I don’t know about you but since college (which is a lotta years ago for me) I’ve almost always listened to music or even TV episodes while I worked. Never new episodes, I’d listen to reruns I’ve had memorized for years.
The important thing here is that I almost always have something ON while I’m working. Only recently have I tried quiet afternoons. Well in all honesty I didn’t intentionally try it, either the iPad that was streaming the music died (cue Don’s American Pie) or I got distracted after a phone call and forgot to turn it back on.
But after accidentally working at home with just white noise I’ve noticed something. I’m more creative without music. I’m more productive with certain kinds of music on. This was all backed up by an article on Brit+Co that actually recommended sticking with ambient white noise at most. If that seems totally crazy to you I’m sharing 3 Tips for Listening to Music While Working.
No. 1 – Listen to Instrumental Music
I’m a traditional song and dance kinda gal so I will often get sucked in to singing the songs that come on my Pandora or Songza or Spotify playlists. This isn’t a bad thing but when I’m trying to do creative or productive work it actually is interrupting my train of thought! As if my mind didn’t already have enough distractions to deal with. I’ve found that when I listen to Rodrigo y Gabriella (amazing Mexican guitar duo) at a reasonable volume my creative juices flow and I crank out awesome content!
No. 2 – Match the Music to the Task
Lyrics, especially those by TSwift and John Mayer, are meant to strike an emotional cord in us. But some tunes just aren’t a fit for certain tasks. If you’re at risk of belting out “I’ve got a lot of Starbucks Lovers” while jamming to your fave Top 40 hits… save those for working at home. Dance-y upbeat hits are perfect for cleaning or folding laundry or really any chore around the house. Then you can rock out with your… well, you can kind of let loose without worrying about your crabby cube mate giving you glares.
No. 3 – Switch Up The Hits
If you listen to music at work to help prevent yourself from getting bored at your desk job try switching up the tunes you listen to. I used to have my pandora playlists almost memorized because I’d sit down at my desk and turn on the same one every day. It was calming and a bit white noisy but just like listening to albums back in the day, after every song my mind would think about the song coming up next. The point of listening to music is to give your ears something to do while your mind focuses on something else. So try a new playlist and see if you feel like Inbox Zero is any closer!
What are your favorite playlists for the office? Do you listen through headphones or can you actually play music outloud (at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven)?
Erin Bassett is the music fan behind ErinMBassett.com, WCBC founder, blogger, coach & designer. She believes in the power of positivity and her mantra is “Calm, Confidence, Clarity”. Her line of 100% handmade leather handbags launches April 28th!