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How Music Affects Your Productivity

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How Music Affects Your Productivity

How Music Affects Your Productivity

https://www.sparringmind.com/music-productivity/

sparringmind.com

7

Key Ideas

Music for better productivity and focus

  • Classical music: Songs with no lyrics are often considered the finest form of the craft, always a popular choice.
  • Electronic music is repetitive, but in a good way.
  • Video-game music: Game composers know that the ideal music enhances the experience while not distracting the player.
  • Anything soft enough to not divert attention and focus is a possibility for your potential playlist ;
  • White noise or nature sounds.

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.

Ambient noise

For those that do benefit from listening to music during creative sessions, an “ambient” presence of music appears to work best.

Researchers have shown that a moderate noise level can aid creativity, but too much noise has the opposite effect. Bellowing basses and screeching synths will do you more harm than good when engaging in deep work.

Music seems to interfere with learning

When it comes to absorbing and retaining new information, distraction in any form is harmful. That includes music.

Music demands too much of your attention—even when the sounds are subtle—to be listened to when you are trying to learn or analyze new information.

Music as an escape

In a noisy workplace, music may be an escape.

While the open space may encourage more collaboration, the chatter can be too much for some people to handle and hurt productivity.

Music makes repetitive tasks enjoyable

When a task is clearly defined and repetitive in nature, music is consistently helpful.

It isn’t the music itself, but rather the improved mood your favorite music brings that is the source of bump in productivity.

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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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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 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. 

The music you should listen to for improved productivity
The music you should listen to for improved productivity

....depends on a few factors:

  • How many lyrics the song has.
  • How familiar you are with the song.
  • How repetitive the task
Music between tasks could boost productivity

Although there may be detrimental effects of listening to music while working, listening to music in between tasks can boost your mental performance and the ability to concentrate on a task for long periods of time.

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.

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Your Desk
The “sit-stand desk” is the optimal choice, because you can sit for a portion of the day and stand for the other portion.

Put your monitor high enough to keep your neck straight, s...

Organization

A cluttered desk sometimes triggers a cluttered mind. That's why everything should have its place, even if that place is just “the right-most stack.” A desk system that matches your personal organization style saves both time and headache.

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.

3 more ideas

Classical Music

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

The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to ...

“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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Music helps creativity

One of the most remarkable effects of music on the brain is that it stimulates the release of dopamine, which is a brain mediator that lifts your spirit. We produce 9% more dopamine from...

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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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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When music helps productivity
When music helps productivity
  • A noisy workplace makes your brain consume extra energy to process the noise. This reduces productivity for tasks in general. Thus listening to music can help, as it...
When music doesn't help with productivity
  • Learning requires your brain to analyze and remember information. Listening to music while learning adds an extra load of processing and this can lead the brain to misinterpret or miss important information.
  • When you listen to music that's new to you, the activity involves an element of surprise or novelty. Your body releases dopamine in response to this, causing you to feel some degree of pleasure, and that may divert your attention.
The invention of headphones
The invention of headphones

In 1910, Nathaniel Baldwin invented headphones. A prototype was sent to Lt. Comdr. A. J. Hepburn of the U.S. Navy. Hepburn tested the device and found it worked unexpectedly well to transmi...

The history of headphones
  • Until the 1950s, people used headphones almost exclusively for radio communication.
  • In 1958, John C. Koss introduced the Koss SP3 Steroephones along with a portable phonograph to patients in Milwaukee hospitals that proved revolutionary because their sound quality made them optimal for listening to music.
  • 1979: The Sony "Walkman" created a need for a portable headphone and a lightweight set of MDR-3L2 headphones was included with the portable cassette player.
  • In 1978, Dr. Amar Bose, while on a flight, tried an early set of electronic headphones used for passenger entertainment. But the cabin noise made it impossible to hear anything. He returned to Boston and investigated how ambient noise could be reduced with active noise cancellation.
  • In 1989, the Noise Reduction Technology Group introduced the first noise-reduction headset, designed for the aviation industry.
Portable headphones
  • Portable headphones became smaller and eventually lead to earbuds and in-earphones.
  • In 2001 Apple introduced the iPod, and later iPhone and iPad, comes with a set of white earbuds.
  • 2008. Hip hop artist and producer Dr. Dre and Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine launched Beats by Dr. Dre to help solidify headphones as a fashion statement.
  • 2011. Sennheiser, a German headphone company, released 300 sets of the Orpheus headphones and an audio show in South Korea. A set was priced at 30,000 Euros, or roughly $41,000.
  • 2012. The launch of the iPhone 5 started a new era of headphone design, the EarPod, designed to direct sound right into the ear.