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Best Music for Productivity at Work

Staying focused can be a struggle with so many distractions, but music can help. Check out our list of the best music for productivity at work–and in life.

Being effective at work means that you get things done and you do it in an efficient manner. But consistently working effectively in order to stay productive over a long period of time can be difficult. There are so many things that can distract you, some of which are out of your control. Some factors are how much sleep you got the night before, how much you like your job, or whether you have serious family issues when you go home.

Staying focused and productive is still required no matter what kind of day you're having, so what can you do to stay productive? Interestingly enough, music can be helpful in promoting productivity at work. It's not just entertainment. It can also help you be more creative. It can be therapeutic and help relieve stress. Music can even help you study better.

However, not just any music can accomplish all of these feats. Scientists have studied how music can give people benefits while they're working. Some music can help people absorb and process information while other types of music can help block distracting noises. There is even music that seems to sync with brain waves to produce "aha" moments.

Do you find yourself or your team having trouble staying productive? You may want to incorporate these types of music to improve your workflow.

What type of music is most productive?

1. Classical music

There have been claims that listening to classical music makes you smarter, so much so that a generation of baby products was created to stimulate babies' minds by exposing them to Mozart and other classical musicians. While listening to classical music seems to help people focus better and thereby increase productivity, the Mozart Effect has never been proven by science to actually make anyone smarter.

The Mozart Effect theorizes that listening to classical music at work results in better performance of tasks. There is some correlation between listening to classical music and improvement of shape manipulation and spatial puzzle solve rates. Part of the reason could be because classical music is music only without any words. Listening to lyrics can be distracting but listening to an orchestra play classical music without any words is generally relaxing, calming, and lowers stress.

Like any music, not all classical music can be lumped into the category of relaxing and peaceful. However, pieces like Beethoven's "Fur Elise" have been shown to help students improve 12% better on exams. Even if this method doesn't work for everyone, it's worth a try to see if listening to classical music will help you focus better. This Bach Classical Study Music Playlist is a great place to start.

2. Nature music

Various types of nature music can be productive music. Music for work productivity includes compilations of nature sounds, like the sounds of waves crashing or water running in a creek or small river. This type of music works best by soothing the listener and helping them tune out distractions. Nature music can sometimes act like white noise that covers other sounds while giving you something pleasant to listen to. Soothing sounds like rainfall or a waterfall falling work well in this fashion.

The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) has learned that some tinnitus sufferers find relief using nature sounds as white noise. In fact, they have created a library of white noise nature sounds. Research has found that white noise helps mask the sounds caused by tinnitus, offering relief to those who suffer from that condition.

Other research has suggested that nature sounds can increase focus and boost moods. This can help listeners become more productive, feel more positive, balancing business with life. Playing nature sounds in the background while working can result in this effect. These sounds can also have a restorative effect on cognition. See how this works by listening to these rain sounds.

3. Cinematic music

Movie music is written to evoke feelings while you watch the film. A film score can inspire and give you purpose. It can make you feel mellow or perk you up. The best soundtracks to listen to when working are the big ones, movies that you can identify immediately when the music begins.

You can see how much epic soundtracks influence us when you hear them in commercials. No one has to tell you where the music is from. It is so much part of our culture that you recognize it immediately. Listening to these compositions will give you the motivation to work harder every time. Here is a bit of movie music you should recognize.

4. Music with 50 to 80 beats each minute

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.

This is related to how our minds work. When awake, our state of mind is called beta, a state of alertness with brain wave activity between 30 and 14 hertz. However, a more receptive alpha state is better for creative learning. Alpha has a rate of 14 to 7 hertz. Music that puts our minds in the alpha state helps boost our imagination, intuition, and memory.

If you discover that you're deep in thought and not really listening to your music, that is the alpha state of mind. This Adele song is this tempo of music.

5. Your favorite music

Music that you love is the best music for work productivity. Since you know the music so well, you can sing and dance along to it, or if you're at work, listening is sure to make you more alert and feeling positive. You can easily zone out when your favorite music is playing since you can sing or hum it in your sleep. When you go to the gym and workout to your favorite tunes, the music helps keep you focused on your goal and makes you feel confident at the same time.

What is the best music for focusing?

You won't be surprised to learn that much of the music that can make you more productive at work also helps you focus. Music that helps people focus better includes:

  • Music that makes you happy - Music that is from your favorite movies or artists, and that you can sing along to puts you in a better mood, and that helps you focus better.
  • Music that is upbeat - Music that can get you tapping your feet will make you happier and more alert leading to better focus.
  • Music that acts as white noise - Music that blocks other distracting sounds can help you focus on your task at hand more easily.

Music genres that help improve focus are also familiar - classical music, ambient music (white noise), and nature sounds.

Music to avoid for work productivity

As you can see, work productivity can be enhanced by listening to the right music. However, you should also avoid some types of music because they negatively impact productivity. Music to avoid is any music that distracts you. Listening to music with words can be very distracting. So can music that you don't like to listen to.

The effect music has on productivity is highly subjective, and different for each person. You can get around this issue if you can listen to music via headphones while you're working. With headphones, you have total control over the music that you listen to, so you can pick the music you like. You can experiment to discover which music motivates you the most.

Headphones work well if you're in a job where you can work alone. However, if your job requires you to work with others or interact with customers, then headphones interfere with customer service. So that method won't work for you.

How does music increase productivity?

Music can increase productivity, but its use is subjective. If you like the music and it boosts your mood, then you can become more productive while listening. Music without words or other distractions can put you in the right frame of mind to focus on your work. If it's familiar to you, then in turn it makes you happier which makes you more productive.

The best way to figure out how music impacts your own work is to test out the theory. Try working while listening to classical music, nature sounds, or your favorite music. Then evaluate your productivity while listening to them.

How can Mailchimp help?

Mailchimp is a great tool for communicating with your followers and customers. This topic is one that you can ask your customers and have a discussion about on social media. See how they feel about their own productivity and what music they like to listen to when at work. Use Mailchimp's tools to reach out to them, and interact with them via your social media connections, email list, and on your website. Mailchimp can also help you in using audio in a campaign, to add to the ways followers can interact with you.

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