From our maestro guest author Zac Green.
Can music help you work faster, smarter, more productively?
As simple as that question sounds, the jury is still out on whether it can or not. Zac Green at music blog ZingInstruments.com is certainly one of those in the yes camp. Here are 12 good reasons why it’s worth donning the headphones when you’ve got work to do.
Creates A Positive State of Mind
The first is simple enough. Music gives you an instant endorphin rush. A good track will give your central nervous system an instant boost. Plenty of scientific evidence backs this up: we’re much happier when listening to music.
Makes Trivial Tasks Fun
There’s no getting away from it. A lot of white collar works entails doing repetitive tasks. Whether that’s putting together reports, formatting a presentation deck, or transcribing meeting minutes, music shakes a stick at those dull ‘copy paste’ tasks and can make them even fun!
Helps You Focus On The Task At Hand
A flow state is when you lose yourself in the task at hand. Certain types of music, especially electronic music, can put you into a highly focused state. The trick here is to use different types of music for the task at hand. Need an instant boost? Try Moby’s Porcelain. Need to plow through some work for 30 minutes? Try an uninterrupted piece of ambient music.
The Perfect Timer
Parkinson’s Law goes something like this: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. In layman’s terms this means the more time you give a task, the longer it takes. The key to productive working then is to ‘timebox’ tasks so you only have a set amount of time to complete a given task. Use music as the perfect timer for your timebox tasks!
Reduces Office Distractions
Distractions are the bane of the workplace. The very act of wearing headphones is often enough to put people off interrupting you. Music puts us on a ‘focus groove’ that makes us hell-bent on getting the job done.
Channels Out The Background Noise
We all love our colleagues (right?!). But like family, even our beloved workmates (and their chit-chat) need to be channeled out when there’s stuff that needs doing.
Not all workplaces are noisy places, in fact, some are far from it. A workplace that’s too quiet can be just as big a productivity suck. Music gives you a little oasis of company so you don’t go all lonely (just don’t go singing out loud).
Acts As A Creative Catalyst
We are not cogs in a giant machine, we’re people. And people are inherently creative (they just may not know it). Music is a creativity personified, and listening to it rubs off on you too.
Gives You A Gentle Work Out
The ‘office chair slump’ is a symptom of spending too long staring at your screen. With some Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag pumping into your eardrums it would be humanly impossible not not to have a little wiggle in your chair.
Adds A Virtual ‘Do Not Disturb’ Sign
The office equivalent of the ‘do not disturb’ sign, the headphones on head pose (the bigger the headphones the better) says loud and clear ‘I’m busy doing deep work, don’t pester me.’ Throw those pesky ear plugs in the bin and get some cans.
Increases Your Sociability
Come again? More sociable listening to music? Yup!
You may be locked away behind a set of head cans while you’re doing your work, but when you take off those muffs you’re almost brimming with conversation you want to unleash.
Prevents Clock Watching
Too much clock watching is a dangerous thing. Music helps you find that flow state and before you know it, you’re immersed in the task and the day is over.
So there you have it. 12 reasons why you’re better off listening to music while you work. Not convinced? Well, give it a try, you may surprise yourself!
Zach Collins first published these 12 points the ZingInstruments blog where you can see the accompanying infographic “12 ways music makes you more productive at work” infographic!