With early signs of musical instruments dating back 40,000 years, it seems music has always been a core part of humanity. This powerful art form can deeply impact our emotional state, often making us feel free, happy, relaxed or even euphoric. It can help us release our anger, burst out in tears, or want to move our body to the beat. But there’s more to music than that. Music can also have a profound effect on our ability to focus. Staying productive and motivated isn’t always easy. However, certain types of music have a way of channeling our concentration and helping us stay on-task. Whether you’re trying to study for an exam, nail your current work project, or create a website for your new business venture, the following productivity music playlists might be just what you need.
Choosing the right playlist to boost your productivity
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to picking the right productivity music for you. What works well for one person might not work for others. Here are a few things to take into account when choosing which music to work to:
Lyrics vs. instrumental: This very much depends on the type of work you’re doing. Lyrics can be extremely distracting if you’re working on a language-based task, such as writing a blog post or reading an essay. In this case, an instrumental playlist will probably be much more effective. On the other hand, belting out the lyrics to your favorite song is likely to get those “feel-good” hormones pumping. In turn, this will put you in an optimal mood for working. This can be an ideal choice for creative tasks that aren’t language-based, like illustration or photo editing, especially when you already know exactly what you should be doing. Singing or humming along to lyrics can also be helpful in improving morale when working on monotonous tasks, thus boosting productivity.
Listening tendencies: For some people, listening to music while working comes naturally, whereas others simply find it distracting. You may already have an inkling as to which category you fall under, but it’s worth exploring different productivity playlists to see whether you find them beneficial. As well as the recommended playlists below, you’ll find plenty of time management apps dedicated to productivity music for working.
Personal preferences: If you’re not a fan of classical music, chances are you won’t enjoy listening to it while working and it probably won’t help boost your productivity levels. In fact, research suggests that there’s a direct link between the pleasure we get from music and its impact on our work performance.
6 productivity music playlists for working efficiently
Whether you’re into rock, reggae or opera, you may find that your usual musical style is not necessarily the most productivity-inducing. It might bring you pleasure when listening to it recreationally or while washing the dishes, but you could find that it distracts you when you’re trying to work. When looking for the right productivity music for working, branch out to different genres and sounds. Here’s a selection of playlists to explore:
You may have heard of the Mozart effect. It refers to a study that was carried out in 1993, in which it was found that listening to Mozart can improve people’s spatial reasoning skills. While this research has since been disputed, classical music is still a popular choice for productivity music. A more recent study done on the subject shows how listening to Baroque classical music helped improve the mood and productivity of eight radiologists. If you think classical music could be the right fit for you, try out the playlist below. Made up of instrumental Baroque music, you don’t need to worry about the lyrics distracting you. Additionally, the continuous rhythmic drive and moments of intensity can really help you push through your work.
For the days when even the most motivational podcasts won’t do the trick, feel-good music is here to spread its sunshiney joy. There’s no doubt that dancing to your favorite Beyoncé tune will do wonders to your mood. And singing along to just about any Spice Girls song will also likely release some of those good old endorphins. While the incorporation of lyrics may be distracting in some cases, research suggests that listening to happy music can enhance creativity. By putting you in a good mood, it can also potentially help you overcome creative block, getting you back on track and ready to push on through with your new-found energy. That’s why the feel-good playlist below is a perfect option for improving productivity during creative tasks, like making a mood board for a new project or planning the layout of your site to create one of the best portfolio websites. Enjoy!
Ambient music is a non-traditional form of music, in that it lacks a distinct repetitive rhythm or catchy hooks to grab our attention. Instead, the emphasis is placed on the general atmosphere and environment created around the listener. There are no dramatic build-ups or sharp changes in the music, but rather gentle, drawn-out shifts. These characteristics make ambient music a good choice when looking for productivity music for working. It blends into the background, somewhat like lounge music, while providing us with subtle stimulation. For a playlist that is equally soothing as it is focus-inducing, try out the one below. And when your day of work is done, this playlist can also double-up as effective music for meditation or sleep.
Sounds of nature
Listening to the soft sounds of nature can help you de-stress while you work, putting you in the right state of mind for a productive work session. And when we say the soft sounds of nature, we don’t mean the roar of a tiger or the shrill call of a bird, but rather the more flowing sounds of a trickling stream or a gentle breeze. A study on office acoustics explored the effects of natural sounds in workplaces. It was found that muffled sounds of nature helped mask distracting noises, as well as helping people relax and work more efficiently. Listen to the playlist below to craft yourself a calm and distraction-free environment. Eliminating distractions is an important time management tip, helping you to boost your productivity.
This genre of music has become increasingly popular in recent years. Its slow tempo, mellow vibe and lack of lyrics make it the perfect productivity music for working or studying. It tends to incorporate elements from various genres, like jazz, hip hop, soul and funk, combining them together to create a relaxing beat. Lo-fi music could be described as the hip cousin of elevator music. It’s unobtrusive, inoffensive, and can easily merge into the background. Unlike classical music, which is also recommended to enhance productivity, lo-fi music doesn’t really alter in tempo or vibe, making it ideal background music to accompany you while working. The playlist below is highly popular, recommended for relaxing, as well as to boost productivity while working or studying.
Coffee shop background noise
This may sound like an unusual choice, but it’s not uncommon to see people sitting at cafes sipping cappuccinos while working on their laptops. True, the change of scenery also has a part to play in freshening up your motivation and productivity, but there’s something about the continuous, dull hum of a coffee shop that also hits the spot when it comes to concentration. In addition, it’s been found that a certain level of ambient noise can improve creativity. While you may sometimes feel you need absolute silence to work, listening to the muffled sounds of clinking dishes or distant conversations can actually help improve your productivity. If you’re working from home or in a quiet environment, try simulating a cafe experience by listening to the coffee shop background noise playlist below. You won’t get bored of it because it functions like white noise, blending unnoticed into the background, which means you can easily keep playing it for hours while you work.