Due my personality, I’m generally a very active and anxious person. Loads of ideas come into my mind every day. I struggle to keep focus on what is important, what I’m currently working.
To “gain” time, I like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I am working on something. It is fine when the work is repetitive, and you can free your mind by putting your body into an autopilot, separating mind from body. You can even see your physical existence, like you are dead and see your corpse. It requires training but by perfecting this technique allows you to do multiple things at the same time.
However, for tasks that require both concentration and creativity, identifiable sounds get in the way. Some words triggers some brain switches that makes my attention to direct to stuff that is not the work. And takes a lot of time to force my mind to concentrate back into productive tasks. Listening to music triggers the same switches.
I don’t recall the exactly place where I found about that rain sounds are relaxing. Its kinda of common sense, but to deliberately listen to rain is not. Investigating the internet i discovered a web site that is so simple that is great: rainymood.com. It keep a infinite loop of a pure relaxing rain recording. With the eyes closed, you could easily feel sad and introspective, with a immense need of a good book and an blanket by just freeing your mind with this hypnotic music. An equivalent solution exists for my Android phone, with Rain Sounds. When the sleeping time comes, it makes a lot easier to put this on and lay down in bed. The sleep comes much sooner. Much calmly. Much rainy.
As an alternative, I’m also a Grooveshark.com recurrent user, BUT, basically listening to the ambient radio station, which have a selection of music that are essentially instrumental, no identifiable patterns and never raise the music energy to the point that is bring our attention. Since Grooveshark is not -currently- blocked on my company, it is a great place to avoid the external noise and focus in the work. With your ears locked, it is time to kill some to-do tasks using martial arts like GTD/pomodoro.