Your work playlist

April 21, 2017 10:25 AM The Week Bureau

The best sounds for getting some serious work done

When it comes to shutting out the world and getting focused on the task at hand, a good soundtrack can make all the difference. Whether that means studying to Mozart or calculating your monthly budget to Miles Davis, everyone needs good music to fill the space between thoughts. 
Studies have shown that music increases productivity and mood, and makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable. But many people don’t know where to start when it comes to putting together that perfect work playlist – or they simply don’t have the time. That’s the reason why we have come up with some music genre recommendation. Not only will it make your work more enjoyable, you will also realize that doing repetitive work becomes so much easier and a lot less mind numbing. However, the task of figuring out which genre works best for you lies on your hands. 

Classical music
If you have to pay attention to small details or work with numbers.
The ornate instrumentation and composition of Baroque classical music gets a lot of attention for its possible mind-boosting effects. In a study, eight radiologists were asked to go about their day while listening to Baroque-period tunes. They mostly self-reported better mood and productivity, except for one worker who said the music had a negative effect on his concentration. Another study found that workers were better at solving mathematical problems when listening to classical music, which improved accuracy by 12 percent compared to listening to no music at all.

Being often hundreds of years old and a niche interest these days, classical music is relatively easy to find online. Wikipedia has hundreds of freely licensed files, and public domain search sites like Musopen offers a lot of good stuff too.

Ambient/Electronic music
If you have to drown out distraction but at the same time let your mind roam. 
All ambient music is designed not to jump in your face, but still keep your brain engaged at a lower, subconscious level. The perfect style for those looking for background sounds that won’t distract, ambient electronica such as Brian Eno’s famed Music For Airports provides a welcome, no-frills sonic retreat. Designed to help relax the mind and let it roam, the genre is perfect for those who are attempting to come up with some deep insight, and is especially handy for those who have a deadline approaching – and fast.

When you want those brain cells to work at full speed. 
While it may not quite jibe perfectly with the most buttoned-down offices, there are plenty of workplaces where a healthy dose of hip-hop will fit right in, and even help you get some work done. Whether you are working on a massive amount of code and blasting your headphones, or jamming out in a coffee shop or bar, there are plenty of rhymes to fuel your work fire in this genre of music. Try The Relevant by Kendrick Lamar, and That’s Love by Chance The Rapper to start out with. 

For those times when the job at hand is too mundane for your liking.
With ornate harmonies that often sit atop a pulsating rhythmic base, jazz can provide workers who do repetitive tasks with the perfect backdrop. An extremely interactive and conversational genre, jazz is perfect for those who like to listen a little deeper while they work, though it may prove distracting to those who need more open mental space to process their thoughts.

Dance music 
For proof reading and problem solving
This genre resulted in the highest overall accuracy and fastest performance across a range of work tasks. According to a study, participants listening to dance music produced more accurate results in spell-checking, solving equations and tackling tricky mathematical word problems, increased proof-reading speed by 20 percent and were able to complete abstract reasoning tasks more quickly. So next time you see your headphone-clad colleague nodding in time to a dance beat, don’t judge: they are probably working better than you are.

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