Some Cool Tips to Boost Your Productivity (Using Music).

Have you ever wondered why so many people choose to take their work to coffee shops? We are all familiar with the writer-at-Starbucks character, which is a very early 2000s’ sort of concept and still very much in force today. However, and due to the current availability of reliable technologies and the expansion of the freelance work market, it is now much more frequent to see professionals from all backgrounds setting their workplaces in these establishments. In fact, it is now so usual that these group has its own name: the Wi-Fi Workers.

Here’s something that you probably didn’t know: in order to get to work, you need the exact amount of distraction. What?! Distraction makes you focus? Well, it only makes sense. After long periods of performing repetitive tasks, your brain gets in a state of trance that can actually be dangerous; this is the principle that explains Highway Hypnosis, the mental state that a person achieves after driving for long hours with no other stimuli than the road. The driver feels all dulled and drowsy, states that can be very dangerous in the situation of driving. Extended periods of performing monotonous tasks slow the activity of your brain, which brings undesirable consequences such as boredom and creative blockage.

So, music can provide a proper — and pleasant — distraction that also boosts your neuronal activity. Moreover, music as a constant background may help drowning occasional noises in your work environment.

To sum up this article’s line of thought, the perfect amount of distraction. Looking back, I think I studied for 75% my exams in coffee stores. It might sound stupid but, when you are in a public place, you ‘need to look busy’ because otherwise it would look like you are just loitering. If you have to look busy, might as well be actually getting some work done!

Here’s what I would like to convey the most today: music can make you more productive, but also will help you enjoy what you are supposed to do. At least a teensy bit more (how British!). There is an interesting concept in Organizational Psychology, which is the Flow. This is a state in which you feel actual enthusiasm, enjoyment and involvement while working on something. When you get into this zone, time flies and when you are done it feels like you only started a minute ago even though you actually spent some time completing the task. Music and sound are spectacular tools for achieving this state of mind.

Finally, there are some specific tricks that will help you achieve your daily objectives. Whether you are studying or working, the following tips will probably make it easier getting stuff done:

  • Organize Your Playlist by BPM (Beats Per Minute). Save the fast ones for those moments of the day when you know you are going to start yawning. After lunch, an hour before work day is over, whatever suits you best.
  • Measure tasks in playlists. For instance, if you aim to finish a certain project in an hour or less, create an hour long playlists. You can also schedule your breaks by creating 30 minute long playlists, and take 10′ every time a playlist ends.
  • Stimulate the proper hemisphere. Recent studies conducted by Ronald Berk show that logical and analytical activities — left brain — are best performed with up-tempo music in major keys, while slow music in minor keys suits creative tasks — right brain — better.
  • Listen to new or unknown music. If your favorite song is playing, you might end up dancing all around the office instead of completing the task at hand.
  • If you find music distracting, use sound. Works recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research show that the ambient buzz of a coffee shop makes us more productive. 70 decibels sounds were associated with bursts of creativity.
  • Trial and error. We are all unique, and all the above may work for many people…but not for all. If you belong to the latter, I am positive music will help you boost your productivity. You just have to find what to play and when.

Did any of the above help you? Do you have your own tricks? If so, I would really like to know. Feel free to share and comment. Happy listening!