Music is always on repeat around us, whether we realize it or not: we hum a melody while folding laundry, sing along to the top hits on the radio, and belt out the lyrics of our favourite songs while we shower. From a string of ambient sounds to a familiar jazz tempo, listening to music while tackling mundane but necessary tasks can increase our focus and productivity.
Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in music therapy at the University of Miami, found in a recent study that Information Technology specialists who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly; music improved their moods.
Experts from neuroscientists and researchers to writers and investors have widely shared how music, and what type of music, has helped them perfect their craft. Here’s what they listen to when they need to get in the zone:
Jazz, Piano Concertos While Writing Deadlines
Writer Jonathan Curiel has listened to Montgomery’s Impressions recording for up to an hour straight while he wrote articles. For Curiel such music helped with his flow of words, concentration, and energy levels, which is a knowledgeable tool given how easily writer’s block can come. He’s written about the topic, and said, “on repeat, the right songs (like Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You) can also slow me to a meditative state.”
Try this playlist:
Rap & Hip Hop For Startup World Motivation
It’s no secret that American Investor and Entrepreneur Ben Horowitz likes hip hop. He got hooked on rap when he was a teenager; the music brought his friend out of a dark place and taught him to enjoy life again. Hip hop lyrics peruse everything Horowitz writes including his book, The Hard Things About Hard Things. Recently he created a playlist of his all-time favourite hip hop songs for Fortune Magazine ranging from Notorious B.I.G. to Kanye and Nas.
Similarly, for OrangeQC Co-founder Abi Noda rap has been a main motivation to stay in the startup game and work hard. He listens to the lyrics of famous rap artists like Jay Z, Lil Wayne, and Big Sean who have gone from rags to riches, and have shown what success can look like if you work hard, stay dedicated and tenacious. Noda has shared an entrepreneurial rap playlist.
Try this playlist:
Radio Station Streams & Video Game Soundtracks For Long Haul Projects
Unlike the rest, there are a few people who prefer to have music on for long stretches of time.
For American Lawyer and Insurance Broker Andrew Enders, the background sounds of a local radio station helped him and an office-mate bond. They only switched off the radio when speaking with a client. For Enders, because of the intensity of his work, like reviewing insurance policies, music offered a way to explore an artistic side that balanced him as an individual against the work he does.
Content Marketing Strategist Gregory Ciotti says he once wrote nearly 11,000 words about customer loyalty while listening to the SimCity 2000 soundtrack. He created a guide to listening by genres while you’re working.
Or, try this playlist:
Guitar Sessions For Mundane Tasks
Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine at the Mayo Clinic says it takes just 15 to 30 minutes of listening to music to regain concentration in our work. He also adds that music without lyrics usually works best.
That’s where Daniel Levitin, a cognitive neuroscientist and the author of This is Your Brain on Music has found music helpful. He prefers to listen to music for 10-15 minutes before he begins work to start concentrating on the tasks ahead. Otherwise, he listens to Pandora’s classical guitar station while he’s doing what would be a dull task to him like accounting.
Try this playlist: