How listening to music at work improved my productivity.
There are many frivolous benefits of having a closed cabin at work. You can scribble whatever you want on your board. And, if just one won’t do, you can get yourself one more! You can hang an antique world map above your head and dream of sailing around the world one day. If you are really bored, you can order your chairs to arrange themselves by the order of their height.
Above all, what I enjoy the most is my freedom to listen to music. A few months back, I gifted myself a small docking station so that I don’t have to live with the crackling laptop sound quality or use earphones. In these few months, I’ve come to realize that I benefit a lot from it.There has been enough research done in this space across the globe. Some scientists have even mapped the correlation between music and certain brain functions.
According to one study from the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, when subjects listened to a preferred or a favorite song of theirs, they were better connected to a part of the brain called the default mode network, which is tied to how humans are able to switch between thinking about what’s going on around them and their self-referential thoughts. Incidentally, listening to music doesn’t distract you but helps you cut yourself off from what’s around you and focus more on what you want to do.
According to another study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, ‘Workplace contributions were higher for groups when they were able to listen to music’.
Since I discovered this pattern, I’ve used music to help me remain focused, creative and productive at work. No, I am not making this up, in fact I am listening to music right now!
When do I listen to music at work?
- I start my day at office early and it usually starts with a short prayer followed by some good music that starts-me-up
- When I need to wear my thinking hat, especially when I am writing something or working on a presentation
- When I am really irritated about something and want to stop thinking about it
- When I want to want to have a quick lunch inside my cabin rather than walking a couple of floors up to the cafeteria
What kind of music helps me ?
- Mostly instrumental. I’ve been experimenting with Brainwave music that produces certain frequencies designed for positive energy and concentration
- Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin
- Jazz, Blues & Lounge
- Gospel. I usually don’t wear my religion on my forehead at work but then when I am really low and desperately in need of a miracle, gospel music has come to help. Again, it’s a really broad category, you have to pick what works for you.
- Be cautious about the songs in your playlist, you don’t want to something as explicit or downright nasty playing just when your boss decides to walk into your cabin!
How else has playing music helped me at work?
- Break ice during interviews. No, I am not kidding. Having an iPod deck on my desk has been a great conversation starter with candidates. Their taste for music helps me to understand them better. But then there have been candidates who have given me the dirty looks… who listens to music at work! Right.
- Get my team to drop their guard when they are in my cabin
- I am just going to stop with two because I don’t want my colleagues to get too conscious next time they are with me in my cabin!
The benefits or results of listening to music will strongly depend on your personality and what gets you excited. What works for me, need not work you.
Has music helped you to concentrate better at work? Do share your experiences & experiments with music at the workplace in the comments section.