Life seems to be without effort when I am filled with music.

As working from home becomes more and more normal, procrastinating employees have to find new ways to get into the work groove. Far from drinking another cup of coffee, making another sandwich, or sticking another episode of that Netflix you’ve been binging on for the past week, scientists say that music could be the answer to making you more productive.

What is productivity?

Productivity is the amount of output you, something, or somebody else achieves against the amount of time it takes for them to achieve it. It is the ability to create something to a high standard, at a quick pace.

As a copywriter, I consider myself productive if I manage to write one blog post per day; I’d measure myself as unproductive if it took me a week to write one article. Your productivity depends on the industry you work in and the job you do. Still, the same simple formula can be used by anybody to gauge how efficacious their working week has been so they can improve it week-on-week.

Output per week (units) ➗ Time spent working (hours) = Productivity per hour.
18 deals closed 40 hours = 0.45 deals per hour.

You might feel like you’re working at full whack, but you’re probably not. Ultimately the success of a business is built upon the small things that add up; how many finger taps on a keyboard and words are spoken down a telephone. The more of these things you do correctly, the more money you make. Marginal gains matter, and it’s down to you to find out where you can make them.

Does listening to music help me work?

One way that I stay on track is to bump tunes whilst I’m at work. No matter the medium, through headphones, a speaker, or live, I find that music is powerful; it has a way of permeating empty space with substance. When we listen to music, our brains release dopamine; the same hormone that it releases when we eat our favourite food. We love it.

88% of employees produce better, more accurate work when listening to music.
[Source: WebFX]

As a result, depending on which song we are listening to, music has the power to make us smile, cry, and laugh; it reduces anxiety and stress; improves memory; and increases motivation, it can even improve our immune functions and lessen any physical pain we feel. Would you believe me if I told you that some overexuberant, expectant mothers pump Mozart’s music directly towards their uterus? Apparently, the great composer’s music has been said to make children smarter.

But we’re not so sure about that last one. Still, the truth is that music can make us happy… and a happy worker is a productive worker.

77% of small business owners believe that music at work increases employee morale.
[Source: WebFX]

What’s the best music to listen to for productivity?

The beautiful thing about music is that it is completely subjective; one man’s Rolling Stones is another man’s Justin Beiber. I once fell out with a friend because she said One Direction were a modern day The Beatles... I haven’t spoken to her since. The music you listen to whilst you work obviously depends on your musical taste, but it can also depend on the work that you are doing.

Scientists say that repetitive tasks such as data entry or anything else boring should be done to more up-tempo or complex music. On the other hand, creative tasks should be done to more simple tunes, those which are more down-tempo and with less lyrics or lyrics you don’t understand.

Music that motivates us also depends on our mood. The ISO Principle is a strategy used in music therapy to relieve stress by matching music to a patient’s mood. So, when dreaming up your next productivity playlist, it’s important to think about how your day goes. When you’re a little bit sleepy and groggy in the morning, you need something to soothe your tired mind. On the other hand, when it starts to feel like you’re running through treacle to get to the finish line at the end of the day, you need to bump something upbeat, with a high BPM that’ll get you going.

If all else fails and you feel like you’re getting distracted by music, try listening to nature sounds -- it’s a bit weird at first but it soon fades into the background. Overall, if something makes you feel good, listen to it. There are no rules to music, so it might take a few trial and errors before you find the right tune for you.

Conclusion [+playlist]

Humans are creatures of habit. As you work from home, the lines between personal and professional become blurred and it’s difficult to separate your you thoughts from your business-you thoughts. It’s important to have a desk or somewhere that’s dedicated just for working so your brain knows that it’s time for work. Music works in the same way, if you play the same working playlist every day to get into a routine, the personal professional lines become much clearer.

We’ve put together a Spotify playlist of smooth grooves, background beats, ones you probably know, and pumping pick-me-ups to get you through the working day. We’ll update it regularly, so don’t forget to follow the playlist!

So when your manager tells you to take your headphones out... just tell them that NetHunt said it’s okay.

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