Music has a way of permeating through empty corners and filling up environments with substance. It can help you relax, make you well up in tears, or feel alive. But can it make you more productive?
We use music to set the tone of our environment and our mood, whether we're unwinding after work or throwing a party. But in an age when many of us spend our time staring at a computer screen, music has also become a mode of escape from outside distractions or dull tasks.
So how useful is music when it comes to focusing on your work?
Let's take a look at the science behind music and productivity.
Does Music Make You More Productive?
Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, does research on the effect of music listening on work performance. According to Dr. Lesiuk's research, those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and had better ideas than those who didn't overall.
But there are some types of music that worsen productivity. Several studies have shown that popular music interferes with reading comprehension and information processing.
Based on these studies then, music can have a positive effect in your work. However, its effect on productivity depends on the situation and type of music.
While it's not a one-size-fits-all scenario, there are certain types of music that are better to listen to while you work. Let's look at their effects and how they impact you.
What Type of Music Works?
1. Classical Music.
When we think of classical music, composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel come up in our thoughts. In a study, seven out of eight radiologists found that baroque music increased mood and concentration on their work. If you're looking for where to begin, try Vivaldi's quick-tempo "Four Seasons", or Bach's Brandenburg Concerto.
2. Nature Music.
Listening to the sounds of nature can enhance cognitive function and concentration. Soothing sounds such as flowing water, rainfall, and rustling leaves work well, while jarring noises such as birdcalls and animal noises can be distracting.
3. Epic Music.
Epic music can make you feel like you're doing something grandiose to change the world. It empowers and lifts you up. So if you're feeling tired and uninspired during your work, try listening to some epic music to give you that extra boost of motivation.
4. Video Game Music.
Music from video games is a great choice because the compositions are specifically designed to enhance your gaming experience. After all, it's pretty crucial you dodge that fire, or skillfully maneuver your way through hordes of enemies. For starters, try the Bastion soundtrack, or one of the SimCity soundtracks, to name a few.
5. Ambient soundtracks.
If you're feeling stressed out at work, give ambient music a try. As Brian Eno, creator of Music for Airports says, "Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."
Other Types of Music
There's a number of other types of music you can listen to during work, such as meditation music, blues, or jazz, to name a few. If you just want to get rid of your chatty coworkers or the nearby printer, use "white noise" to cancel them out.
Experiment and see what works. Soft and mellow may help you to focus on your work, while a high energy piece can keep you motivated.
And of course, there are those times when silence is golden.
If you enjoyed reading this article, please join the newsletter. As thanks, I'll send over a copy of my popular guide, How to Get Anything You Want.
This post was originally published on JumpstartYourDreamLife.com.
Melissa Chu writes at JumpstartYourDreamLife.com, where she helps people live better and achieve their goals. For more ideas on success and making an impact,
join the newsletter.