It’s just one of those days. You just chugged your third coffee and still feel like you woke up three seconds ago. Sometimes what you put in your ears is the only way to get that thing between your ears firing. This well-known study found that productivity of participants were most productive while music was playing and time spent on tasks was longer when the music was removed. But what is the perfect genre to tackle your laundry list of work to-dos?
Need to get the creative juices flowing?
For all you creatives out there, ambient music is recommended to help get the brain firing on all cylinders. Research shows that a moderate level of ambient noise enhances the performance on creative tasks. On the other hand, a high level of noise hampers creativity and reduces the extent of information processing. While bass thumping songs may get you amped up to tackle tasks, a more mellow sound is beneficial when it comes to this type of work.
Have a repetitive task on your list that you’re dreading?
Researchers at the University of Birmingham studied assembly line workers and found that music made them more efficient at performing their incredibly repetitive tasks. What type of music, you ask? Workers performance increased when listening to lively and “beat-y” music compared to music that had a slow, steady rhythm.
Have that go-to artist that makes you go from idle to extremely productive? Sticking to the music that you know and love is actually proven to increase productivity on those tasks that are kind of a drag. A study found that surgeons improved performance the most when they got to select their own music compared to generic background music.
Need to Concentrate?
When it feels like you’ve been working on the same task for four seasons now, then Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” might do the trick. In a study, 7 out of 8 radiologists found that Baroque music increased their concentration and improved their work lives. Video game music is also a great choice for when you’re looking to concentrate. Playing video games requires a lot of focus, and the compositions are specifically designed to keep you engaged while completing various missions or obstacles.
If you’re really trying to go heads down to knock out some to-do’s, music with lyrics can actually be detrimental to your focus depending on what task it is. Listening to words activates the language center of the brain, so a little silence is golden for tasks like proofreading and writing.
Big client presentation coming up?
In 2014 a group of researchers set out to gauge which type of music can empower its listeners. They brought people in a lab, played a number of songs, and simply asked them to rate on a seven-point scale how powerful, dominant, and determined the songs made them feel. The winners included some classic pump songs like Queens “We Will Rock You,” Unlimted’s “Get Ready for This,” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” Other songs that were rated less empowering, but were similar in style (sports music and hip-hop) were thrown into a “low-power” playlist. To gauge how the music would influence behavior they asked participants to listen to the playlists and then determine whether they would like to go first or second in a debate. Those who listened to the “high-power” playlist offered to go first 2x more than those who listened to the “low-power” playlist.
About to ask your boss for a raise? Just feeling a little sluggish? If you need that extra kick to get you in the zone then some pump up music may be what you need. Pump music can make you feel powerful and get you in the mood to tackle anything that comes in your way.
Whether you’re in to Beyoncé or Beethoven, there’s music out there that can get you through even the toughest of work days. All you have to do is press play.