A week or two ago I found this website on the internet called "Coffitivity." Coffitivity is a website designed by a group of people who decided to create something to help them "work better." It literally has the sounds of a coffee shop coming through your speakers! This helped me a lot, because the house was quiet, and with the soothing vibes of a coffee shop going on in the background, I settled down and plugged into my homework right away. I wasn't distracted by lyrics, or even people talking. It was just soothing noise streaming from my laptop, my mind focused on God's attributes, which I need to know for my Bible test tomorrow.
As a writer, this helps me to buckle down and get the creative juices flowing. Occasionally I'll have music playing while I write, but Coffitivity? That's where it's at. If you're a writer, I suggest you try it! It's a great way to delve into another world. It gets your mind centered, and helps the words to come easier (I know, because I'm listening to it now). I'm not saying it's going to make you a better writer, but it sure does help me strive toward becoming better.
I don't think it's scientifically proven that this helps people work harder and better, but it is a great substitute for music when you have to focus on other things besides those beautiful lyrics you love!