Many of us are working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means many people are learning how to work from home full time for the first time. While the lack of morning preparation, a commute, and face time with co-workers who have coffee breath can give you more undistracted work time, staying inside can also make you a little stir crazy.
Let’s be honest: Working remotely is weird and with everything going on in the world around us, it’s easy to be scared and stressed out. With so many distractions on our phones and in our houses, and no in-person management, it’s easy to get off track with our work responsibilities.
One of the best ways to stay focused and block out the world at large is to listen to music. It can keep you on task and motivated, plus sharing music is a great way to start a conversation and keep in touch with others. So, as we continue forward during these unprecedented times, we put together this list of our favorite Spotify playlists to keep you on track during this era of social distancing. Wash your hands, turn up the volume, and dive in.
Waking Up: Pop Music of the 2010s
With a national sense of grief happening, slipping into depression is common. Getting out of bed and finding strength to start the day can be hard. To combat this, throw on the earworm pop music of the last decade. These hits will put you in a lively mood and instantly brighten your day. It’s impossible to feel defeated listening to “Your Love is My Drug.” Brush your teeth to “Replay” and wonder what happened to Iyaz!
Meeting Motivation: 80s Montage Music
Presenting over a video conference can be awkward and intimidating. You don’t know where to look, people talk over each other, and you’re unsure if anyone is listening. It’s a choir to attend a meeting too. Squash your fears and get out of your head by preparing for your meeting as if you’re in an 80s training montage. With songs from Rocky, The Karate Kid, and Top Gun, this playlist will get your blood flowing and pump you up. One listen to “Danger Zone” and you’re good to present the hell out of those quarter one findings.
Lock In and Focus: Jazz Vibes
Look, it’s easy for time to get away from you when you’re working from home. It has happened to me multiple times while writing this article. To lock back into your work grove, turn on Jazz Vibes. These instrumental hip-hop beats seamlessly flow together, making you lose your sense of time and melt away your distractions.
Wind Down: Acoustic Covers
Working from home is doing something familiar in a new setting. At the end of a trying work day, unplug by listening to new versions of familiar songs. Artists like Dua Lipa, Imagine Dragons, and Ed Sheeran, along with some undiscovered talent, bring new styles to some jukebox favorites. Get sentimental with Obadian Parker’s “Hey Ya” or soulful with James TW’s “U Remind Me.”
Solo Happy Hour: This is Parliament-Funkadelic
Isolation doesn’t need to kill your social life. But how can you transition from work to leisure when you’re doing it all in the same space? Get a little funky. Make yourself a cocktail, start a video chat with your friends, and ease the weight off your shoulders. Keep it on as you make dinner and unwind into the rest of your night.
(Okay, this is a bit of a cop-out but I really believe for everyone’s mental health we should all listen to at least one Parliament song a day.)
Music isn’t for everyone at work. Some people like to zone out and work to talk radio or podcasts. Spotify has a Daily Podcast playlist that gives you recommendations based on your taste.
Our recommendations? To catch up on the news every morning check out NPR’s Up First. To learn something new you never thought about, listen to Underunderstood. For non-pretentious and trivial movie talk, subscribe to The Ringer’s The Rewatchables. And listen to The Rights to Ricky Sanchez, a basketball podcast that’s more entertaining when basketball isn’t going on.
Make your own!
Making a playlist as a group or department can give your business a much-needed sense of community. Bond over shared tastes and new music discoveries. Or learn who in the office has a terrible taste in music and remember not to invite them to your wedding.
Here at Lighting Media Partners, we have our own Music Mondays. Every week we chose a theme and our team puts songs into collaborative playlists. So far, we’ve done ’90s songs, songs that make you happy, instrumental songs, and beach vibes. Some themes that I have not pitched yet and will get rejected* include songs in the soundtrack to your life, middle school dance, and songs you’d listen to on a road trip with Joe Exotic.
Make your days brighter and work go by quicker with a little bit of music. Remember to share what you’re listening to with your team. Who knows, you may even implement Pitbull Fridays in the office when you all gather together again.
*Editor’s Note: Since this blog was originally written, we have used Soundtrack to Your Life and Middle School Dance as Music Monday themes. The jury is still out on Joe Exotic (pun sort of intended).