You know how some days you are riding high on the productivity speed train, and other days it is all you can do to get yourself out of the station? Music may be the power you need to get you started and moving through the day. Productivity playlists, can be your answer to help get your day off at the right speed.
Music Impacts Mood And Performance
Music is known to improve concentration and productivity, not because it rewires the brain as was claimed in the now-debunked “Mozart Effect,” but because music can boost your mood. When your mood improves, you are more productive.
The most important aspect to remember when creating playlists is to recognize that the degree to which music will help, is defined by how much you enjoy it. Creating a productivity playlist is not successful by creating a bunch of playlists with your favorite tunes and press play. Different tasks benefit from different types of music, so you should have rotating, task-dependent playlists.
For example, if what your task requires you to focus, listening to your favorite songs will be counterproductive, because your brain will inadvertently listen to the lyrics. It is like passive multi-tasking.
“Music can change the world.” – Beethoven
Be Specific When Matching Your Playlist With Your Task.
Songs with words are excellent for less mentally demanding or repetitive tasks. However, if the job at hand requires problem-solving, creativity, or writing, downtempo music is a better bet. When creating your productivity, playlists keep the following in mind.
- For repetitive tasks, up-tempo or complex music is excellent (lyrics are fine here).
- If you need to concentrate, go with a more down-tempo or instrumental-only mix.
- Use nature sounds to help combat distractions from your tasks. You do not have to listen continually, just until you feel balanced again.
- In all cases, choose music/sounds that make you feel good. By stimulating your brain, you will associate working tasks with enjoying yourself.
If your tasks neither require too much focus or are overly repetitive and you’re just looking to keep yourself motivated, Merriam Saunders, a psychology professor at Dominican University suggests the best approach is to create a playlist of songs you enjoy but have heard so often you don’t need to concentrate on the lyrics or beat. “This would create background noise that increases dopamine but isn’t too distracting.”
How Music Affects The Brain
Listening to music is so enjoyable because doing so releases dopamine (the feel-good chemical) into the reward centers of your brain. Listening to music acts on your mind like eating your favorite food or getting out into the sunshine, mediating, or petting your dog – activities all known to release dopamine.
Productivity Playlists Power Mix
As we said earlier, the most important thing is to create mixes that resonate with you. These suggestions are a guide to get your creative DJ juices flowing as you anticipate the different tasks you will navigate through your day.
- Pure three-chord music – will help repetitive work go more quickly. Examples of that are: Neil Young – Love is a Rose, Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire, America – Horse with No Name, John Denver –Leaving on a Jet Plane
- Classical or Baroque music – is what you want to listen to when you need to concentrate. You have centuries of music to choose from there. Some popular favorites include Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerts, Handel’s Water Music Suite, Mozart, and Beethoven.
- Nature sounds – sometimes, you don’t want to listen to music, but you also do not want silence. Nature sounds are known to improve mood and cognitive abilities. This writer’s personal favorite is whale sounds, but again it is up to you. Rainfall, rustling leaves, chirping birds, flowing water, and ocean sounds can all be great choices.
- Power ballads/cinematic music – this is big music that rocks the stadium or theatre and gives you the feeling that you can do anything. Queen is a power band, so are Styx, Bon Jovi, Asia, and Aerosmith. Here is a power ballad playlist to start your collection. Another way to use music to help you power through the day is with sweeping cinematic soundtracks. Movies like Inception, Time Machine, Lord of the Rings, and Moon are an excellent place to start. Also, do not forget soundtracks from musicals.
- Video game soundtracks – are great for helping you feel like you can get through this game called life. According to Popular Science, “It’s a whole genre that simultaneously stimulate your senses, and blends into the background of your brain. It engages you, the player, in a task without distracting from it. The best music directs the listener to the task at hand.” A personal favorite around here is Legend of Zelda. You should also check out Final Fantasy 7, Halo and Skyrim.
- Instrumental music – is what you should listen to when you need to focus, or if your task requires a lot of brainpower.
“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with Music.” – George Eliot
Create A Morning Productivity Playlist
First thing in the morning, you might not be ready to jump directly onto the speed train of productivity right of the bat. Use the start of your playlist to get your day off slower, and then increase your tempo to mimic your productivity.
The iso principle is a technique to manage and alter a person’s mood. By using music, to mirror how you are currently feeling, and then construct a playlist to take you from there to the desired mood.
The idea is to start with slower songs, move on to getting into business tunes, and from there push into working at full capacity with totally in-the-zone tracks.
Be the Orchestra Leader Of Your Mood
Planning your productivity playlist can be a fun, motivating way to start your day. You can be the orchestra leader of your mood and productivity! According to the Heartfelt Harmony’s Mood and Music: how to make a playlist for mood management. “It’s important to note that this progression of songs and emotions is vital – listening exclusively to angry/sad/whatever emotion you’re experiencing songs may only serve to intensify and sustain the emotion instead of processing and moving through it.”
The point is not to try and alter your mood or level of productivity in a single song. Use the entire playlist by gradually, increasing the tempo until you are playing songs that make you flow.
Plan Your Productivity Playlists Around Your Days
You have a good idea of the sorts of things you do every day. Creating playlists to maximize productivity and creativity during each of those tasks is fun and motivating. Make them yourself or if you would like some off the shelf versions, check these out.
Are you looking for more ways to improve your productivity? An excellent source for more tips is, 6 Ways To Create A Positive Work At Home Environment.