Did you know that improving your productivity could be as simple as listening to the right music while you work? If you’ve tried the quiet approach and it didn’t work, it’s time to choose the best focus music instead. We’ve talked about the science behind using music for productivity before. For many people, the right music has the power to transform how well they stay focused on tasks.
Choose a Test Task
In order to find out which music helps you focus best, you need to choose a test task. Ideally, choose something that you struggle to focus on. This may be going through tedious reports, handling bookkeeping, or even monotonous tasks. Try performing the task normally at first.
For best results, you may want to choose a series of tasks you normally do daily. This allows you to test different styles of music and compare the results. Write down how you felt throughout the task(s), how long everything took, and how productive you felt.
Consider Your Boredom Levels
This may sound odd, but research has shown your personality drastically affects what type of music you should choose. People who aren’t as prone to boredom work better with complex music. On the other hand, those who tend to get bored easily work better with much simpler music or even silence.
You can actually use boredom to your advantage to improve productivity. But, when you want to choose the best focus music, start with music styles that fit your boredom style.
Listen to What Makes You Happy
No matter what type of music you choose, opt for music that makes you happy. This helps you relax, reduces stress, and makes it easier to focus on the task at hand. Multiple studies have proven that happier employees are more productive, with some showing a 12-percent increase. If you’re doing customer service, a happier attitude leaves customers feeling better and more loyal, too.
With so many businesses switching to remote work models, you now have the chance to listen to music that makes you happier versus whatever the business plays.
Compare Instrumental to Lyrics
Some people perform well when listening to music with lyrics. However, some people find that lyrics are just as distracting as if someone were trying to talk to them while working. If you want to try music with lyrics, start with music you don’t know know. Your brain won’t be distracted trying to listen to the unfamiliar lyrics.
However, instrumental music often works best. It blends in well with the background and doesn’t have distracting lyrics. You don’t have to listen to classical music, but try playlists with instrumental versions of popular songs.
Try both types of music to see which works better for your tasks. You may actually use both, depending on the tasks you need to accomplish.
Different Music for Different Tasks
You’re not always going to be in the mood to listen to the exact same music. So when you choose the best focus music, pick a variety of options. In fact, certain kinds of music work better for different types of tasks, such as:
- Video game music – works well for studying or learning something new
- Ambient electronic music – great for problem solving due to how well it blends into the background
- Upbeat music – ideal for repetitive tasks that don’t require intense concentration
- Classical music – great for more analytical tasks and even creativity
- Happy music – perfect for boosting creativity
When Normal Music Doesn’t Work
A study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology looked at how music affects more creative work. In the study, participants actually performed worse when listening to instrumental music or music with lyrics. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. But when you’re trying to choose the best focus music for creative tasks, you may want to opt for natural sounds, such as a rain forest, ocean waves, rain, or something similar.
Even white noise or just a low hum of general activity may work better than standard music. You get the same benefits for blocking out distractions without the sound becoming a distraction.
The best approach is to try different styles of music to find what works best for you. The right music varies based on your personality, tasks, and even personal preferences.