Headphones. With this invention came the ability to get lost in your own little world and the freedom to listen to virtually any kind of music as you shut out the troubles of the world around you. Although early versions of headphones released around the turn of the 20th century were considered a luxury item, in today’s society, it’s rare that you can turn a street corner without seeing someone using headphones. While this spectacular piece of technology can be used to pump you up during a workout or drown out the sound of snoring on a long airplane flight, let’s not forget about the many benefits of listening to music during your workday!
When I was younger, I avoided listening to music while doing homework or studying like the plague because I found it incredibly difficult to concentrate. However, now that I’m out of school and work full-time, I have found music to be my saving grace on many occasions! When co-workers have to take calls at their desks, the sound of South Main construction has become unbearable or I find myself growing weary from working on a project for an extended period of time, I’ve discovered that plugging into music has helped me gain energy and better concentrate on my tasks at hand. There’s even science to support this! In fact, studies have shown that music is effective in raising efficiency in work for most people.
Although I am now hooked on listening to music while I work, I have made my musical experience better by learning from some of the obstacles music can present.
- Familiarity = focus: If you’re in the middle of a project that requires precision and intense detail, it might help to listen to music you’re familiar with. Think about it – if you know what to expect, you might be less inclined to listen closely to what’s next.
- Lyrical distraction: Listening to words actually activates the language center in our brains. So, if you’re in the middle of another language-related task, like writing, your language center could get confused on where the attention for words needs to go! If you find yourself in a situation like this, try listening to music without lyrics. You might try classical music or even a little ambient noise (like noises from a sound-soother).
- Musical interference: When trying to absorb and retain new information, distractions of any kind may prevent you from collecting and remembering new information properly. If you’re trying to take in and understand new material, music could make retaining the information nearly impossible. When I’ve encountered situations like this, I have found it best to rid myself of all noise distraction temporarily, focus on what needs to be done then turn the music back on when I’m done with that particular task.
So, do you listen to music to improve your workday productivity? What kind of music do you find best improves your focus? Let us know in the comments below!