One thing that has really improved my productivity recently is ambient music. And to be more specific, Harry Potter ambient music.
I wrote about ASMR Rooms and using them to immerse yourself into a single task, and on “background environments” in general, back in November last year. And it’s something I’ve slowly been using more over time.
I’m not totally sure why Harry Potter is the thing that works for me, but I assume it’s down to a few factors. It has a nostalgic effect, the music is great, and I find it to be rather relaxing. The full effect comes with the various videos you’ll find on YouTube where you’ll get a scene from the movie (or an adaptation), a mix of the music, some slight movement in the scene, and also a few atmospheric sound effects.
The best way to describe it would be that you’re immersing yourself in a distraction-free environment, where you can fully focus on a single task. What I typically do is connect my MacBook to my external monitor, and keep the MacBook screen solely for one of these videos. It seems to keep one half of my brain occupied, so I can use the other half to do something productive.
It’s something I would suggest that everyone tries, although you may find that Harry Potter isn’t right for you. I’d suggest searching “ambient music” or “ASMR room” on YouTube, and having a look through them. I’ve also found some great ones based on The Hobbit which are quite nice too.