Playing some beats while you break down some numbers, or some smooth jazz while you smooth over some copy has an actual scientific effect on you. As it engages your brain in a variety of ways, listening releases dopamine. Dopamine — your reward for having impeccable music taste — doesn’t only make you feel great but also can help increase focus.
So, it should be no surprise that listening to music while you work has been shown to increase productivity and lengthen motivation. And your boss probably agrees, as in a recent study by WebFX, business owners not only believe that music helps you not only be more productive but also increase employee morale and boost sales performances. So, you get to listen to your favourite song AND be more productive to impress your boss? It’s a win-win!
While you could listen to anything, some studies indicate that certain sounds can help you be more productive, and yet some genres can actually hinder your performance. Here are a few ideas of sounds to get you started.
Low Fidelity music is more commonly known as ‘Lo-Fi’, an acronym given to the genre by creator Eric Mathews over a decade ago.
Lo-fi artist Celín Carlo-Gonzalez, more commonly known to fans as Seneca B, stated that the genre’s popularity is driven by an audience of ‘businesses or people who want something kind of calming’, and they’re not wrong. As the genre rose to fame as it grew more and more popular with students, a study conducted by Hyde University found that 86% of Lo-Fi listeners at their campus had seen a major increase in their productivity. This is due to the genres technical flaws, such as distortions, hums, and background noise, as it triggers the cerebrum in our brain that in turn helps you to relax and focus on the task at hand.
If you’re highly interested in listening to some lo-fi, why not try the popular Youtube stream ‘lo-fi hip hop radio — beats to relax/study to’. Looping 24/7, the stream offers continual, ever-changing popular lo-fi songs that will help focus your mind.
“This isn’t music; it’s just noise!”
Have you ever tried to work in a coffee shop and felt more focused due to the mindless chatter? When it rains in the office, do you find you’re more engaged with the task in hand? Or, when going to sleep, do you often find it easier to switch off while listening to the endless crackles of white noise? If so, you will benefit from listening to ambient noise while working.
Boosting creativity and productivity in most people, finding the right soothing sound can help you become hyper-focused on your work. Spotify have some great playlists; you’ll soon find some ambient noise that will help you focus and allow for the rest of the world to fade away.
High power? High productivity.
If listening to something with a slower tempo makes you less productive, try something with faster track speed, as researchers found that songs with a higher bmp can increase your work performance.
The brain works best when listening to songs that have around 121 bpm, so start with tracks such as Beyoncé’s Formation, Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe, and Diana Ross’ I Will Survive.
As you find more and more songs you love, build up a playlist of empowering songs that make you feel great. Or, if you don’t have the time and your work needs to be finished right now, try these playlists on Apple Music or Spotify.
It’s important to note, however, that while high energy songs can help you be more productive, you should try not to make them too wordy. This study from 2011 suggests that having too many lyrics distracts the mind, making you more focused on the music rather than your work. So, if you’re finding yourself focusing on the music rather than the moment, don’t be afraid to hit the skip button (even if it’s a banger).
Written by Alison Irlam
Alison is a writer with a keen interest in mental health and wellbeing. Since finishing a postgraduate degree in Creative Writing and having her own experiences with mental health, she has dedicated her time to helping and empowering others to make positive changes in their own lives.