Do you ever try to hunker down and get something done, but find it impossible to concentrate?

A stylized pastel animation of a girl listening to music while working on her computer

Putting some sound in the background can reduce distractions and help you focus on your task. While it takes a bit of effort to pick the right type of sound for your task, it can pay off in both productivity and rest!

1. Consider the situation

The type of sound you want in your environment depends on the activity you are doing. Are you studying for an exam? Trying to clean your living space? Running on a treadmill at the gym? Sleeping?

  • For activities that require deep concentration and thinking, such as studying, choose soft, non-distracting sounds such as ambient or classical music. 📚

  • For activities that involve movement, like cleaning or exercising, try energizing music. 🔋

  • For sleeping, soft, natural sounds such as white noise are the best option, as they can mask noises that disrupt sleep. 🛌

    A rat wearing a crown. The text reads,


Josh is deciding what type of background noise to put on while he sleeps. Which should he choose?

2. Consider the lyrics and noise level

If you are in a public space or a place you share with others, it's essential to consider how your chosen background sounds may affect them.

  • In public places, avoid playing loud music or other sounds.

  • Always check with those around you before you play anything that may disturb others.

  • Wear headphones to listen to music quietly.

A cartoon of a smiling bee and a flower, around a text bubble stating

Another thing to keep in mind is that, depending on your task, certain music lyrics can distract you and those around you. Choose your sound carefully!

3. Test and adjust

Once you've decided upon a few go-to musical pieces or ambient noises for different situations, you can see what works and what doesn't for maximum rest or productivity. Don't be afraid to mix things up a bit!

Lisa Simpson tells Bart,

This is a good opportunity to listen to genres and artists you might not normally consider. For example, you might find you enjoy listening to freeform jazz or Baroque music while cleaning!

Take Action

The right background noise can maximize your sense of concentration, motivation, and rest. With the right ambient sound, you can increase your quality of life!

A group of TV presenters. One says,

Be sure to consider the next steps:


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