I love listening to music while I work. While in school, I almost never listened to music with lyrics as I found it too distracting. That same pattern has continued to hold true for me as I work as a programmer. I find that focus and concentration are extremely important.

While I love getting to work from home and spend more time with my wife and two daughters due to a lack of commute, it does bring its own host of issues. In retrospect, though, I control my environment to a much higher degree than I ever did while working in an office with well-meaning co-workers asking about my weekend, wanting help on a bug fix, etc. I’m completely guilty of doing this as well, and while it can be great for morale at times, it also makes intense focus work more difficult to achieve.

One way that has worked great for me to keep me focused and on-task is listening to lyric-free music while I work. As such, classical and electronic genres fit that bill especially well. My music service of choice is Spotify - I like their design, ease of use, and I don’t like being forced in to only Apple products, which is my main aversion to Apple Music. Spotify Wrapped has a great rundown of your “year in review” of music. For 2018, my stats are:

Total Minutes Listened: 37,058

Top Genre: Classical

Apparently I also listened to “non-mainstream artists 127% more than the average Spotify listener.” I’m not an indie band afficionado or “music snob,” so I’m going to assume that’s just a result of listening to a fair bit of classical music. At this point, my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist is almost entirely classical music, so I don’t even have to search it out anymore.

For value per dollar, I think Spotify is a great fit for me:

37,058 minutes / 60 minutes per hour = ~617 hours

617 hours / 8 hours per working day = ~77 full working days of listening to music

$15 / month * 12 months = $180 / year

$180 / 617 = $0.29 / hour of listening

$0.29 per hour / 60 minutes per hour = $0.004 per hour

So, listening to classical music helps keep me focused, avoid distractions, and produce better work for myself and clients - all at the cost of less than half a cent per hour. I think that’s an investment I can afford to keep making!