I'm a sucker for productivity. Much as I like to listen to enlivening pop tunes during work time, I find them quite distracting, and often obtrusive to my thought process. Normally, I'd just play something on loop until my ears are practically immune (in physiology language that's basically sensory adaptation). However, my auditory sense somehow manages to channel out and pick up 'Caught in a bad romance... or I'm your biggest fan I'll follow you until you love me, Paparazzi!' somewhere along the way. Recently, I've tried to ditch all my .mp3s, and it worked for a time, until I realized that my creativity also went into mute.
I discovered ambient music through my random clicks at Lifehacker. It was the kind of background music I was looking for for such a long time, although I wasn't quite able to put a finger on it. It's a mix of classical, jazz, nature and other unimposing sounds that leaves you to your thoughts and yet breaks the monotony of silence. Think of spa, bookstore or coffee shop music.
I'm loving it so far. There are some free tracks at Hearts of Space if you want to sample what ambient music is like. It might also work if you're studying for an exam or just want to relax from daily hubbub.
Photo credit: www.michaelpeters.de/