Normally I play music in the background, but recently I've discovered that I can play a podcast on software development/entrepreneurship in the background, and code at the same time. So I listen to the podcast in the background while I bang out code. I've found it to be very helpful, its like I lose all track of time! I don't even notice how long I've been working for until I stare at the clock.

What do you do?

+6  A: 
  • Pink Floyd
  • Beethoven
  • Robin Trower
  • Genesis
  • The Beattles
  • Common
  • Nirvana
  • Yes


jeff, you might like to know that it was your podcasts I listen to while coding, lol
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+1  A: 

Radio Paradise is pretty great. Also Pandora has gotten me through a rough patch or two :P

pandora only works in USA :((
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That's where I live :P
racial discrimination! :P
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Podcasts are bad to listen too unless you are really just doing code monkey work, because if they are interesting, then you will miss most of the good stuff. I got into podcasts when I was a code monkey.

I like to listen to music that I like but can tune out like Jazz and Classical, or something upbeat like Earth Wind and Fire when I'm on a roll.

The more important thing to do is to make sure that you work at a place or on projects that are interesting in and of themselves.

Charles Graham
Not everyone thinks or learns in the same way.
You can't concentrate to your coding and concentrate on the podcast at the same time. PERIOD!
Charles Graham
try it, you'll be surprised. I also used to think that but the fact is you actually can, basically you filter out all the useless stuff but you're aware of what they're talking about, and this kinda makes you forget about how time is going by and you're able to get lots of work done
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If you are doing GUI design and layout StackOverflow can be a good diversion. But when it gets interesting and my coding gets interesting I can only do one at a time!
Jared Updike
+10  A: 

I'll have a timer and set a target to finish a piece of code in block of 15 minutes. The feeling of getting things done -- a piece of code at a time -- feels great.

So, the Timer.

Seymour Cakes
+2  A: 

Explosions in the Sky is my go to music. I'm afraid that my brain is so fried that listening to a podcast and banging out code isn't gonna happen unless I'm doing some trivial stuff. Getting old I guess.

try it, you'll be surprised. I also used to think that but the fact is you actually can, basically you filter out all the useless stuff but you're aware of what they're talking about, and this kinda makes you forget about how time is going by and you're able to get lots of work done
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I listen to Chill radio on the internet.

Nice! Thanks for the link
+1  A: 

I like many others listen to music/talk radio to block out office distractions.

If I run into difficult patches I do talk to myself or take out the whiteboard/legal pad.

I find a reasonable challenge more fun that just pushing out mundane code.

+3  A: 


Even if I'm working out of a private/empty office... I am more focused, more productive and enjoy coding more if I listen to music using headphones.

Specifically: ambient music.. like

Adam Douglass
+2  A: 

Food and Coffee for me!

+1  A: 

Just adding to the codemonkey-podcast conundrum... i like to listen to TED and Google I/O kinda conferences more than podcast, i feel is easier to follow them without thinking(and dual monitor helps a lot here).

When not doing monkey work, i really find that having stuff to play with near is cool, like some juggle balls or some kind of usb, watch, keys, pen or whatever makes me work faster(but i chew on most of them and end up having to buy new usbs, pens,etc)

Finally: a lot of crayons and a lot of big paper! make your class diagram as a kinder garden studen would!

do you chew on the crayons too? :P
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+15  A: 

Succeed! Success is the best and most enjoyable motivator of all. When you see something that you've done working well, and pleasing people you feel very motivated to make it even better. Apart from that I discuss the design process, this tends to lead to lots of in-jokes, laughing and, surprise surprise, more success!

Jesse Pepper

Headphone with Pandora set to play music that is loud and rock-y but not too heavy on the vocals. To be specific, use "Nymphetamine (Fix)" as the seed.

I find listening to rap greatly detriments ability to focus. Stuff like Metallica is great, though.

Besides music, not much. If the project I'm working on is very interesting then I can just dive in and start working on it and not need any other motivation.

rap is cool, yo! where you be livin' at dog?
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It always depends on what I'm coding. If I'm working on an interesting bit then it almost doesn't matter what's going on around me, I'm in the ZONE. But if it's drudge work, then not even Bob Marley can save me.

Al W
+3  A: 

I really like to talk about the programming problems with others, it often leads to new angles that I did not think about. And to sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss a heavy program is quite enjoyable.

Then of curse comes the write code part, and in that phase I prefer total solitude, maybe some ambient/classical music with headphones if I need to block the surrounding world. (Never spoken words since they cut right into your mind even if you don't think so)

And i also like to kill all IM, "mail pop-ups" etc etc so that nothing can jump up and breaks my focus, this is because i find it enjoyable to go face to face with the problem at hand.


Edit: But of curse (as stated above) if it is code monkey stuff then nothing really matters....

+2  A: 

I listen to talk radio. You're right that the time passes quicker, but I also think I'm less focused. If I'm working on something particularly difficult or important, then I'll listen to music or nothing (but with headphones on, interestingly enough).

+1 to this, totally
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+4  A: 

More enjoyable? How could this be any more enjoyable?

+2  A: 

I take pride in my work.

Richard Ev

I like reading about various aspects of coding/productivity/etc. and then get great satisfaction applying them to the work in hand.




Rob Wells
+2  A: 

I'd say that pair programming makes coding more enjoyable for me.

You get to share your successes or failures with a fellow collegue, which either boosts the feeling of work well done, or can help you when you get stuck. Also you can share a laugh or two.

Martin Wickman
+1  A: 

Music in the background, a hot cup of green tea and the occasional smoke break (amazing how many tough problems I encountered that I solved on my smoke break).

For non-smokers: go for a walk (out doors).
Jared Updike
+1  A: 

I place easter eggs in every crevace of my application ;)


Using a typesafe language is kind of boring because the compiler will catch a lot of errors before the program will be executed.

To bring back fun I am now using dynamic languages for lack of type safety. You never know what errors might occur at runtime.

Surprises are fun. Especially in a production system.

+3  A: 

Nothing. Coding is enjoyable.

(It's getting pulled down by a plethora of fools where it starts to go wrong. Hopefully you work somewhere fool-free)


If music's on, I have to listen to it - not just let it wash over me. I can't concentrate on anything else while listening to music, so I can't play music while reading, designing or coding.

I have a bit of a type-E personality, so I'm most energised when I can involve someone else in it. Collaborative coding is good, but it's enough that I can reach out to my colleague on the next desk to point out neat solutions, moan about smells in old code, ask for help on a decision, etc.