The Perfect Playlist

In our experience, there are three kinds of people:

  1. Those who need complete silence while they’re working
  2. Those who can work anywhere while just tuning out the noise in the background
  3. Those who put on their headphones, throw on the perfect playlist, and just get to work

But does this all come down to personal choice, or is one method superior to the others? Science tells us that people who listen to music while they work might actually have an edge over their colleagues. Studies have shown that people who listen to music while they work tend to be in better moods, produce work with fewer mistakes, and work more efficiently. So what is this link between music and productivity?

Well, it is not as simple as just turning on some music and being productive. Daniel Levitin, the neuroscientist who wrote This Is Your Brain on Music, wrote that music can make repetitive tasks more enjoyable, and make it easier to concentrate while you’re doing them. Also music can elevate your mood. And being happier means that you have lower stress levels, which can also boost productivity. Some studies argue, that depending on what type of music you listen to, it might be better to just listen to it during breaks. A study published in the journal Psychology of Music found that when students listened to music in between tasks, they were able to concentrate for longer stretches of time and ultimately performed better academically.

In any case, if you want to listen to music you might want to stick to a few simple rules. Choose music that won't distract you. Mind the volume. And maybe if you really need to concentrate, just stick to listening to music during breaks.