Increase Productivity with Music: Best Playlists to Help you Work

(I’m a Spotify user so sorry to everyone who uses a different platform. You can still use these tips on how to build out your own playlists on your preferred platform.)

Is it just me or does it seem like music platforms like Spotify, have a playlist for everything? Some activities might be better if you had a little music to accompany it but on the occasion of being productive, music can either be helpful or harmful. playlists

I’m sure you already have a playlist that helps you get through the workday but it’s possible to optimize your listening habits to get more done in the day. Psychologists suggested a couple of tips for your future listening habits that might help if you want to block out any office distractions with music:

  • Typical popular music usually interferes with complex tasks and reading comprehension.
  • Music can give you a motivational jump-start before you start on both cognitive tasks and those requiring creativity.
  • Relaxing, repetitive, low-information-load, background music can enhance performance on some cognitive tasks.

In my experience, I find most of these tips to be true but your productivity when listening to music could be due to a number of different factors. I find it’s best to test out what works for you and stick to that. A solid rule for everyone might be to stay away from lyrics. They seem to be more of a distraction so I usually just keep that kind of music on my workout or personal playlists.   

Like others, I build out my own custom playlists for what kind of activity/work I’m doing but I find most of these songs from pre-built playlists via Spotify and here are some of my favorites to help you to do the same.  

Movie Scores

When I was in university, a fellow student mentioned that listening to movie scores can really help when you’re trying to concentrate. I hadn’t revisited this idea till recently and find them to really kick my productivity up a notch. They’re usually longer than regular songs so your brain doesn’t have to be distracted when a song ends by asking, “What song is going to be next?” or “Am I going to like this next track?” Pro-Tip: Stay away from musicals. For some, it’s super tempting but these usually have words that accompany them making them more distracting rather than helpful.

By just searching the word, “Movie” you can find a list of different genre’s to choose from.

My coworker, Christin Jeffers, suggested a Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross playlist with scores from movies like BirdBox, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the Social Network, and more.

I have added most of the music for my movie playlists from the “Movie Scores for Higher Test Scores” list featuring music from Wonder Woman, Game of Thrones, Avatar, Jurrasic Park, Hidden Figures, Pirates of the Carribean, and Inception to name a few. I find this type of music is super helpful when writing technical or company events blog posts. It keeps me on the ball and doesn’t pull my focus.    

As you can probably tell I listen to more action movie scores to help me stay focused but some people would rather hear more calm romantic tones. These sometimes sound more like lullabies to me but to each their own. It helps if you build out your own playlists with your preferred genre selection for optimal focus and enjoyment.    

Instrumental

This music genre has been suggested from a couple of different sites so time and time again I’ve tried to incorporate it into my work playlists. I have to be in a specific mood to listen to this because it reminds me too much of dance classes I took as a kid so my mind begins to wonder. If I had to make a suggestion though, it would be Brain Fuel, Music for studying. The few songs that I have snagged for myself came from here.

Our Director of Client Engagement, Jeremy Douglas, enjoys working to flamenco guitar. These artists will often do riffs that last for 5 or 6 minutes making it ideal to not break your concentration or train of thought. Jeremy mentioned that he finds these tunes helpful when he’s replying to emails, writing press releases, or any type of tasks where he just needs to shut out the rest of the world and zero in on what’s in front of him.   

Techno/EDM

Next time you need to focus and if movie scores aren’t for you, I suggest you check out the Brain food playlist. This is not a type of pump-up music. This is more “mood” music in the Techno realm. This music is not distracting while adding an interesting twist of tech to the mix of organic sounds. I’ll say this again, make sure there are no words in this music. One or two phrases can be okay but it does pull you out of your current thought process.

Looking for another alternative? Check out Emancipator – Instrumental. There are little to no lyrics, making any of these tracks good additions to stay on the ball and get more done. I find it best to listen to this when scheduling out social media posts for clients. You can get into a rhythm when doing this type of work so having a good beat in the background can help you stay productive.  

A couple of other alternatives that I hear are pretty good for productivity include video game soundtracks, nature playlists, and some white-noise sounds. I haven’t personally explored this type of music but I can imagine the appeal.

Shuffle through my suggestions and find your most productive mix. It could help bring your work to the next level.

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