The title says it all, really.
If you’re like any other gainfully employed person, you probably understand why forgetting to bring your earphones to work is particularly catastrophic. Imagine having to crunch numbers, design layouts, or input data in utter silence (or comparatively, in the midst of your colleagues’ ceaseless chatter). Excruciating.
Heck, I write articles about how to send money to the Philippines for a living, and I’ve got my own playlist. (See author profile.) The first question I asked my trainer was, “Can I have Youtube playing in the background while my tracker runs?”
Fortunately, the answer was yes. Whew.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who can attest to music’s ability to “get you in the zone.” Hands up if you’ve ever bobbed your head along to Vivaldi or LANY while plowing through your to-do list.
And now, we actually have a scientific explanation behind this phenomenon.
How Music Affects Our Brains
When we listen to music, multiple areas of the brain react:
The motor cortex – responsible for movement;
The nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and cerebellum – in charge of stimulating emotion;
The hippocampus – stimulates memories;
Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas – processes language
The brain also releases dopamine whenever we listen to music. This chemical simultaneously makes us feel pleasure AND helps us focus.
How? For starters, music blocks out external distractions, such as someone’s inane chatter or the airconditioner’s incessant humming. Furthermore, it can shield your mind from the stresses of your work environment, thus helping you keep things under control. Lastly, listening to music can boost both your memory and creativity.
Matching the Right Playlist to Your Daily Tasks
However, different kinds of music affect us in different ways. For instance, if you’ll be working on something that requires linguistic processing (e.g., reading, reviewing), stick to instrumentals. Lyrics could prove distracting in this case, so ambient music would be your best bet.
On the other hand, upbeat songs with lyrics are great for tedious, repetitive tasks. Data entry, for example, would be more bearable if you’ve got your favorite pop singer on loop.
As for accuracy, you can’t go wrong with classical music. Workers have reported a 12% increase in accuracy when they’ve got Beethoven or Mozart on.
Surprisingly, even dance music has a place in the office. Apparently, it can improve your proofreading speed by up to 20%!
Music is so powerful. If you choose wisely, a song or a playlist can help you achieve near-instant concentration. Conversely, music can also assist you in winding down after a rough day.
Which musical pieces are your go-to for work and/or for relaxation? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.