Listening to music helps you focus and get more done, according to music therapists. A 2005 study saw IT specialists listening to music during work, and compared their productivity to others without tunes. The results?
“Those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t,” said Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor at the University of Miami. Why does this work “Because the music improved their mood,” says Lesuik.
The question: what kind of music will improve your mood, and make you more productive? The answer: it depends.
There’s probably no such thing as music that helps everyone get work done, because taste in music is so diverse. For some people, classical music is the best tool for finding focus. For others, it’s a good way to fall asleep on the job. Some find ambient music to be motivating; others are annoyed by the lack of payoff. Maybe you need heavy metal or dubstep to really get into a groove, but that doesn’t work for everyone. You get the idea: what music helps you focus largely depends on your taste.
So if you’re looking to boost your productivity, where should you start looking for music? Here are a few sites.
Focus@Will: Online radio designed for productivity
In my opinion, this is the site to start with. Focus@Will was designed with the help of neuroscientists for increased focus and keep you working. If offers a small selection of online stations offering instrumental tunes – ranging from classical to ambient to acoustic – organized in such a way to keep you engaged. Believe me: it works.
This subscription service offers free one-hour sessions, if you want to try this out. If it works for you, consider paying for a subscription. If not, note any songs or artists you find particularly effective during your one hour trial, then try to find more of their music.
8Tracks’ “Productive” Category: Browse what helps others focus.
We’ve shown you how 8tracks lets anyone share a playlist, and anyone else listen to it, without ads or geoblocking. This is a great way to explore music others appreciate, and productive music is no exception.
Head to the Productive category on 8tracks and you can browse playlists people use to get work done:
Again, not every playlist here is going to work for you – but a couple of them might. Bookmark the things that do work, then look for more music from those artists.
Get Work Done Music: High energy beats.
Another site designed to help you get work done, GetWorkDoneMusic.com provides an extremely simple interface:
Just hit play. If you don’t like the song, click next. Other than that, get to work.
Video Game And Movie Soundtracks
It might sound surprising, but Reddit user agentstaple recently pointed out that video game soundtracks work very well for working to. Why? Because of what it’s made for.
“The music’s designed to provide a stimulating background that doesn’t mess with your concentration.”
The original post includes a variety of soundtracks worth trying. Personally, I’ve had great luck with the soundtrack to Bastion:
But don’t limit yourself to video games: movie soundtracks are also created to be inspiring without being distracting. Explore the soundtracks from your favourite films on services like Spotify, YouTube, or Grooveshark.
Did you already know of an artist who helps you be productive? I highly recommend using Pandora to discover more artists like them. Just create a station using that artist; Pandora will do the rest. This even works for movie soundtracks, and (some) video games.
Free Productive Music Downloads
Maybe you didn’t know this, but every Sunday our very own Tina Sieber points out several free songs and albums for downloading. We call it Sound Sunday, and it’s worth checking out.
Recent columns included a list of distraction free, instrumental albums which just might be perfect for you. Check that list out and you’ll have a good start.
Have Any Other Ideas?
This is just meant to be an overview, a few places to start for finding music you can work to. Are there more ways? Of course! Let’s start compiling other ideas in the comments below: point out any sites you’ve found helpful. Let’s also talk about the artists and albums we work best to. I’m looking forward to it.
Oh, and if you don’t love music but also find silence distracting, try Coffitivity. This site simulates the sounds of a coffee shop, which many find hits the sweet spot between silence and chaos.