One of the biggest perks you get from being an online worker, is that you can play your go-to work playlist on full blast in your home office. In the mood for classical music, or hard rock tunes? You have the freedom to listen to them all day; in contrast to some corporate environments where employees are not even allowed to wear earphones in the office.
However, the question remains, does listening to music have an effect on your productivity? Can you focus better with music playing in the background?
The answer is both yes and no! There will be times that listening to your playlist helps you do particular tasks faster, with better outcomes. On the other hand, music can become a huge distraction as you do your work.
You can benefit from listening to music in certain conditions, doing certain tasks.
Doing repetitive tasks, for instance, can be done faster and better with music in the background. This is because music helps release ‘happy’ neurotransmitters in your body such as dopamine, which in turn makes you feel more relaxed and focused. It can get boring to do the same things over and over again, so music can help you as you accomplish them.
When your home suddenly gets rowdy and crowded, or more people have decided to hang out at your favorite coffee shop, then music can help tune out the noise. Hearing all the chatter and various sounds can be overwhelming and bring in unnecessary information in your brain that can distract you from the work. Music, particularly instrumentals or classical music, blocks out the noise so you can focus and hustle.
On the flip side, songs can become a source of distraction and you’re better off taking out your earphones.
If the task at hand requires your undivided attention, then any additional stimuli - including music - should be avoided. So, if you’re trying to learn something through an online class, doing a project that involves crunching numbers, or reviewing documents, then it’s best to put your music on pause.
Additionally, if you play the same work playlist and you know all the lyrics, then it may be a good idea to switch it up. Chances are, your brain will just sing along to the songs you know by heart, taking away the focus from your project.
You can create a work playlist that has instrumental tunes, or songs that have repetitive lyrics, that way they can just play in the background. Deep house, upbeat chill out, or even foreign music can uplift your mood and help you get things done.
Music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music have curated playlists that are centered around a certain theme or designed to boost your focus as well.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to preference. Despite the many benefits, there are people who enjoy listening to tunes while others would rather work in silence. In any case, listen to music can give you the push you need to hustle and get things done. You just have to know when to plug your earphones in.