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Welcome Wednesday: What do you like to listen to (if anything) while you work?

Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

Hi everyone, and welcome to Welcome Wednesday!

We love to see our new Atlassian Community members sharing in the Welcome Center and asking us questions.

What I’d love to find out today from our Community is: Do you listen to music, podcasts or prefer total silence when you work? 🎧 What motivates you?

Since I tend to multitask (read: flit manically between different tasks), it doesn’t distract me to listen to music while I work. I have a special playlist I created while working in customer service which I think helps project a calm and level-headed vibe. Grateful Dead, Crowded House, The Sleepy Jackson, Badly Drawn Boy (amongst others) help me to keep things in perspective! I cannot, however, listen to podcasts while working. I end up becoming too involved in the dialogue and too distracted!

What about you? Do you listen to podcasts, classical music, white noise? Do you need total silence 🤫 ? What helps keep you focused and motivated? Please share in the comments!


Straight down 80's. Not even a question 'bout it :)

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Noice! So are we talking 80's pop, 80's rock... who's your go-to 80's artist?

Latin-jazz lights up every cell in me!

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

Ooh yes I can see this being a positive, good-mood addition to a workday! 

I tend to have the idiot-box (TV) on a lot of the time while I work, but either on documentaries or lightweight stuff that I'm not following too closely.

But for music, I'll jump to most types of classical music that doesn't involve singing stuff in a language I can speak (so I don't try to follow the plot)

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

Hey Nic! Given a lot of us are working remotely these days, I think having the tv on in the background is probably what many people do. I would have trouble not getting sucked in, though, I think! 


Classical music is a great choice, I wonder if I switched it up would it help me focus? 🤔 Do you find you choose music for certain tasks, and tv for others? Do you have a playlist you've made, or just pick any random one from a particular artist?

The TV is for the general work, I think because it can be paused for meetings or when I realise I'm moving into a high-concentration time.  With music, there's some dissonance in pausing a piece.  I go for the music when I need to focus more - the hard part of a proposal, document, design or coding.

No playlists beyond very broad categories (Classical, Metal, English opera, Goth, etc), and I just let Plex randomly go through whichever category I choose.  Except some of the prog-rock albums - Operation Mindcrime for example, tells a story and needs to be mostly listened to in order.

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Maria Pascarella Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

Oooh, depends on the day for sure! On low-energy days, background music helps wake me up and keeps me focused, but I like silence/white-noise a lot of the time. Definitely agree about podcasts - way too distracting!

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

I know some people used to set a certain song as their alarm to help them wake up... Do people still do that? The way you wake up certainly can set the mood for the rest of the day. What kind of background music do you choose?

@Kate Clark I used to have Muse - Plug In Baby as my alarm.  The opening guitar used to wake me up straight away!

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@Liam Green Love it! If I had to choose a wake-up song I think it'd be La femme d'argent by Air, dreamy way to wake up... but I'd probably end up staying in bed!

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@Kate Clark Muse used to get me straight out of bed!  

I usually listen to music, and all kinds of music, depends on my mood. If I am feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed, I have a dedicated playlist of "happy songs" to mitigate and keep me calm, but normally whatever song is on my Spotify playlists.

I can listen to podcasts while I'm working, but I only do it when I feel the day is dragging and I start procrastinating, I find podcasts bring me back into some kind of productive mood and helps the day go by

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

Oh I love a "happy songs" playlist! Super interesting that podcasts can bring you back in to a productive mood. Do you have a favourite type of podcast?

Might sound a tad strange, but I listen to crime podcasts mostly! That's not to say that's the only thing I listen to, but I find them the most interesting and trying to match some kind of personas and behaviours.

I am currently working my way through the Claremont trial podcasts, and I think the reason it will bring me back into some kind of productive mood is because my mind goes 'if you can focus on this, then you can focus on your work' 

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 28, 2020

@Zoe Barr Oh my gosh I need to listen to one about the Claremont trials! I find crime podcasts utterly fascinating too, but it would be way too distracting for me while working. 

Usually nothing. Most mornings I'm either super focused and don't care, or I've got some meetings to attend anyway, so it just usually never gets turned on. But when I do....all over the map. Pandora stations usually the go to for variety. 

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

That's good that you have a routine that works for you. Thanks for sharing!

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Oct 27, 2020

When I was at the office, we had a very open architecture where it was very distracting, so I would generally put on heavy metal something that has a good beat because I need to drown out the noise around me.

Today, my wife and I work on different floors of the house, and our son is at daycare so I have a very quiet working space.

However, I find that I still end up putting on heavy metal because my body has gotten into the habit of being very focused on what is in front of me while I'm listening to it.

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

I definitely used to use music to block out other distractions in an open-plan office setting too. That's interesting that it's habitual now even in a quiet space though!

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If I'm working on something that requires my full attention I prefer silence, but for other tasks I like to have movie soundtrack music, more concretely from movies that impacted me when I watched them. E.g. lately I've been listening to the one from "The Lord of The Rings". If what I'm doing is easy and I don't need to think much I like to listen to some of the bands that I enjoyed at concerts such as Muse, The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, or Rammstein (I know, the last one doesn't fit with the rest ;-))

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 27, 2020

Ooh, I love the music soundtrack idea. I imagine The Lord of The Rings soundtrack is quite powerful! Sounds like you have great memories associated with live music!

Dear Kate,

there is this free internet radio that has several channels, one of them is mission control where they mix old NASA recordings of mission broadcasts with ambience. This is okay for programming. I'd never put on something with lyrics while doing that, though. All distractions reduce the ability to code so I only use headphones to cancel out the ever present traffic background noise.

From time to time I also listen to carbon based lifeform, tangerine dream, future sound of london or nature sound recordings like "rainy forest" stuff.

Have fun out there and fly safe.

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 28, 2020

Hi @Thorsten Schocke thank you so much for sharing! These are so interesting, I will definitely look up the old NASA recordings.

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Hi and good morning everyone,

As I'm distracted easily by talking (or singing), I mostly hear ambient, chill-out, some trance. Depends on, if I need to be pushed (then it's trance) or calmed down and I just need to mute the talking of my colleagues. :-)

Happy Wednesday everyone! It's over-the-hill day. :-D


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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 28, 2020

Happy over-the-hill day to you too, @Alexander Sorg! Trance or repetitive upbeat music helps me too, if I need to power through work and I'm not writing sentences 😅


Thanks for sharing!

Generally speaking a random playlist, preferably with some 'new' (to me) indie-esque tunes I haven't heard before. If I'm on a mission and need a bit of motivation, something with a heavy beat to give me a bit of urgency and pace. Working from home is great because if its a track I know, I can indulge in some guilt free singing! :D

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 28, 2020

An excellent call-out of remote working, @Sarah Humble!

Spotify has some great Indie playlists and Indie radio stations that I enjoy. I'm a big fan of the 'daily mixes' for being able to listen to a certain vibe, but also discover a new song or artist along that similar style.

I love the music from my college / university days, so generally it's just 'Alexa, play music from 2003 - 2009' but sometimes I will focus in depending on the task.  My Chemical Romance is my current 'go to' for focussed work.

If I'm in the office I usually work with just the background noise, but sometimes play something to drown it out.

I prefer not to listen to podcasts or the TV as I get too drawn in

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Kyren Wong Atlassian Team Oct 28, 2020

OooooOo m8 My Chemical Romance is bomb, nice choice ✨

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Helena is one of my favourite tracks - it seems to really get me pumped for work

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Kate Clark Community Manager Oct 28, 2020

Ah @Liam Green mid-to-late-2000s is my jam too! It's amazing/awesome the way music can either make you remember everything, or forget everything.

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@Kate Clark  I instantly go back to a mis-spent youth drinking in bars!  But I agree it is awesome how it transports you

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Flavien Gache Community Leader Nov 03, 2020

I generally listen to calm or ambient music that help me focus, such as Emancipator, Kodomo, Agnès Obel, Darren Korb, Jesper Kyd... It helps me be relaxed while working.

And sometimes I am all about Bring me The Horizon in a completely different style. 8D

Hana Kučerová Community Leader Nov 08, 2020


I love movie soundtracks, so even though I usually start with something random, I end up with some of my favourites like Dances with Wolves, Gladiator, Dirty Dancing, Forrest Gump, The Fountain etc.

What seems to me suprising, that some people, who must work from home, are missing office noises so much, they listen to "office noise background" tracks.


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