Remote work has never been a simple system for any type of organization to adopt let alone during an unprecedented global pandemic. And while I’ve never been a fan of one-size-fits all professional advice for remote work, I believe that especially now there are small environmental factors within our control that can give us an extra boost of focus, calm, or peace whenever it’s most needed.
Whether we’re working from home or in a physical workspace, workers are facing unique challenges on scale we could never have previously conceived six months ago. To overcome these obstacles to ensure the success of themselves and their teams, workers and managers must continue to adapt in creative and non-traditional ways.
Getting into the flow
A friend recently reminded me of the power of music to relax our minds, to reset and recharge. Having worked and led teams remote for the last fifteen years, I’ve found that music is one of the focusing parts of my day if I find the right play list of mellow, focusing grooves.
Besides having a dedicated workspace where I can phsyically and mentally seperate my work space from areas for relaxation when at home, breaking my work day up into chunks of related tasks to reduce context switching, and disabled notifications for Instagram, other social media and even texts, a steady stream of mellow instrumental music is the other tip I suggest universally to friends and family working from home.
The way we get hard work done as humans is a deeply personal experience built over many years, music can be universally helpful for all. I think that music is by far one of the most immediate, effective and long-lasting ways for man of us to focus, relax, and get into the flow for work.
As a software engineer and coder, heavy beats, instrumental and ambient sounds over a long period of time are really helpful in getting into the the flow where I can focus on complex pieces of programming and solutions for hours on end. Groove Salad is a great choice if you light similar ethereal, slightly psychedelic, futuristic instrumental for working, whether at home or in your work place.
One of my favorite parts about listening to Groove Salad for close to ten years is that the station is plain weird very often, venturing into the fantastical with tech-inspired ambient sounds or bloops and bleeps which I find deeply relaxing while working.
Groove Salad and all stations at soma.fm are completely listener supported through donations, so it’s commercial free. Please donate if you’re able to ensure that their model is sustainable and their station distraction free.
More Soma.fm Favorites
Missing the outdoors quite a bit while stuck inside, I find a lot of the channels on soma.fm to bring the outdoors inside with either natural sounds or just sensory experiences that provide a similar sort of peace as meditating outside in nature.
The entire library of stations provide a similar vibe that’s useful for both deep focus and all-day-at-home relaxation. Most of these channels are instrumental, and all are 100% commercial free.
- Fluid — instrumental hip-hop and “liquid trap,” great for focus or hanging out
- Groove Salad — great for focus and relaxation, mostly instrumental, psychedelic, electronic, and groovy
- Drone Zone, Deep Space One — peaceful focus, mediation, deep focus
- Lush — soothing vocals, great for cooking and dinner time
- Cliqhop — dance music & beats
- … and many others depending on your personal taste: check out all of the many soma.fm options.
What’s your favorite way to listen to new music to focus and calm yourself during COVID-19 workdays? Share your favorites as a reply on Twitter.
Lara Littlefield is a software engineering leader, full stack developer & entrepreneur. As the founder of the technology agency New Basis, she specializes in developing custom web and native applications, SaaS, enterprise software, eCommerce platforms, and marketing websites for clients such as Milani Cosmetics, Ouai Haircare, Aol Ventures, Columbia University, New York University, and more.