Music has a continuous presence in my day-to-day life. It sets the tone for each moment: whether it’s walking down the street, washing dishes or writing a blog post for work. It also makes me happier and seems to increase productivity.
My perceived increase in productivity made me wonder if there is any evidence to back up my theory. There seems to be a debate on the internet (Isn’t there always?) about either the perils or benefits of listening to music while working, but it turns out that studies have shown:
- Listening to music can improve your efficiency, creativity and happiness at work 1, 5
- Music with lyrics can help with long, repetitive tasks 1, 2
- Depending on the person, music with lyrics might be distracting while engaging in difficult or learning-intensive tasks 1
- Music that is familiar is best while working 3, 4
These studies also point out something interesting: different music helps with different types of work. I’ve often found that listening to music while working helps me adjust my mindset according to the work in front of me. For example, if I need to get pumped for a late night or I’m working on something that is detail intensive, I like to listen to kickass original scores. A favorite is Guillermo Del Toro’s robots vs. aliens masterpiece, Pacific Rim. It has just the right amount of inspiration and pump-up jams. If I’m writing something creative, I prefer chill, alternative beats. When I write something more technical, the latest pop gets me through. I have specific preferences for every occasion, and finding what works best for me seems to help me set the proper tone for my mind and the work I create.
So, based on science and my own experience, here are 3 recommendations to get music to increase productivity in your work:
- Determine what type of music works for you for different kinds of work tasks
- Listen to something familiar that’s appropriate for your task
- https://medium.com/the-mission/the-science-backed-ways-music-affects-your-brain-and-productivity-e111450793051. The Science Backed Ways Music Affects Your Brain and Productivity
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/12/the-best-music-for-productivity-silence/509948/2. The Best Music for Productivity? Silence
https://www.inc.com/tom-popomaronis/do-you-listen-to-music-while-working-heres-what-it-does-to-your-brain-and-its-pr.html3. What Listening to Music at Work Does to Your Brain
- https://www.fastcompany.com/3032868/how-music-affects-your-productivity4. How Music Affects Your Productivity
- http://anchoradvisors.com/listening-music-improve-productivity/5. Does Listening to Music at Work Improve Productivity? Here’s 8 compelling reasons why it does