woman listening to music while working to increase productivity

Music to help with productivity

Whether you’re studying for an exam, exercising at the gym or are sat at your office desk typing, you may have noticed that music can work wonders when it comes to improving your motivation.

If you’ve yet to tap into the benefits of listening to some tunes as you perform certain tasks, read on to find out exactly why and how you should.

So, how does music help us stay motivated?

You might think that having music playing in the background or directly through your headphones may be more of a hindrance than a help when you’re trying to concentrate.

Nevertheless, many studies suggest just the opposite! In fact, recent research shows that listening to music as you work may actually1:

Support your mood

Listening to certain forms of music, whether that’s an uplifting pop tune or a calming soundtrack of nature noises, can have a huge impact on your mood due to the way it’s processed by your ears and brain.

Increase your creativity levels

Some music can make you feel empowered and boost your brain function. This in turn can make you not only feel more productive, but also enhance your creativity levels.

Prevent boredom

If you’re completing a dull activity which doesn’t require a huge amount of concentration, distracting yourself through music can help you work more efficiently as you’ll spend less time thinking about how bored you are and more on the task at hand.

What is the best music to work to?

When it comes to the most productive music types, you should be focusing on the following genres:

Classical music2


Classical music has long been thought to improve concentration and boost our overall mood. It can do this through a variety of processes, from lowering our blood pressure so we feel less stressed to improving our memory skills. Try listening to the greats like Vivaldi and Bach to establish songs you like before branching off to other composers.

Nature music3

From the sound of waves gently crashing on a shoreline to the pitter-patter of rainfall, nature noises can be extremely soothing and help keep us calm in stressful situations. This in turn allows us to focus better and generally be in a better mood.

Music from video games4

If you’re a gamer, you’ll likely have noticed the music, but not paid much attention to why it was chosen. In actual fact, there’s some science behind choosing music for games and it’s usually based on keeping you focused so you can tackle tricky quests and tasks under pressure.

Ambient music5

Ambient music, which is usually instrumental and has no regular beat, has been shown in some studies to boost creativity. Its lack of lyrics or repetitive sounds allow it to effectively blend into the background.

And what music should you avoid?

Unfortunately, not every kind of music is thought to promote productivity. In fact, some studies show that music which features lyrics can be a poor choice if you need to focus intensely on a task. Research shows that it’s a particular bad option if you’re trying to learn something new, whether that’s revising for an exam or a new skill.6

Another factor to consider when choosing music to work to is the volume. Background noise level tends to be best as it’s still loud enough for you to be aware of and feel motivated, yet not noisy enough to distract you all together.

As well as creating the perfect playlist to boost your productivity levels, why not support your brain function by taking a supplement such as omega 3 or ginkgo biloba? Before using any form of supplement, it’s always a good idea to consult a medical professional to make sure it’s the right kind for your needs.

Last updated: 27 April 2020

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