New Music Tuesday: Scientifically Backed Playlists for Desk Work Productivity

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Last week HubSpot published a blog post about music playlists scientifically proven to improve productivity.

According to the post, the kinds of music science says works best for us desk jockeys is:

      • Classical
      • video game soundtracks
      • nature sounds
      • pump-up songs
      • instrumentals and
      • feel-good songs (you know, like “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners or “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves)

Supposedly, these types of music improve our attention, focus, mood, creativity and otherwise just help us get through our inbox faster.

Here are some albums that fit into these science-backed genres that work for me.


I’m writing this post at my desk to the music of Erik Satie. To me, it sounds contemporary, yet he’s considered an Impressionist-era classical artist along with his real-life buddies Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

If you were lucky enough to have seen the documentary “Man on Wire” about the high-wire walk that occurred between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, then you’re familiar with Satie’s ability to capture the wonder of life by using a small vocabulary of well-placed notes.

Video Game Soundtracks:

Video game music is supposed to help with your concentration, since it helps gamers concentrate on their games. Since I’m not a gamer and cannot make a recommendation here, just to be a complete-ist, here is a useless loop of the theme music from the best arcade game ever, Galaga. My apologies if this makes you want to give me the finger or take a roll of quarters to the nearest brew pub instead of working.

Nature Sounds:

Hard to beat this one:

…and this one:

Pump-up Songs:

I recently re-discovered this up-tempo track. Even though it has those classic ‘80s synths and drum machines that Jane Child’s session musicians tilt and press like a pinball machine, the song doesn’t really sound that dated. Or maybe it does. Anyway, it’s got life and just lately serves as a good post-lunch dip repellant.


Have you heard of chillstep? It’s a genre of electronica described as “dubstep with emotion.” Chillstep makes for un-demanding background music that puts me in a relaxed focused space. Turns out there are a lot of chillstep compilations to sample. This one has 2.5 million views.

Feel-Good Songs:

Funny how sometimes the happiest, most uplifting songs are written in a minor key:

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