Music While You Work

For a lot of people, music plays a bigger role in their life than just being a form of entertainment. The most common example is how music is used to push you through an intense workout, as many athletes and casual bodybuilders can also attest to. But in a similar vein, music can really help you be more productive in an office setting. However, there are a lot of things to consider when incorporating music in your office routine. Luckily, we are here to discuss all of the ins and outs of incorporating music while you work right now. So let’s get started.

The first thing that you always must consider when thinking about listening to music while you work is whether you work in a private office or in a cubicle or public space. If it is the former, then you have the freedom to choose between listening to music out loud or through your headphones. However, if you work in a cubicle or public space, odds are that you will need to listen to music through headphones, so as to not disturb those around you. However, having said that, depending on your coworkers and the relative privacy of the space (for example a small private lab space with only a few other coworkers), listening to music out loud may still be feasible, as long as everyone in the vicinity of the music is ok with it. If you decide to go this route, make sure that you talk to your coworkers before going ahead and listening to your music.

If you do listen to music out loud, one thing that should be noted is that even if you are a totally private office, it is best not to listen to music that is overly loud. Even if such music would get you “in the zone” so to speak, such a high volume paired with the acoustics of the sound vibrating throughout the entire room is typically more of a distraction than a help to your work productivity. Instead, keep the external music light, almost like elevator music, to help keep you awake without distracting you too much. If you do want to really get into the zone though and increase productivity, the best thing to do is to listen to music through headphones and turn up the volume there. The acoustics in this case are much more conducive to high productivity than simply blasting loud music throughout your entire room.

Speaking of wearing headphones, finding a high-quality pair of headphones plays a fairly large role in achieving high productivity while in the office. Ideally, you look for headphones that not only produce a high-quality sound, but perhaps more importantly cancel out surrounding noise, at least somewhat. Working in an office typically comes with a lot of other conversations and small talk that you simply don’t want to be listening to, especially if you are trying to focus. Although there are plenty of options out there for quality headsets, the higher quality headphones typically will come with a higher price tag. So even though getting a high-quality pair of headphones is totally worth it, if it isn’t in your budget, don’t make too big of a deal out of it. Alternatively, you can even ask your company if they have any headphones to offer you for free. Either way, having a cheap pair of headphones is better than nothing, so don’t fret if you are in that situation.

When it comes to the actual music that you’ll be listening to, the simple truth of the matter is that the best music for high productivity totally depends on each individual person. Some people work well when listening to rap music, or pop music or electronic music. The real key to the music is the fact that it separates you from the outside world, helping you to focus on the task at hand. For some people though, it may be hard to concentrate even with music isolating them from their surroundings, simply because the catchy beat and lyrics distract them in a similar way that listening and overhearing things in the office would. For those people I have a great solution: listen to “white noise”.

Now what is white noise you ask? If you’ve ever been on an airplane, the constant noise that you hear throughout the entire flight is basically what white noise sounds like. It is a combination of a bunch of different frequencies, resulting in a bland, yet soothing sound. And while there are plenty of variations of white noise based on the frequencies used, the overall effect is the same: it helps you focus! Similar to music, white noise helps separate you from the outside sounds around you. However, unlike music, white noise doesn’t distract you, because you aren’t really listening to anything noteworthy! It is definitely something worthwhile to try out. Plus you can find all sorts of “white noise” YouTube videos that simply play white noise for up to 10 hours at a time. All you have to do is start the video, and you have white noise playing for your entire work day. It can’t get any easier than that.

If you are wearing headphones, you could also potentially just not listen to any music at all. The reason people do this is because when people are wearing headphones (regardless of if you are actually listening to music or not), people around you are less likely to bother you with small talk or other discussions not directly related to work. It basically becomes a signal that you are trying to focus on your work and that they should respect that. Although we personally recommend listening to something since it does actually block noise out, listening to nothing at all could very well be an option if it works for you personally.

In conclusion, always keep in mind that music is not just a form of entertainment, but a powerful tool to help you maintain focus and improve productivity, especially in the highly populated workplace setting! So if your productivity has seen a dip as of late, or even if you just want to see your productivity improve in general, definitely try incorporating some of our tips above to use the power of music to your advantage!