You check-in at work, settle down at your desk, shuffle through your mail inbox, plan the day ahead and then plug-in to some music of your choice to get the work started. That’s how a regular workday begins for many of us. We power through our work for the day, as our favorite playlist continues in the background. 

Though not always thought about, music happens to have a very crucial role to play in our work schedule. With cubicle spaces going extinct and open collaborative workspaces being adopted by most businesses, people are now seeking the right music to focus, ideate, think creatively or perform tasks in flow across offices.

You could be the one who prefers listening to music on earphones, the headphone geek or even the assigned office DJ, but you are surely counting on the music playing at work to boost your productivity. 

But does music help you work better? Or specifically, what kind of music is sure to help you at the office? 

Here’s how you can find the right playlist for productivity.

What does the research say about the relation between music and productivity?

A study by the New York Times states that music is proven to release dopamine in your brain. This hormone oversees feelings like motivation, happiness, and contentment. Research by the University of Miami also found music to make one more productive at work. The study measured the effect of music on work quality and time-on-task for computer information systems developers. 

Depending on factors like rhythm, tempo, genre, and familiarity, different kinds of music activate different regions of the brain. The human mind is also proven to associate music with memories. Thus, one can recall certain incidents or elements by re-listening to the music they heard then.

Music thus is proven to be a great support to productive work. So, what kind of music should you add to your playlist?

Here are a few suggestions.

Classical Music

Researches show that listening to classical music can help employees work more efficiently. Dubbed ‘The Mozart Effect’, the theory states that listening to classical compositions can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for a calm state of mind.
So, if you’re looking for a calm and composed work session, you can consider playing some compositions by Mozart, Beethoven or Bach.

Nature Music

Sounds found amidst nature has always been known to have a soothing and calming effect on us. The sound of a flowing brook, chirping of songbirds or rainfall can instantly make us more focused and attentive. 

Researchers at Rensselaer Polyphonic Institute have found in their studies that nature sounds boost our moods and focus. They also found the symphonies of nature to help workers be more productive.

Cinematic Music

A good immersive film score can make you feel as if you are at the scene. An action movie or fast-paced soundtrack (e.g Bourne series, Matrix series, Mission Impossible series) can lead you to work more aggressively. 

While grand soundtracks of visual masterpieces (Interstellar, Inception) will lead to creative bursts and leave you with a positive outlook.

So, based on what type of work you want to get done or how you’re feeling then, pick your choice of a movie soundtrack.

Video Game Music

Every element of a video game is designed to create an enhanced and immersive experience. Thus, even its soundtrack is curated specifically to help you focus, evaluate and solve your way through challenges and levels. 

Thus, if you have work that requires you to focus for a long stretch of time, you can go for some video game soundtrack. 

Music between 50 – 80 bpm

Several pieces of research show that more than the genre or type of music, it’s the tempo that helps you do productive work. More specifically, music that’s between 50-80 beats per minute, is known to enhance creativity and focus.

To further support the theory, Dr. Emma Gray worked with Spotify to research the benefits of certain types of music. Her studies showed that listening to music in the 50-80 beat range puts the human brain into a leadership or alpha state.

Here are a few examples of tracks in the 50-80 bpm range:

  • Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
  • Halo by Beyoncé
  • The Reason by Hoobastank
  • The Scientist by Coldplay
  • Dream On by Aerosmith

Your favorite jam

When it comes to picking up work that you want to perform successfully, the best way to begin is by listening to some music that you love. There’s no better way to get some productive work done than pressing play on your favorite jam. Hip-hop, Rock, Metal, Funk, R&B, Jazz, Blues or a playlist that has a mix of all – whatever be your kind of music, count on it for some great work sessions.

Music can make a huge difference to your workday. Be it a case of the Monday Blues, post-lunch drowsiness, lack of focus, writer’s block or plain old boredom – find the right kind of music that can get you past them. 

Feel free to request your choice of music to your CoWrks centre’s Community Manager, or just curate your own jam, plug-in your earphones and let the work begin.