more »" />


by Meghann on May 19, 2010

I have a question for those of you who listen to music via headphones while you are working: How do you do it?

I’ve had my headphones in for the last hour or so listening to the Spring Awakening CD and all I want to do is sit back and listen to the music. I find it very distracting when trying to type anything up. For mindless data entry listening to music seems great, but for any sort of writing? I just can’t do it.

(p.s. Anyone else believe headphones are the devil? I don’t mind headphones when I’m running, but any other time I LOATHE them. I think my ears are claustrophobic – just like my feet. 😉 )

Mid-morning I snacked on a Dark Chocolate Coconut Kashi Bar.


Lunch was a big, beautiful salad.


I was channeling my inner Eating Bender with a little Tuna Humbecue Salad action.

Tuna Humbecue = Tuna + Hummus + Barbeque Sauce 🙂


  • Arugula
  • Tuna Humbecue
  • Radish
  • Carrot
  • Avocado
  • Feta Cheese
  • Raisins


With TJ’s Peanut Butter Pretzels on the side.


Planning on attending the Healthy Living Summit this year in Chicago?

Header over to Caitlin or Heather’s blog for a chance to win an early ticket! Or you can head over to at 9:00 pm tonight when tickets officially go on sale!

I’m hitting Hot Yoga up tonight with my sister! It’s her first time, I hope she likes it!

1 gavrielski May 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I’m like you–I can’t focus on what I’m doing when I listen to music with my headphones. I often don’t even listen to music when I’m out running on the streets because I find it so distracting! I save the music listening for when I’m driving or doing something mindless, like cooking or folding laundry. After your review of Spring Awakening, I can’t wait to download the soundtrack!

And your salad looks fantastic! Interesting flavor combinations!

P.S. HUGE thank you to all of your readers who suggested the Garmin deal the other day! I had been going back and forth about buying one, and I couldn’t refuse with that great deal. 🙂

2 Meg May 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I feel the same way about headphones – I can only wear them when I workout. I can’t tolerate them at any other time! I love those dark chocolate coconut Kashi bars – so yummy! 🙂

3 Evan Thomas May 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I can’t use earbuds. maybe my ears are misshapen or something but those things HURT

4 Megan@EatScrapRun May 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Evan, that’s the same thing my husband says!

5 britchickruns May 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I can only have headphones when I’m working out too – if I’m working, ANY noise is distraction 🙁
Have a great time at yoga!

6 ellaroo88 May 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I actually don’t mind headphones but I think broadway tunes are impossible to listen to while I work. I think it’s cause I get caught up in the story. I like soundtracks without music

7 Derek May 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

we’ve talked about this before. You’re just weird for not liking headphones 😉

8 Sarah for Real May 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I agree, I can’t listen to music if I’m typing or reading. I never understood my friends in college who could listen to music while they studied, it’s way to distracting!

I don’t do much word-related work so I listen to music but no through headphones. Earbuds or the over-the-ear kind both hurt my ears after a while.

Plus, don’t you worry about people sneaking up on you at work? My back is turned toward my door so if I have headphones on and my hair is down, people can’t tell. They think I’m ignoring them! Not a good way to impress the boss…

9 Christy May 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I listen to music all day at work! I work for a music company so they provide us with ipod docks and encourage us to listen to our artists, so it’s the norm around here. I used to get distracted by the music but now whenever I have “important” work to do I just tune it out otherwise it’s happy listening!

10 Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle May 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

For writing, it is really hard to listen to anything with lyrics. I type the lyrics! I can listen to classical though. And I have to for any part of the day when they guy next to me eats. He is a terrible open mouth chomper/drink slurper and it is WAY more distracting than the music!

11 Jenny May 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Another creative lunch! Never did I think I’d hear the words humbecue!

12 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday May 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm

It’s a lot easier to focus when listening to music when other people are talking. I find overhearing a conversation much more disruptive.

13 Heather R May 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

That salad looks yummy! I’ve totally been wanting some tuna lately, maybe I’ll give that one a try.

As for the headphones, I can still concentrate when I’m listening, but my problem is that I’ll start to sing along and not realize how loud I’m getting in the office! LOL

14 Trish May 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I am a journalist and I can’t listen to music when I am writing or trying to focus. If it’s a slow day and I am doing mundane stuff, then maybe. The only noise I can have is rainfall. I sometimes use – it helps block out and background distraction. But music when working? I really just can’t do it – I can’t focus.

15 RhodeyGirl May 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

What did you think of the bar?!?

16 Jes May 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

That Kashi bar looks A-ma-zing!!!! =)

I have found the energetic, scratch that, annoying girl working in the sales department way more annoying and distracting than music… I use my music as an escape… I normally listen to stuff i have listened to A LOT so i am not really “into” it, but it distracts me from other sounds. Like her taking personal calls at work and discussing her happy pills…

Katie@ two lives, one lifestyle has it right with classical…. no words, soothing, and inspirational =)

17 Anna May 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Yum! I love those Kashi bars!

18 Olivia @ Blissful Runner May 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I don’t have a problem with headphones, though I agree, I could NEVER work or read or do just about anything other than run and daydream with them in. I do however, have a similar problem with sunglasses. I find it super annoying to have these plastic things stuck to my face. Driving with sunglasses? Forget it. Is it only me or does it seem incredibly unsafe to anyone else to operate a motor vehical with your periferal vision competely obstructed?!

19 Ellen May 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm

lol, funny. I have to have my sunglasses. I always turn my head and check my blindspots before merging or changing lanes. 🙂

20 Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy May 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I can’t work while listening to headphones, but I can with just computer speakers. Strange. However, I really like headphones at certain times because I feel like the music surrounds you more. Maybe I’m crazy?

21 Bethany May 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I have issues wearing regular headphones – they just don’t fit into my ears properly and will fall out! Forget about running and trying to keep them in! I have to wear the kind that have little suction cups over the buds, but they hurt after a while.

If I’m listening to music at work, I like to go with something very soft and easy listening. Nothing that will make me want to sing along! I have a coworker that tends to sing softly along with her music while she’s wearing headphones and I don’t think she realizes that she’s even doing it!

22 Mindy May 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I almost always have my iPod going at work, but I generally keep it on the lowest volume and only keep one earbud in.

23 Dynamics May 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Impossible. Can you not turn the speakers on very low so as to not disturb your neighbor? Sometimes I pull the one earphone out of one ear. I wear little speakers like headphones so it is easy to remove one.

24 Erin May 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I can’t listen to music and do anything that requires thought, either. I just get caught up in the music. In fact, I can’t even sleep when there’s music playing. Something that drove my husband nuts when we first got together since he loved to fall asleep with the radio on.

25 Caroline May 19, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I’m one of those mindless data entry folks for a few more years (but getting free college classes out of it for my pre-reqs for my masters!), so headphones definitely get me through the eternally long 8 hours in an office. We don’t even have real cubicles so our computers come with disabled speakers. I’ve grown very fond of podcasts and audiobooks.

26 absolutelyido May 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm

The only way I can listen to music and work is if it lyric-less (or in Swedish!) as I get very distracted by the words. I have found that soundtracks to action/sci-fi movies work really well. Batman Begins, LotR and the Bourne movies are some of my go-tos.

27 Ellen May 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Earbuds don’t fit into my ears so I have to use the kind that wrap around my ears. A friend told me to check into ‘kid’s size earbuds’. I LOVE those coconut kashi bars- so delish!

28 Jenn (eating bender) May 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Hummmmbecue 🙂 So glad you had such a delicious lunch!

So excited for tickets to go on sale tonight! It’s going to be crazy, isn’t it?

Re: headphones – I can’t concentrate with them in, either! And I can never get them to stay in my ear while running. So clearly, I’m not a headphone fan – haha!

29 Sarah May 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Ooh, I would love to be going to hot yoga tonight. I hope your sister likes it!

30 Sarah (cocoanutshakes) May 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm

there are dark chocolate coconut kashi bars??? i must find.

i used to have to use headphones at my old job because the room i worked in was so quiet. I would always go a little nuts just having almost silence all day so the music really motivated me and actually made me feel more productive. even my boss would wear noise cancelling headphones! not a very talkative place =)

31 hundredtenpounds May 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm

My office is really noisy so it’s a blessing that I can listen to headphones. I listen to my “shows” (talk radio) while I work and never have any issues.

32 Erin May 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I definitely can’t listen to showtunes because it makes me want to sing along but most other music doesn’t distract me as much. Sometimes I’ll listen to talk radio or even just classical, anything to drown out the noise around me.

33 Lisa @ bakebikeblog May 19, 2010 at 6:21 pm

ooooh great looking lunch!
I can’t really wear headphones at work because I wont be able to hear the phone ring!

34 Jenna May 19, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Looks delishhh!

35 anotherannabanana May 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I sometimes wear headphones with music really low if I’m typing something up or making agendas, etc. If I’m reading I can’t do it.

Love all the BBQ sauce lately! We have this DELICIOUS bottle of sweet vidalia onion BBQ sauce. Your posts make me want to pour it on EVERYTHING!

36 chasingcasey May 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I hate that I practially live in headphones. Where I work they play the spanish radio alllllll day. So I have them in then, AND when I go to the gym. Not too proud, but it keeps me sane.

37 Katherine: What About Summer? May 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm

what kind of tuna do you use? // what kind of bbq sauce? (it’s hard to find sauce without a ton of sugar)

38 Carolyn @ May 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I can’t listen to music either when working.

39 thirtyandhealthy May 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm

The part of your brain that deals with language can’t work and process music with lyrics at the same time (the whole thing about being able to multi-task is kind of a myth; each side of the brain can only deal with one thing at a time). So you can either work on spacial/math/practical work and listen to music with lyrics, or work with words and listen to classical! I tend not to bother with music while working but put it on when doing ‘mindless’ things like housework and exercise 🙂

40 Rachael May 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Can’t do headphones – I’m always striving to hear what’s happening “beyond” them, which kind of defeats the purpose of wearing them to begin with. Plus, when it comes to music, I like to feel enveloped by a loud bubble..
Biking to work – always the best intention, but when I was still semi-commuting, there was always a reason not to – dogs, yoga far far away that I would have to dash to anyways, getting up late, being terrified of biking in SoCal traffic…

41 Kellie May 19, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I can’t listen to music when I am trying to focus. I get too distracted. I never understood how people can listen to music while studying.

42 Britt @ Runnerbelle May 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I actually am able to focus better at work when I have my headphones on and am listening to music. There are so many distractions around me that it helps to tune them out….. co-workers on conference calls, people chit chatting, a co-worker freaking out over nothing, people coughing non-stop due to allergies, etc. More often than not I’m dealing with spreadsheets though, so it can be kind of mindless work.

43 runningwithsass May 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

I am the same, I can listen while doing mindless things but not real “work”

44 amanda May 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I can’t listen to music if I am trying to concentrate on work. I only normally listen to music when I am working out. However if I am on the elliptical reading a mag while exercising I normally take my headphones off so I can concentrate on exercising and reading the article.

45 aedulmes May 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I’m a web designer, so for me, the music helps the creative juices flow 🙂 Also, my workplace is noisy so it keeps me from eavesdropping and getting distracted! Ps. I LOVE tuna! Gotta add that to my salad tomorrow…never tried BBQ though with it, great suggestion! Never thought to put that combo together

46 Amanda May 20, 2010 at 6:52 am

I listen to a station called ‘chill out’ on yahoo radio, most of the songs don’t have lyrics and they are up-beat, yet relaxing. I find anything with lyrics totally distracts me, how could you not sing along to one of your favorite songs! I never listen to music during exercise, but at work it helps me relax which makes me more productive.

47 Jill@MySoCalledHealthLife May 20, 2010 at 8:24 am

You should get some of those monster headphones like DJ’s, I bet you could rock those 😉 And your ears would be happy youre not putting those little ear buds in!

48 Tracy May 20, 2010 at 11:39 am

I feel the same way about headphones! I think the only time I like to wear them is doing cardio. I can’t wear them while lifting weights…it’s like I’m nervous because I’m not as aware of who’s around or behind me? Definitely claustrophobic!

49 Lauren @ Running Examiner May 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Humbecue…interesting! Does it taste good? I am a little skeptical. I don’t usually get very inventive with tuna…but I’m willing to try!

50 Lauren @ Running Examiner May 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I don’t mind headphones, earbuds, whatever. I live in NYC, so I pretty much always have my iPod on me when I’m walking to work, etc. I feel like earbuds have sort of become an extension of my ears…

51 Anita Ruth October 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I am not able to concentrate on my work while listening to music on my headphones. I can’t seem to concentrate on music and work at the same time.’s It’s frustrating because so many of my associates love to listen to music while working. I thought maybe something was wrong with me and was glad someone felt the same way as me!!!

52 William Campbell December 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Wearing headphones is better than listening to captain phlegm who sits right behind me.
Two Years of non-stop sniffling,snorkeling, throught clearing, and coughing. Literally every 5 minutes, all day everyday. Without headphones, he would be dead by now.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: