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

Benefits of Using a Planner

By: Stephanie

Often times, we find ourselves overwhelmed in the pile of work we’ve accumulated over the day, week, or more! We either have meetings to plan, practices to go to, or exams to prepare for. I am here to give you reasons as to why you should use a planner.

If You Write It, You Won’t Forget It
Many people I talk to, surprisingly, do NOT use a planner. Shocker statement, yes. They’ve told me they have their brain to retain information as well as “remember” these events as they come. However, I know that is absolutely not the case for everyone.

Some of us don’t have the best memory, in fact, “within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of fifty percent of the information you presented” (source). We are so busy with our work, we tend to forget what we just said! However, writing it down will help remind you what tasks you need to have completed before the end of the day. You won’t have to use your brain space to remember these that you need to complete and forgetting might be a big yikes in the future.

Text: Benefits of using a planner
Image: planners stacked on white background

Priorities, priorities, priorities!
Once you’ve viewed all of your tasks, you’re at least not panicking about what you may have forgotten to do! Now you can organize what needs to be done first. Organizing your to-do list will help you with time management and finish your work efficiently. Start with the deadlines. If something is due three weeks from now versus the next day, starting with the closer due date makes much more sense than starting a project that is due later. 

Health Benefits
Having a planner is a stress reliever. When I look at my planner, I know that I feel less stressed because I know exactly what needs to be done. I also use my planner for work because my schedule is not always consistent and meetings are very frequent. Keeping a planner will help you because it is a stress reliever that will keep you mentally healthy.

Procrastinating… I think not!
Most of us have good habits but a bad habit that some of us may have is procrastination. Planners keep you from procrastinating! After looking at your planner, you might have so much to do that, there’s no time to put it off. So, make it a good habit to use your planner and stomp your bad habit of procrastinating. The more work you finish before bed, the more sleep you’ll get!

Develop A Skill
Using a planner can help you develop many helpful skills that are beneficial for you. You will stay more organized and on top of your game from planning what you have to do. Another skill you’ll slowly develop is time management. Because you will be prioritizing your tasks and work that needs to be completed, using your time wisely is very critical. Lastly, you’ll develop strategic planning. Prioritizing your tasks and finishing things when they need to get done will maximize your productivity and help keep you healthy. You will be able to fit more activities in your schedule and even get that exercise that you’ve been putting off since New Year’s!

Links to favorite planners: Bullet Journaling; Planners

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

Meet Stephanie

Stephanie headshot

Name: Stephanie
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Major(s): Chemical Engineering
Year in school: 3rd Year, Junior
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: Started in Fall 2019 as Multicultural Outreach
Favorite place in Duluth: Canal Park after sundown & Bentleyville during Christmas time!
Favorite hobby: Playing the ukulele

Best career advice I’ve received: 
Choose a career where you feel you will impact the world in your own ways.

Piece of career advice you have for other students:
No matter what career you choose, be happy with it and continue to change the world for the better, big or small!