Music Exploration and Web Development: A Match Made in Heaven
One thing I enjoy most about music and web development is that there is so much of it out there. You could start listening to new music right now and die before you have even made a dent. The same goes for websites. You can start drawing inspiration from new sites and never stop. There is so much great development inspiration on the web.
For me, music has always been a key part of my work ritual. I almost always have music playing as I code. The best part of it is, I can discover new music as I work. New music discovery does not need to be a task in itself and can run in the background.
I have always loved finding new music. It can be a rewarding process to find a new artist that you never knew of yet you love all their music. The problem is the time-consuming nature of finding new music. I often go into ruts of listening to the same stuff over and over because I do not want to take the time to discover something new. This is where web development plays its’ role.
When I am developing, I find a playlist or build one based on recommendations from friends. Then I let it run as I code all day. Occasionally hitting my hot key for favoriting a track. This allows me to code and do my music discovery in one swing. At the end of the day, I have 10-20 new artists to check out because I enjoyed their tracks as I was working. There is something very pleasing about music discovery being more passive than active. You let the music present itself to you, and with no bias you listen. Only later do you find out who made the track and what genre it may fall under.
A huge pitfall for me when discovering music is the genre. I avoid genres that I generally do not like. This limits my discovery and exposure to new music. When I build a playlist from recommendations or find a random playlist I am no longer the one deciding. I can then stop worrying about judging things by genre and get to the important part of listening. This strategy has exposed me to more new music than ever before. I now listen to genres I used to dislike and am finding new music on a daily basis. A rate which I could not keep up in the past.
Part of the reason music and development work so well together is they both have a flow. All developers know what it is like to get into a good coding flow. The world shuts down and it is only you and your code, nothing else. Time goes away and before you know it, it has been 8 hours. Getting into these grooves is huge for productivity because that is when you are most productive. No distractions, no pauses, just you and your code.
Music is very similar. Each song has its own pace, its own groove. When you can make the groove of the music to bring about the groove of your coding you arrive in a productive place.
I usually listen to music without words as I work. I tend to find lyrics and words can be somewhat distracting for me. I may hang onto a lyric and end up thinking about it instead of focusing on my work. Your results may vary.
I view this all as somewhat of a productivity hack. The music helps me get into the zone when coding. It helps me focus and remember that this time is solely for me to push things forward. Also, it gives me the opportunity to listen to new music. Something I find challenging when I am actively searching for new music. Letting the music discovery become passive while at the same time letting it help me be more productive has been beneficial. I no longer stress out about finding new music. I no longer struggle with getting into my coding groove. They both compliment each other quite well.
This leaves me curious about what you do to help yourself get into the zone. Do you listen to music? What type of music? Do you use your coding time as a time to discover new music or play music you already enjoy? We all do different things which help us work better and more productive. This has always been an interest of mine. Finding out what people are doing to improve their work or improve their time doing the work.
Small day to day hacks like this can be a great way to get something done you previously felt there was no time for. For me, finding new music always took a lot of time and effort to find something I enjoyed. Now it is as easy as finding a playlist and hitting play. Not only has this been great for reigniting my music discovery bug, but it has increased my work productivity. At the end of the day, if I am listening to more new music than ever and also being more productive I am a happy camper.