Oooh, Listen to the Music!
We're giving you an excuse to listen to your playlist at work - it helps you be productive!
Do you have any tasks that are repetitive and grueling? Checking emails might be one thing many people grunt about. What about data entry? Paperwork? Editing and review? If you've done a specific task for a long enough time, your brain starts to yawn and you might lag. But studies are showing that music can have a great effect on your work. The University of Windsor, Canada released the results of an experiment which "indicated that state positive affect and quality-of-work were lowest with no music, while time-on-task was longest when music was removed." In other words, music can help you be more efficient.
The benefits aren't just in efficiency. The right song can also spur your creativity - if it's not too loud! The Journal of Consumer Research announces that "results from five experiments demonstrate that a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products." It's probably something we've all suspected, but the data brings it home. Adapt your music for the mood most appropriate to the work at hand (energetic or contemplative?) and keep the volume at a moderate level - neither too low or too high.
As a general rule, if you need to focus (and the task is not repetitive and requires more mental exertion) avoid an abundance of lyrics and stick to music you're familiar with. This limits the distractor factor while still stimulating you.
As a last note, some people talk about the "Mozart Effect," a phenomenon that supposedly increased the IQs and learning potential of young children when they listened to Mozart. There was a lot of controversy over this, and what it is really based on are studies showing temporary learning improvement in adult brains. However, further studies have indicated that Mozart's music isn't the only kind that can help peak your brain - it seems that many different kinds of music that strongly resonate with you can help your cognition.
Take these tips, and experiment with them in the workplace. With a little rhythm and beat, your "engine" should run more smoothly.
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