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Can Music Boost My Productivity at Work?

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The majority of us are sashaying our way around the office believing that our music is fueling our productivity at work. In some cases it’s true, but what type of tunes you’re listening to can play more of an important role than many of us realize. “Can music actually boost my productivity at work”, you wonder? The studies that have been conducted to prove or disprove the effectiveness of music in the workplace have been a bit contradictory. The good news? We’ve compiled the main takeaways from our reading in one tidy little post so you can put your headphones in sooner and get back to jamming… I mean working!

What do you do? That’s the first question to answer when we’re trying to figure out your ideal playlist. Different situations call for different sounds. What one person finds distracting may be just what the next guy needs to finally finish that big project.

Some general guidelines:

If you work with numbers…

If a significant amount of your time is spent handling numbers (bless your heart if this is you), you might want to look into the Mozart Effect. Might not work for everyone, but some people have found that classical music, such as Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, can boost brain activity and help you focus. It’s worth a shot! You can even count to the music if you find a song with the right tempo. Stay productive at work and avoid the mid-afternoon wall by choosing something upbeat.

Art and design

For all you creatives out there, music is probably essential to your everyday life and will most definitely help to keep you inspired throughout your process. As far as genre, anything you fancy will work best. However, depending on what you’re doing, whether you’re writing, brainstorming, sketching, or designing, try to pick something that will help keep you on track and not completely send you into the twilight zone. We’ve been curating this playlist, and listen to it almost every day. It’s a really odd mix, and it keeps the creative juices flowing. Find a playlist or album that has the mood and feel of what you want to create. Be it clean and modern, futuristic, warm and vintage, dark and dreary, you get the drift. If you hit a mental block, try alternating with silence to make sure the music isn’t distracting you. We need you to keep making this world a beautiful place!

Writing

There’s an interesting phenomenon called the “cocktail party effect,” in which the brain struggles to take in language and vocalization while it tries to form communication of its own. In other words, it’s really hard to write while you’re listening to someone talk (or sing, as the case may be). So before you throw on that ill lyricist playlist, you might want to choose something a little less intrusive. Music with a steady tempo and ambient sound can keep you focused and accurate. Keep it at a medium low volume with little to no lyrics. Artists like Emancipator or Bonobo could work if you can dig it.

Customer service

The real MVPs, the foot soldiers of our economy that deal with customers on a full-time basis. In between not-so-nice customer interactions, listen to whatever keeps you positive and confident. Feel-good songs can change your whole work day if you let them. Also – if you want your job to feel like the boss level in a video game, check out this awesome genre of productivity music. Movie soundtracks can also be an awesome way to make you feel like a gladiator about to dominate your to-do list. So don’t stay stuck in a rut, get in the groove!

So what’s the best music for maximum productivity at work? “Which music will boost my productivity to the max,” you ask? The answer is – there is no answer. Everyone’s different, and we all move to the beat of different drums. Music isn’t a cure-all for your productivity at work. Some tasks require all your senses. Studies have found that in some cases, no music was better than even light music. But being aware of what’s distracting and what’s not is the first step towards using your playlists for good. Start paying attention to what you’re hearing when you get off task. Could it be audio-triggered distraction? Sometimes the sound of silence is the best sound of all. *Sings Simon and Garfunkel.*

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