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How Music Affects Productivity: ft. Our Favorite Focus Playlist

How music affects productivity

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We’ve all had those days when you can feel your body and brain moving slowly, and certainly not as fast as you need them to be. You pop in some headphones, press play, and before you know it, you’re focused more than ever, checking things off your to-do list in no time!

Sometimes, a little caffeine and some good tunes are all we need to be productive, and here’s why!

Music makes you happy

When we listen to music, especially music that brings us joy, it improves our mood and makes us happy. When we feel happy, it’s easier to complete tasks faster than if on the flip side.

Music also has the capability to release dopamine, reducing stress and anxiety, which is also an important factor to consider when completing tasks. Because when we feel less stressed or anxious, we’re able to focus better.

Music improves performance

Think about the fact that when most people work out or exercise, they use music. Why? To help motivate them! According to a study, music improves performance by increasing the ability to exercise longer and harder. The same applies to work. People use music to help get them excited for their work and to motivate themselves because sometimes, you just need a little extra push to help keep you going.

Music familiarity

When you have a song you like, you listen to it over, and over, and over again. And each time, it probably “never gets old.” There may be memories tied to those songs; good, happy times, or simply you just enjoy the song so much you can’t stop listening to it. Studies show that songs or music that we are familiar with are most beneficial to our focus and productivity, as they trigger a certain part of the brain that elicits strong emotions, thus improving concentration. It takes more work for our brains to listen and put together the pieces of new sounds and music.

Music in between tasks could also affect productivity

If you’re completing a task that requires silence and complete focus, there’s a chance that music may be too distracting, so you decide to veer away from it at that moment. You finish your first take and have another one to complete right after that but find yourself struggling to stay focused on the second task. Consider listening to music in between tasks instead of rushing to the next! Studies have shown that listening to music in between tasks can still improve your mental performance, and allow you to concentrate on a task for a longer period of time.

Music and Productivity

According to a survey done by Cloud Cover most people listen to music while they work, and almost half listen to some form of media the entire workday. Some debate whether this adds to productivity or inhibits it, as it holds the potential for distraction. However, research at the U of Miami finds it can make you more productive: depending on the genre.

They suggest lyrical songs, new genres you aren’t familiar with, or experimental sounds that might draw your attention away from your work and onto the sound. Personally, if song lyrics are really speaking to me or I suddenly discover a new corner of Spotify to hyper-focus on – I get off track.

Cloud Cover survey participants found the most productive genres to be classic rock, alternative, and pop. Hip-hop, heavy metal, and EDM were chosen as the most distracting. However, this is different for EVERYONE! What matters more is how the music makes you feel. Try listening to these types of music to spice up your workday:

Classical Music

Classical music is a known favorite because of the lack of words. If you can’t get distracted by the lyrics and just let the instruments flow through your brain, the work will follow. Classical is great for writers or data intense jobs.

House Music

If you want to dance in your seat, prepare for the weekend, but still kill it for the quarter add some house to your next playlist. House has few words, but modern and upbeat. Some of my favorite songs to work too are house remixes’ of songs I already love. I already know the lyrics so I’m not distracted when listening, but still keep high energy and motivation.

Music in a different language

If you don’t already listen to songs different from your native language – you’re missing out. BUT, foreign music is great for working when you want music with words without getting carried away decoding the lyrics. This is also a great way to discover new genres you may have overlooked!

Instrumentals / Lofi

Have an album you love but it’s crunch time? Many artists release the instrumentals for their songs that are great to have in the background when getting stuff done.

White noise/nature sounds

Sometimes, people work well in something that’s not quite silent but not quite music. If this is you, white noise or nature sounds might be your new favorite. Fans, rain storms, ocean waves, anything you can think of at different frequencies. Just don’t fall asleep!

All of us at SocialSurge enjoy listening to music while working, so please enjoy a few of our favorite focus playlists that will hopefully help you get those tasks hammered out too!

Check out our employees’ group playlist HERE for some more inspiration!

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