A lot of us listen to music while we work, because we’ve been told that certain kinds of music block out distractions and help us focus. That’s true, but there’s much more to it than that.
Studies covering a wide range of professions found that music not only helps people focus at work, but it also improves their decision-making and mental clarity, especially if their tasks are repetitive or dull. Even tasks requiring more precision, like surgery, are improved by listening to music.
Creative jobs can benefit greatly from music, too; a study of software developers showed that they were not only happier, but also became better at their jobs and were more productive when they listened to the right music as they worked.
More specifically, ambient, instrumental music has been shown to be the best when you need to buckle down and concentrate, especially in more creative fields. To help you along, here are some of our recommendations for music to listen to at work.
First up, here’s jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, whose complex arrangements stimulate brain activity without overwhelming the listener.
Next, here’s DeVotchKa performing with the Colorado Symphony; classical music has been touted as a study aid for years, and the vocals will help you burn through mundane tasks. Listen to this when you have a lot of data entry to burn through.
A lot of graphic designers swear by electronic music, a genre which is constantly experimenting with minimalist and ambient sound techniques. The next time you’re trapped in Adobe, throw on some Crystal Castles.
Finally, if you need something bright and bubbly to lift your mood during a dreary workday, Color Theory is perfect for testing the idea that music can ease symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.