There is nothing like good music to motivate you while you work. I remember once working for a business that was so silent (almost as if working at the library), which had an effect on the employees, including our patrons. Me being who I am; had suggested they add a radio to the front desk and recommended playing funk/soul music. Immediately, the once stuffy and uptight workplace was now buzzing with energy.
Studies have shown that certain types of music can be beneficial to us while we work. For example, some genres of music seem to help us with learning and improve our ability to process information while others help us block out distracting background noise. This week I'm sharing 4 types of music that are known to dramatically improve productivity in the workplace.
1. Classical music
You probably know this already but researchers have claimed that listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. This theory, known as “the Mozart Effect,” suggests that listening to classical music can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being. The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to be a distraction when you’re trying to focus. This genre of music is known for being calming, relaxing and helping reduce stress.
2. Nature music
Listening to the sounds of nature like waves crashing or rainfall have been shown to enhance cognitive function and concentration. They also work best when they’re soothing sounds. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered that natural sounds boost moods and focus. The study found employees were more productive and had more positive feelings when nature sounds were playing in the background while they worked. This may be because nature sounds helped mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing.
3. Music between 50 and 80 beats per minute
Some research suggests that it’s not the type of music that’s important in helping you stay focused and productive, but the tempo of that music. Studies have found that music with 50 to 80 beats per minute can enhance and stimulate creativity and learning. Dr. Emma Gray, a cognitive behavioral therapist, worked with Spotify to research the benefits of certain types of music. She found that listening to music set in the 50- to 80-beat range puts the brain into an alpha state. When we’re awake, we’re typically in a state of mind known as beta, a heightened state of alertness where our brain-wave activity is between 14 and 30 HZ. When our brain slows to between 7 and 14 HZ, we’re in a more relaxed alpha state of mind that allows us to be more receptive and open, and less critical. This state of mind is what scientists associate with activities that involve our imagination, memory and intuition.
4. Your favorite music
If you have to work on something that you're not really excited about, put on some music you enjoy. Studies have found that putting on your favorite type of music can improve your mood and productivity. Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, found that personal choice in music is important when deciding what to listen to while working. Her research found that participants who listened to music they enjoyed completed their tasks faster and came up with better ideas than those who didn't because the music helped them feel better and improved their mood.