If you’ve ever found yourself nodding or dancing while listening to music, you know firsthand that the right mood can boost your productivity and help you get more out of your workday. But what if you could achieve this productive working state at any time? The truth is: you can. With the right music to keep you productive while you work, you can double your productivity.
In this article, we’ll talk about how music impacts productivity, examine what type of music is best for what types of work, and even look at a few different playlists with productive music to help you maximize your work quality.
How does music affect your productivity?
First, what’s going on behind the scenes when listening to music at work? It’s a known fact that listening to music while working affects everything from focus to mood to stress management. There is also quite a bit of research that proves this.
Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor of music therapy at the University of Miami, conducted a research which showed that workers who listen to music complete their tasks faster and generally have better ideas than those who don’t.
Effect on mood
Another meta-analysis study found that between subjects who listened to music and subjects who took anti-anxiety medications before a stressful event, those who listened to music experienced less anxiety and lower cortisol levels than those who took anti-anxiety medications. Responses to Lesiuk’s study also demonstrated the value of listening to music at work as it creates a positive mood swing at work and an enhanced perception of creative tasks. So what can we take from this?
First, there are many benefits to listening to music while working. From sparking creativity to making the day more enjoyable overall, music can be the secret to a more effective workday. So the next question should be: What kind of music should you listen to for maximum productivity?
The right music for different tasks
You often need different types of music for different tasks, as the best choice depends on what you’re doing. Not every type of music will produce the same positive results in different situations.
More complex tasks = simpler, lyric-free music
Research shows that complex music can make it harder for you to perform tasks that require a high degree of concentration. Opt for calming classical or instrumental music with no words to stay focused and distracted. Note that if you work on different types of tasks throughout the day, you can create a structured playlist to reflect those work sprints; this can help you stay on task and increase your productivity.
What music is best for productivity?
There are a few options to consider when looking at which music is best for productivity. The best option will depend on what you do and your personal taste in music. Choose the right music for your specific needs and goals.
Improve focus: Classical or instrumental music
Classical or lyric-free instrumental music can create a helpful, focused environment. In one study, seven out of eight doctors said that classical Baroque music boosted their mood and concentration in their work. This is probably because music without words helps to stimulate the mind and dispel silence without excessive distraction.
Create a relaxing mood: Lo-fi music
Also known as lo-fi, “low quality” music aims to create a pleasant environment for working conditions rather than entertainment. The New Yorker cynically calls the genre “nonsensical music ideal for spreadsheets,” but the truth is – it might be just what you need. With quiet rhythms and soothing undertones, this mix of jazz and hip-hop can create a relaxed mood in your workspace. Here is a playlist from Lofi Girl, which typically over 15,000 listens during the workday.
Reduce stress: Ambient / nature sounds
Ambient or nature sounds are great when you’re not in the mood for music but need to increase your concentration and relieve stress. This really works: One experiment found lower stress levels in those who listened to nature sounds compared to silence and/or classical music. Especially if your office is away from a window or green space, this type of playlist can help you relax your mind and create a calmer workspace. This nature sounds playlist has over 27 million views.
Ride the flow: A single song repeated
It may sound strange, but listening to a single song in an endless loop can actually be a smart move. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg is known for using this approach to achieve a state of “flow” while working. So how does this work? Psychologist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis menation in her book in “On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind” that musical repetition makes us think mentally about the next parts of the song, which creates a sense of subjectivity shared with the music. Choose a song that you think will put you in a creative mood and that you won’t hesitate to hear over and over. If you need inspiration you can start with this song: Tycho – Easy.
Refresh your mind: Brain.fm
Brain.fm makes “functional music” that uses artificial intelligence to produce music that stimulates and activates neuron activity associated with focus, meditation, and relaxation. It’s claimed that within 15 minutes of listening to Brain.fm, you’ll reach a distraction-free state of mind. Focus music also removes sounds that might grab your attention, which is known as “despication reduction”. There’s a free trial available, but if you think it’s right for you, you may find it a worthwhile investment.
Music: The key to being more productive at work
With the right music and the right work management tool (like monday.com), you can make the most of your workday. Whether you need a helping hand with uniform data entry or need the ultimate focus while working on a creative project, we hope you’ve found a few playlists here (and understand the science behind them) so you can achieve more.