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These 5 Kinds of Songs for Work Will Increase Your Productivity

These 5 Kinds of Songs for Work Will Increase Your Productivity

Music is a constant companion in everyday life. It is in every department store, most elevators, and in everybody’s homes. There are mixed feelings about the presence of music in the workplace, however, and it has been constantly debated that music can actually boost quality and productivity in the office. This debate has been in the minds of scientists for years, especially now in the age of personal music devices and customized playlists.

According to an article in ‘The Telegraph’, a company known as Mindlab International conducted a study which nine out of ten workers performed better in the presence of music.

“The take-home message is that music is a very powerful management tool if you want to increase not only the efficiency of your workforce but also their mental state, their emotional state – they’re going to become more positive about the work,” said Dr David Lewis, neuropsychologist and chairman of the company.

Not all kinds of music, however, are positive influences to the workplace. It is important to understand that the wrong types of music in the wrong situations can result in negative outcomes. It is all about understanding the types of music that can influence your productivity in positive ways. Everybody is different, so it is also important to remember that unique individuals will not respond the same way to certain types of music.

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That being said, there are types of music that will work best in work settings, according to scientific evidence.

1. Bass-heavy, empowering music that will inspire you to be more confident and energetic at work.

Research conducted in 2005 for the journal Psychology of Music’ found that the positive emotions created by empowering music may influence the way in which cognitive material is organized, thus influencing the worker’s creativity. Participants exposed to positive music demonstrated a higher level of creative problem solving than whose who had been exposed to neutral or negative stimuli.

According to ‘Medical Daily’, research recommends listening to empowering music before important meetings or other scenarios which require confidence. However it is recommended that exposure to this type of music for empowering purposes should be had before tasks and during breaks. Although it can increase confidence and energy levels, it can be extremely distracting if exposed to in the wrong situations.

A team of academics from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management found that one of the highest voted songs for empowering music included “We Will Rock You”  by Queen:

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2. Constant, ambient music with no lyrics that will allow better work pacing.

For repetitive work that requires focus but does not involve much high-cognitive function, energetic and repetitive music has has been found to assist pacing for work tasks throughout the day. Research has shown that removing the ambient music has found a lowered quality of work and prolonged time spent on tasks than intended. This type of music is also perfect for increasing alertness and focus. Songs recommended for this type of work should have a constant, non-complex rhythm.

This song has been found to be one of the most relaxing tunes ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySNhHVAokQ

3. Classical music that will reduce stress and improve moods.

Research has found that music has the ability to relax the body and mind. Classical music holds several benefits towards psychological functions, such as a slower pulse and heart rate, lowered blood pressure and a lowered level of stress hormones. Research has found that such music can reduce burnout in nursing students, who are required to perform extremely stressful tasks. Stress and negative moods can cause a major road block in productivity. For particularly stressful jobs, ambient classical music can relax the nerves and improve moods, consequently allowing better concentration and work ethic.

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After all, it has been found that music-enhanced cognitive performance is a by-product of mood and arousal.

Have a listen to Beethoven’s “Fidelio Overture”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1y6XrLmYdE

4. Mozart, which can improve learning and memory skills.

The processing of music shares some of the pathways in the brain as memory. The University of California conducted a study exposing students to recordings of Mozart compared with relaxation tapes or silence. It was found that student test scores improved after exposure to Mozart’s music, as compared to the other sounds. This is known, not surprisingly, as “The Mozart Effect”. For a mental boost at work, especially concerning tasks that involve a great deal of thinking and remembering, it might be worth revisiting some music by the famous child prodigy.

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I’m sure we can all identify Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”:

5. Pop music that will speed up data entry tasks.

The study conducted by Mindlab found that participants exposed to pop music completed data entry tasks 58% quicker than those who had no music at all. In terms of spell-checking, pop music has been described as the best genre for fastest overall performance, with an additional 14% decrease in error occurrence.

Nothing can speed up tasks than beats such as “Treasure” performed by Bruno Mars:

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Elizabeth Andal

Elizabeth is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips and lessons learned in life on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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