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DOES LISTENING TO MUSIC IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY?

Music is a powerful art form that can bring up emotions, inspire motivation and alter your mood. 

musicworks-infographic-large
New research undertaken for MusicWorks has shown that playing music at work can have real benefits for businesses; boosting profits, attracting new customers and increasing productivity.

In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma, said Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine with the Mayo Clinic.

But when it comes to tasks that require more brainpower, finding that perfect playlist is not so easy.

In a Noisy Workplace, Music Is An Escape

While the open space encourages more collaboration, the noise can be too much for some people to handle when engaging in deep work. If there is no physical escape—such as a private room—then a pair of headphones may be the best alternative.

Based on some of what we know about how music affects productivity, you should try this kind of music through your headphones the next time you’re feeling unproductive:

Music with Lyrics

For low-immersion or physical tasks, music with lyrics can offer huge benefits. But for intensive work, lyrics are especially destructive for focus. In one study, 48% of participants listed intelligible talking as the sound which distracted them the most.

Instrumental Musicprenos

Robin Harwood, point to the “Mozart Effect” in their textbook “Child Psychology.” The “Mozart Effect” is the belief that listening to classical music can improve intelligence; it is based upon a single study that was subsequently refuted. Instrumental and classical music won’t make you smarter, according to Harwood. But this music can have a relaxing, soothing effect and is less distracting than music with lyrics.

Music Makes Repetitive Tasks More Enjoyable

Songs that include sounds of nature.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently discovered that adding a natural element could boost moods and focus. Sounds of nature can mask intelligible speech just as well as white noise while also enhancing cognitive functioning, optimising the ability to concentrate, and increasing overall worker satisfaction, the researchers found. The mountain stream sound researchers used in their study also possessed enough randomness that it didn’t distract test subjects.

Repeating »noises«

You can boost your productivity with repeating noises – have large collection of background noises such as rain, see, showers, river, forest etc: http://www.noisli.com/

Or you can meditate with natural sounds: http://www.calm.com/

Music and the developer’s flow

Psychological studies reveal that developers can slide into a focused working rhythm with music much faster than without. Music helps to block out annoying, distracting noises like telephone conversations, squeaky chairs or that coughing colleague who gets on your nerves. Developer Rob Walling used music to condition himself to quickly assume a focused work pattern. While programming he would listen to the same track on repeat for hours until he could concentrate entirely on his work. Following this experiment, all Rob needs to do is play the song to evoke his undeterred concentration. Some good music to listen while developing:

http://musicforprogramming.net/

http://www.getworkdonemusic.com/

musicAtWork

 

Familiarity is best for focus

It may be beneficial to listen to music you are familiar with if you need to intensely focus for a project. The reason being is that new music is surprising; since you don’t know what to expect, you are inclined to listen closely to see what comes next. With familiar music, you know what lies ahead. Paying attention requires less focus. While the “journey” of new music can be beneficial in other ways, it’s best to tread a familiar path if you are using music to get things done.

The environment you create impacts the behavior you get. When deciding what sounds will fill your workday, please try, test and tweak until you find the perfect harmony.

The ability to do consistently great work is not an easy task, so think before you press play.

Špela Mermolja
Business Assistant
Enkronos d.o.o.

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