Effects of music on productivity - Deepstash

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The Science Backed Ways Music Affects Your Brain and Productivity

Effects of music on productivity

Effects of music on productivity
  • Listening to music with lyrics is distracting for most people. It’s best to avoid it when working on tasks that require focus or the learning of new information.
  • Listening to music with lyrics may help people working on repetitive or mundane tasks
  • Classical or rock music allows people to identify numbers more quickly and accurately.
  • Ambient noise, or ambient music, at about 70 decibels can be the best kind of music for work productivity. But increasing it over 85 decibels hurts creativity.
  • Searching for the right artist can detract from workplace productivity but, once you know what works for you, music can become a tool for near-instant concentration.

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The Science Backed Ways Music Affects Your Brain and Productivity

The Science Backed Ways Music Affects Your Brain and Productivity

https://medium.com/the-mission/the-science-backed-ways-music-affects-your-brain-and-productivity-e11145079305

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Key Ideas

Effects of music on productivity

  • Listening to music with lyrics is distracting for most people. It’s best to avoid it when working on tasks that require focus or the learning of new information.
  • Listening to music with lyrics may help people working on repetitive or mundane tasks
  • Classical or rock music allows people to identify numbers more quickly and accurately.
  • Ambient noise, or ambient music, at about 70 decibels can be the best kind of music for work productivity. But increasing it over 85 decibels hurts creativity.
  • Searching for the right artist can detract from workplace productivity but, once you know what works for you, music can become a tool for near-instant concentration.

Music and the brain

Music has a real impact on human emotions and perception. Music activates different areas of the brain in different people, but there are general brain and mood patterns revealed by music research.

For the most part, research suggests that listening to music can improve your efficiency, creativity and happiness in terms of work-related tasks. 

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Music and work
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Music and repetitive tasks

When a task is clearly defined and repetitive in nature, music makes it more enjoyable.

It isn’t the music itself, but rather the improved mood your favorite music brings that will give a boost in productivity.

Ambient noise

Moderate noise level can get creative juices flowing, but the line is easily crossed; loud noises made it incredibly difficult to concentrate. 

Bellowing basses and screeching synths will do you more harm than good when engaging in deep work.

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  • Electronic music is repetitive, ...
Familiar songs are best for focus

It’s best to listen to music you are familiar with if you need intense focus for a project

New music is surprising; since you don’t know what to expect, you are inclined to listen closely to see what comes next.

Lyrics can be distracting

For activities that don’t require concentration, music with lyrics has some benefits. But with immersive tasks, lyrics are especially destructive to our focus.

Trying to engage in language-related tasks ( e.g. writing ) while listening to lyrics would be akin to holding a conversation while another person talks over you… while also strumming a guitar.

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Happy/sad music

Our brains respond differently to happy or sad music.

One study revealed that participants interpreted a neutral expression as happy or sad to match the tone of the music they heard. 

Ambient noise can improve creativity

A moderate noise level is ideal to improve our creativity. It increases the processing difficulty which stimulates abstract processing, leading to higher creativity. 
High noise levels impair our creative thinking because we feel overwhelmed and struggle to process information properly.

Music and personality

Different genres correspond to our personality. For instance:

  • Blues and Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
  • Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease
  • Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle
  • Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease

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Music between tasks could boost productivity

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Music familiarity is best for focus

Certain regions in our brain—which evoke strong emotions and improve concentration—are more active when we listen to familiar rather than unfamiliar music.

Plus, when we listen to unfamiliar music we’re more likely to lose focus, while adjusting to the new sound.

Music and repetitive tasks

Music can make repetitive tasks more pleasurable and increase your concentration on the task.

For example, one study discovered that music could improve the performance of surgeons who take on repetitive nonsurgical laboratory tasks.

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Music and memory

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Music improves your focus

This happens because music stimulates the entire brain and not just segments of it. Using this knowledge can help you in various ways.

  • Meditation. Some people use music to help them clear their minds.
  • Listening to music while studying or working can help you remember more of the information.
  • During exercise. It takes the mind’s focus off of fatigue.
  • Focus on sleep. Music calms the mind and causes you to focus on your rest.

Music increases your creativity

Ambient music at 70 decibels will increase specific creative tasks by activating the parts of the brain that think in abstract ways.

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Classical Music

Listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. 

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“The Mozart Effect”

This theory suggests that listening to classical composers can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being.

Nature Music

Listening to the sounds of nature (waves crashing or a babbling brook) has been shown to boost moods and focus. They also help mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing

Nature sounds work best when they’re soothing sounds (flowing water or rainfall, while more jarring noises (bird calls and animal noises) can be distracting.

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Colors
  • Red accelerates the heart rate, giving you a jolt of energy. Your eye is instantly drawn to red, and it promotes physical activity and emotion.
  • Orange is a social color, encouraging interaction. It works well in meeting rooms or other social spaces.
  • Yellow stimulates creativity and optimism. 
  • Green is calming, and also causes zero eye strain over long periods of time.
  • Blue is calming and stable, it helps most people focus on intensive tasks.
  • Purple stimulates problem solving, despite not being a very popular color in workspace decor.

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Ambient for creativity

Moderate noise cultivates creativity, too loud or fast music leaves you hyperstimulated, while complete silence makes your brain bored. 

Music and exercise

Upbeat music makes you feel more energetic while you are exercising. It shifts your focus from the intensity of the exercise. Your body also needs less oxygen during the workout.

The best tempo for exercise is 145BPM. Faster music does not produce more stimulation.

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