Are headphones the new coffee when it comes to productivity at work?
You may be wearing headphones while you read this article—but does the music you’re listening to actually increase your productivity at work? Many people reach for their headphones at work to drown out the annoying guy in the cubicle next to you or to make a repetitive job feel a bit livelier. It’s been a constant debate: whether listening to music distracts you from the task at hand or helps to focus and motivate you.
There’s no arguing that there are an innumerable amount of distractions at work competing for our attention. Fortunately, research is showing that music can help put us back on a more productive track while working.
Stay far, far away from these 4 bad habits if you want to become more productive at work.
Music Increases Productivity at Work—it’s Science
Let’s take a look at the research. The University of Birmingham in England studied how music raises efficiency in repetitive work. If you find yourself mindlessly checking email or filling out that Excel spreadsheet, listening to some tunes can make your task go by more quickly.
Sage Journals Psychology of Music found that the music you listen to can improve your mood, which then creates a bump in productivity. Melodious sounds may help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of our brains. It’s the same feeling you would get from eating your favorite dessert, looking at something that makes you incredibly happy (like these puppies!) or smelling a pleasant aroma.
Tasks that need more brainpower than those mindless activities like data entry or emails, you need to find the perfect playlist. The next time you are feeling unproductive, try funneling this kind of music through your headphones.
Types of Music to Increase Productivity at Work
Listening to music courtesy of nature can enhance cognitive functioning, optimize the ability to concentrate and increase overall job satisfaction researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found. Nature sounds can also mask intelligible speech just as well as white noise. Try listening to recordings of nature sounds, or calming background music that incorporates them throughout.
Songs Without Words
Words can be distracting—especially while working. It isn’t noise itself that causes lost productivity, but how intelligible the words are that we are listening to, according to Cambridge Sound Management. If we are trying to decipher what someone is saying, we can shift our focus off of work and onto the song itself.
Songs That You Love
When you listen to music you like, it not only can boost productivity at work but it can make you feel amazing. Listening to music you enjoy helps you to complete your tasks more quickly and help you come up with better ideas since you’re in a great mood. If you’re stressed out, you may make a decision too quickly and have a very narrow focus of attention.
The next time you find work distractions taking you on a detour from your work, pop on those headphones and listen to some music to step up your productivity game. Looking for something new? Here are 9 song options that aren’t your stereotypical “study music”.
In addition to listening to music, incorporate these 4 daily strategies to become a productivity powerhouse in the workplace.