What is that secret age-old productivity tool? Music.
Yep. The right music can help you stay focused and more productive. Here’s how:
Music Helps Boost Productivity on Repetitive Tasks
Research has shown that when presented with repetitive tasks, music can help make those tasks more enjoyable and boost productivity. In this study, for instance, assembly line workers reported feeling happier and experiencing higher efficiency while listening to music.
Studies suggest that this is because music helps boost mood and therefore contributes to productivity. One study from Canadian researchers looked at this concept. What they found was that time-on-task was shorter — which means they got the work done quicker — and the quality of work performed was better when music was playing. Not only did those listening to music complete tasks faster, but they also came up with better, more creative ideas when the music was on.
This concept of mood can be further explained. Listening to music at your desk can help drown out other distracting noises like chatting coworkers, the buzz of the copy machine, and the clicks of other people typing around you. Placing earbuds in your ears to drown all that noise out — or even having music play over the office’s speakers — creates a more consistent and enjoyable environment that makes you feel more comfortable and relaxed in the space.
The New York Times further suggests that melodic tunes promote the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain, which also contributes to that good mood and promotes a more productive working environment.
All of this suggests that music may be a valuable tool in boosting efficiency when performing mundane tasks, such as data entry or answering emails. Some suggest that when trying to focus on a complex task, music can be distracting – just as a noisy office may distract workers. But that doesn’t mean all music is bad for creative tasks. It’s just that the same type of music may not be appropriate in both situations. In fact, studies show that moderate levels of ambient noise can boost creativity, so you have to be conscious of what type of music is playing, and select it based on the task at hand.