Does Music Help Productivity?

By: Stephanie

In my last blog post, I talked about using a planner to stay organized and to maximize your productivity. Sure, a planner can increase this but only to a certain point. Another factor that can help you be more focused on finishing tasks is to listen to music (at your own risk)!

From New York Times, Dr. Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, conducted a study on workplace performance and concluded that, “those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas” (source). When you are listening to music, your mood turns positive and completing tasks become fun rather than a chore that needs to be finished by the end of the day. 

However, some types of music actually worsen productivity. The study, Psychology of Music, has shown that “complex music can distract from tasks that require high degrees of concentration” (source). When you are trying to read and comprehend what you’ve read, music with heavy beats or loud clashing can disrupt your deep thoughts. 

Image: headphones on yellow background
Text: Does music help productivity?

So, how do you choose the best music for you? Here are some factors you should consider when finding the next song on your playlist!

Lyrics
Some of us tend to enjoy music the most when we can actually sing the songs that roll through our playlist, but we lose focus on the work in front of us. How many of you can say they’ve had to stop mid-thought to sing their favorite lyrics? Yes, me too! Looking for instrumentals is a good way to counteract this. That’s one less factor to worry about!

Task Difficulty & Repetitiveness
Although this seems like common sense, you may not know how hard the work you have to do is, until you play music. If you find yourself distracted while completing a task that may seem simple, the work that needs to get done may require a lot more focus and thinking. Try turning off your music and easing into your work, if you’re getting more done than you were before with music, I think the appropriate conclusion is to continue without the music.

With task repetitiveness, a lot of us get bored of doing the same thing over and over. You start to become unmotivated with your work and even question what you’re doing. With the help of some good tunes, you’ll make repetitive tasks “more pleasurable and increase your concentration” (source). By doing so, it’ll be less boring and more fun with an upbeat background!

Increases Physical Productivity
While working out, I know for some of us, we dislike hearing our own thoughts echo inside our minds. Listening to music can help with that. It can distract your deep thoughts and help you become physically productive and without even realizing it, it helps increase the quality of your workout. As a matter of fact, “music improves physical performance by increasing capacity to exercise longer and harder, and delaying fatigue” (source). So, when you’re feeling exhausted from a heavy day of work, listen to some music at the gym to help you increase that intensity!

Overall, music can increase productivity in the right tasks. Be careful with your choice of music and if you have no idea where you’d like to start with your music, you can try listening to these five different types (source):

  1. Classical Music
  2. Nature Music
  3. Epic Music
  4. Video Game Music
  5. Ambient Soundtracks

Of Possible Interest:
Productivity & Wellness – all our blog posts on the topic
Healthy on the Job – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Stephanie’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Malte Wingen

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