When interruptions at your desk become too much, when too many calls are being made or taken, when you just can’t seem to focus, what do you do? If you pop in headphones or head to a coffee shop, the problem and the solution revolve around the same variable: noise, specifically managing noise.
If you’re the type of person that keeps headphones on or earbuds in when you aren’t listening to music as a means of quieting things down, you are not alone. If you keep them in and just forget that you’re not listening to music, it may just be the two of us but, hey, we’re not alone. There’s no reason to feel bad about that habit/tendency, though. People work in very different ways and most recognize that.
If, however, someone doesn’t consider that, here’s a little science you can drop on them:
- Music makes you happier, which makes just about everything easier. In fact, that’s why music seems to enhance your creative chops, makes working out seem easier, and somehow turns boring tasks into tolerable ones. What happens when you take music away from people who regularly listen? The results aren’t surprising: “It follows that when music is removed in such music listening work cultures there is a psychological withdrawal of an important stimulus. Developers experience the negative effects of the removal of a stimulus they have come to depend on. The negative effects are found in lowered state positive mood responses, slightly lowered quality-of-work, and more time spent on tasks than originally intended.” (That comes from a study titled “The effect of music listening on work performance.” With a title like that, it’s got to be good.)
- The more you know about music, the more it will help you work. The same acutely titled study notes, “Developers who listened to greater amounts of music, considered more knowledgeable than those who usually did not listen, derived greater emotional benefit.” If you play an instrument or consider yourself a connoisseur but don’t listen to music at work, start.
- Music can amplify your creativity. You won’t suddenly become creative by listening to a few songs while you work but, if you’re already a creative type, music can take you to the next level. A study on background noise said it best (though essentially the same thing has been said about music): “[A] person must have certain basic skills before his/her creativity can be enhanced through subtle manipulations such as background noise.”
Now that it’s clear listening to music can take your game to the next level, it’s time to kick out some jams. CareerBuilder is now on Rdio, and our team has put together some playlists to help you work harder, and happier, no matter what kind of mood you’re in:
Classically Productive: When a task demands an extreme attention to detail(s), when you’re working with numbers or combing through documents, our Classically Productive playlist is ready to help. You won’t encounter any lyrics, and that will help you stay on task.
Cure for a Crap Day: When you need something to lift up your spirits and escape a funk, we have the Cure for a Crap Day. Upbeat songs, featuring happy topics and the major scale – the most cheerful of all scales, will help you turn things around, whether you’re at the office or not.
The Class of ’95: If you want to take a trip down memory lane while knocking out some tedious tasks, check out The Class of ’95 and help us celebrate CareerBuilder’s 20th anniversary. Just like blue M&Ms, all the songs featured here have been around for 20 years. You probably know them and all that’s actually a good thing when you’re trying to work.
Stay tuned for another Music at Work update, and be sure to check out the rest of CareerBuilder FM on Rdio.
Originally posted at http://advice.careerbuilder.com/posts/music-at-work-productivity-and-creativity