occasionally include lyrics, which I personally find distracting when coding.

For more suggestions, LifeHacker has a great thread composed of responses to the question “what music helps you get things done?” is an appropriately-named source of endless, well-crafted music tracks for coders, in a variety of genres, while Zach Adams has an excellent suggestion list of music to listen to while coding.

Finally, a quick tip for Mac users who need to adjust volume frequently: holding down Shift while tapping the volume keys eliminates the “click” sound. You can make this change permanent in Sound System Preferences, which can be reached by using Option + any keyboard volume control).

Images by Esellee and myheimu, both used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

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