You’ve probably seen hundreds of productivity tips that usually involve getting up insanely early or following the strict schedules of famous CEOs. It’s intimidating, right? What if you could just listen to the right music to increase productivity?
While music in general is beneficial, you have to listen to the right kind of music and sounds to get the most benefits. If you’re trying to work from home and find it hard to focus, music could be the simple, yet effective, solution you’ve been searching for.
Qualities of Productivity Music
You could rock out to some classic Bon Jovi, hum along to Taylor Swift, or even mellow out to Adele. However, while there’s nothing wrong with your favorite songs, they might be more distracting than helpful. Ideally, you should listen to music with the following qualities:
- Familiar tune – You’re less likely to get distracted when you already know the song. It’s easier to use familiar songs as background music.
- Avoid lyrics – It’s not uncommon that people either mishear or even ignore lyrics. However, lyrics are still incredibly distracting. After all, if you’re trying to procrastinate or are already distracted, you will have a difficult time focusing on your work when you start listening to the lyrics.
- Upbeat – Ideal if you’re dealing with boring and/or repetitive tasks.
- Enjoyable – This one should be self-explanatory. If you like something, it makes you feel better. If you’re happier, your productivity increases by up to 13 percent.
- Simple – For more complex tasks, simple music works best. Your brain isn’t trying to think about the music too much. Instead, the music helps drown out distractions so you can focus better.
How to Listen to Music
The way you listen to music affects your productivity just as much as what you’re listening to. In many cases, it’ll actually come down to personal preferences. For instance, some people prefer to listen to upbeat music before tackling a difficult task, but they don’t listen to music during the task.
Another example is some people prefer sounds versus typical music while working and then popular music during their breaks to energize themselves. You’ll likely find that you enjoy different types of music for various tasks. Creating some custom playlists will help you discover the formula for your most productive music.
Overall, music does help you increase productivity and finish tasks quicker. One study even showed that the quality of work improves as well.
Why Does Music Work?
Music has the power to affect emotions. As a result, your brain releases dopamine, also known as the reward or feel-good hormone. Instead of spending the day feeling bored or stressed, music is consistently making you feel good, naturally.
You don’t even realize it’s happening. Instead, you happily go about your day. You avoid many plateaus and slumps because music is keeping your brain happy and more focused. You’re training yourself that working productivity is a good thing because you feel good while doing it. That’s the power music has and why it works so well.
Ideally, you’ll want to skip over lyrics and popular music. It’s worth trying to see if certain types of songs with lyrics actually help you. Test it for a few days with different genres to see how it affects your productivity.
Some types of music that fit all of the criteria mentioned earlier and aid in productivity include:
- Classical music – It has no lyrics, peak emotional moments to release dopamine, and is often familiar sounding.
- Nature sounds – It’s not traditional music, but it can have the same effect. The soothing sounds help reduce stress, making you feel happier and more productive.
- White noise – Much like nature sounds, white noise helps reduce stress, and it’s also ideal for shutting out other noisy distractions.
- Anthem or upbeat music – These keep you motivated but may be too distracting during complex tasks. Try to opt for instrumental upbeat music for complex tasks.
- Instrumental music – Anything goes with this one. If you still want to listen to popular songs, listen to instrumental versions instead to get the productivity benefits without the distractions.
- Video game music – If you play video games, you may already feel like the music helps you play better. Using video game soundtracks can have the same effect as classical and instrumental music.
The great news is you don’t have to spend anything to increase your productivity with music. Free streaming services usually have work playlists for you to try. YouTube also has numerous playlists and even multi-hour videos filled with instrumental, classical, nature sounds, white noise, and more.
Try music for a few weeks while you’re working and see the difference for yourself.