How to Focus

13 Productivity Playlists to Center and Focus ADHD Brains

We asked ADDitude readers what focus music helps them hit a productive groove while working or studying. They recommended these 13 playlists for channeling attention — and getting more done.

Got music? In a recent survey, most ADDitude readers said they focus best while listening to music — so we asked for specific song suggestions. Below are 13 productivity playlists by and for ADHD brains. Next time you need to buckle down and get things done, look here for the perfect ADHD focus music or just follow ADDitude’s Spotify channel.

Have more suggestions? Leave your song, artist and/or playlist recommendations in the comments below — we’re always adding new music to the ADDitude Spotify!

Playlist #1: Upbeat Songs to Kickstart ADHD Brains

Punchy, high-energy focus music to get your to-do list started, the playlist features Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes” and Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue.” First thing in the morning or during the afternoon slump, lean on these upbeat songs for an injection of pure focus.

“Sometimes while I’m working, I like to take a break and listen to something that makes me dance for two to five exhausting minutes to let my energy explode and then get back to focusing.”
— Bay, New Jersey

“I need to occupy my brain and body simultaneously, so if I have to do mindless tasks like making dinner, washing dishes, or folding laundry, I need something that engages my brain. Up-tempo songs with lyrics I can sing along to work well. Without them I just can’t do anything.”
— An ADDitude Reader

[Download: Music for Healthy ADHD Brains]

Playlist #2: Instrumentals for ADHD Focus

Many ADDitude readers reported that they find lyrics distracting, so we created this purely instrumental playlist to reap all the productive benefits of listening to music without any diverting drawbacks. Filled with punchier instrumental pop and slower ballads, this playlist is perfect for people with ADHD looking for a happy, productive groove.

“I listen to instrumental music — not too fast, not too slow. It has that constant beat that sets my pace for my tasks.”
— Bert, Indiana

“I listen to instrumental, calming music that really relaxes me from inside out. It’s the first step to slowing my brain.”
— An ADDitude Reader

Playlist #3: ADHD Brain Food

Sometimes your ADHD brain just craves some good, fun music. In those moments, feed your brain with the easy, catchy songs on this playlist. Listen to these songs on your morning commute or while working for an extra dose of daily happiness.

“I need playful, interesting music to jolt me into productivity. I also love to sing along/harmonize with music, so this helps while cooking and cleaning, too.”
— Kelsey, Minnesota

“I don’t have just one type of music or song that helps me focus and so I end up changing playlists and artists to whatever helps me at that moment. Sometimes I just need to listen to a band I enjoy.”
— An ADDitude Reader

[Read: Study Music to Focus the ADHD Brain]

Playlist #4: First Day of Summer

“First Day of Summer is my go-to for an upbeat shot in the arm when I have the 2 o’clock sleepies — lots of electronic funkiness, world music, fun song remixes, and jazz.”
— Molly Durham – Texas

Playlist #5: Lush Lo-Fi

“When I discovered lo-fi music, it changed everything! It’s the perfect background music for me to keep my brain happy and engaged while I work or just relax. It seems to regulate me, keep me on track, and it keeps me from getting overwhelmed with what I’m doing.”
— An ADDitude Reader

Playlist #6: Sem Letra Nem Baleias

“I work better with background music, but lyrics distract me and I hate New Age-y music with whale sounds, etc., so I made my own, which contains neither lyrics nor whales (hence the title of the playlist in Portuguese). It’s mostly acoustic versions of Brazilian samba and rap/hip-hop songs.”
— An ADDitude Reader

Playlist #7: Classical Focus

“If I need to focus on anything intellectual, I play some calm instrumental music. It can’t have lyrics or I’ll pay more attention to the lyrics than my own thoughts. These soundtracks are heavily vetted before I use them for something important!”
— Colleen, North Dakota

Playlist #8: Lo-Fi Workday

“I find songs that I know and/or are lyric-heavy that can split my attention. When I need to focus — at work or around the house — instrumental tracks are my ‘secret sauce!’”
— Gate, Seattle

Playlist #9: Do You Have MySpace?

“I prefer songs I know as they are less distracting. I made a playlist called Do You Have MySpace? because it’s mostly songs from my high school period (2004-2009). It has been very useful lately as I tackled a big task that still required some brain power at work.”
— Catherine, Quebec

Playlist #10: Moneyball

“I had a professor who told me that he writes all his papers while listening to the Moneyball soundtrack. I gave it a try and haven’t looked back since. I hope this helps other people with ADHD!”
— Spencer, British Columbia

Playlist #11: Bass House

“Bass House is just a great jump-around list that is exciting without being frenetic.”
— Molly Durham, Texas

Playlist #12: Repetitive Needs

“I have a playlist of songs that I could listen to on infinite repeat and then I pick a song from that list before I start whatever task I need to do.”
— Cameron, Australia

Playlist #13: Road Trip to Tokyo

“Combining instrumental music with posh hotel vibes, this music keeps you moving without distraction.”
— Aria, California

Music for ADHD Focus: Next Steps


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