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We've talked about filtering the noise around us, creating environments where we can focus, isolation, and even organization.

Now, how does music blend together in all that?

There are people who find it distracting, others have their mood soothed. Some do more work, others do less work.

Today's article talks about exactly that and it comes down to one thing, mostly:
Whether the music makes you feel better, or not.

If you feel happy listening to the music, the improvement in your mood will help you act more creatively, and thus get more accomplished depending on your work.

If the song or sound you are listening to is too provocative for you, then you will find it distracting and it will detract from your work.

But that's a simple summarization. Check this out:

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The connection between listening to music you like at work and an improved mood is strong, says Teresa Lesiuk, associate professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Miami, to Futurism She said that about “90 percent of the time” people have positive experiences when listening to whatever kind of music they prefer, and listening to that music often produces “mild, positive moods.” Being in that frame of mind can be helpful for getting work done.

“It’s shown that when you’re in that particular mood state, you take in more options, you don’t narrow your focus, and that is beneficial to creative problem solving,” Lesiuk said. “When you’re in that mood state, you’re better at problem solving and thinking creatively.”

So not only can music help with productivity, it can make you more creative at work. Lesiuk said that, of course, there might be exceptions. If an artist’s music is especially dissonant or the tempo is extreme, that could create some distractions (sorry EDM lovers). But overall the improvements hold true if someone likes the music. If music is being piped into your workspace that you don’t particularly enjoy, the same effects probably won’t occur.

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And there is catch to all that:

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One especially interesting thing Lesiuk has learned through her own research is that getting a significant boost in productivity from listening to music can depend on how good you are at what you’re doing. In one study, she said she found the best effects were felt by people who weren’t new to what they were doing, but also weren’t experts.

“If a person was already expert in their work, they benefitted in terms of mood, but it didn’t affect their productivity,” she said. “They were going to do well no matter what.” However, if a person was moderately good at what they were doing, productivity increased significantly. “If they were novice in their work, if they were just learning the skill, it didn’t help their productivity, because they didn’t have the skill,” she said. “It did still benefit their mood.”

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The article also makes an affiliative recommendation about an online app called Focus@Will , which is sort of streamlined music player. Just don't hold that definition on me, I'm saying this as I go and they must have their own definition. :P

The heading in their main page says: "Scientifically optimized music to help you focus". So go with that.

I checked them out and, frankly, I'd like to try it out. Maybe there alternatives out there, too? Let me know if you find any.

For the full experience, read the article here and tell us what you think of it.

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If you needed an excuse to listen to music at work, you now have one. Not only is it generally enjoyable, which improves your mood, but it can actually make you do a better job. So if your boss tells you to rip the headphones out of your ears, just tell them you’re trying to be the best employee you can be.

 

Except you are probably your own boss around here. :) 

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