Music to Increase Your Productivity, Focus, and Concentration
We all want to be more productive, whether at work, while studying, or generally throughout our day. The ability to boost our concentration and focus on the task at hand is what separates the productive from the unproductive; the successful from the unsuccessful.
I’ve written extensively on productivity in the past, including in my first book, which has a chapter devoted entirely to early morning productivity and focus. One thing that I found time and again while interviewing people about how they keep up high levels of productivity, not just in the morning, but throughout the day, is that they do so by listening to music.
Listening to music at work increases productivity by blocking out inconsistent external noise (such as in an open office plan in your workplace) and replaces this noise with music that fades into the background; allowing you to focus on your work. In fact, studies have shown that listening to music while working improves job satisfaction and productivity, as well as your overall ability to concentrate on the job at hand.
In this article, I’m going to dig into why listening to work productivity music increases your productivity, focus, and concentration, as well as looking at where to listen to productivity music, and what music genres, artists, and playlists I recommend to help you stay productive. From the best concentration music for studying, to the best upbeat artists to put you in a creative groove, to my favorite white noise playlists, keep reading to find the best music for work productivity.
Listening to Music at Work Increases Productivity
If you work in an office with an open floor plan, there’s a good chance that you’ve already discovered that working in this environment can be detrimental to your productivity.
While designed to encourage spontaneous collaboration and communication between employees at different levels within a company, in reality open office plans have made it difficult for any of us to get any work done. Writes Maria Konnikova in The New Yorker, “The most problematic aspect of the open office may be physical rather than psychological: simple noise.” As our desks grow closer and the walls peel away, the decibels slowly begin to ratchet up a notch.
While many (though not all) of us are at our most productive when we’re working or studying in silence, productivity music fills a gap that we all need filled when we’re trying to concentrate in a loud environment.
Listening to music while working improves job satisfaction and productivity not just because it allows you to focus on your work (and actually get it done in the timeframe you allocated for it), but because working in a noisy environment has been “repeatedly tied to reduced cognitive performance,” per Konnikova.
Where to Listen to Productivity Music
So, I’ve convinced you of the benefits of listening to productivity music for studying and concentration. But where can you listen to it?
There are some obvious options here, including Spotify, Pandora, Jango, and more. Most of these sites have a free tier, meaning you can listen to productivity music for work and study for free if you’re willing to listen to an advertisement very few songs. Or you can pay a nominal monthly fee to not listen to the ads. YouTube is another good option, especially if you can’t find a particular artist or playlist on a streaming site, though YouTube isn’t as convenient for streaming music from your phone, as it requires you to keep your phone screen on in order to play the associated video.
If you’re not looking for specific artists, albums, or playlists, and if you’re serious about taking your productivity to the next level, [email protected] and Brain.fm are great subscription-based options that, per Brain.fm, “affects your brain differently than any other music.”
Examples of Productivity Music
Below I have compiled some of the best examples of productivity music and concentration music for studying that can be found online. For the most part, these are my own personal favorites and recommendations:
I’m a huge fan of listening to classical music while I’m trying to focus. While I sometimes dip into some Opera (the Opera Classics playlist being a person favorite), for the most part I prefer to listen to pure classical music, as the lack of lyrics makes it easier for me to concentrate while listening.
Some of the best classical music to study to (and work to), in my opinion, include:
- Max Richter: Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons in particular.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Decca Sound in particular right now.
- Abel Korzeniowski: Nocturnal Animals, Romeo and Juliet, Escape from Tomorrow, Music for Drama, and An Angel in Cracow in particular (thanks to Jason Vo for this recommendation).
- Philip Glass: The Hours soundtrack in particular right now.
Similar to classical music, electronic music with no or limited lyrics makes great productivity music because it can, for the most part, fade into the background and allow you to fully concentrate on the task at hand, while at the same time blocking out all external noise.
Some of my favorite electronic music to work to include:
- Justice: Their self-titled Justice album in particular.
- Daft Punk: Discovery, Human After All, and Random Access Memories in particular.
- Hot Chip: One Life Stand and The Warning in particular.
When all else fails for me, or if I really need to put my head down and concentrate on the work at hand, I always fall back on listening to white noise.
While not technically productivity “music,” white, pink, and brown noise are repetitive sounds of a consistent frequency. This frequency makes it easy to block out external sounds and tones. White noise is of the highest frequency, followed by pink noise, which is of a lower frequency, followed by brown noise which has the deepest frequency of the three.
There are a number of websites that play white, pink, and brown noise for free, including SimplyNoise. If you want more choice in what you listen to, Spotify has curated a white noise playlist, a pink noise playlist, and a binaural beats playlist, all of which feature dozens of sounds that are designed to keep you at your most productive.
What have I missed? What is your favorite productivity music for studying, working, or generally staying productive? Reach out to me at this address or on Twitter and I’ll be sure to update this article with the best suggestions.
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