You may have heard about playlists for road trips, but what about playlists for productivity? Whether your productivity was stunted because of a shift in workflow during the pandemic or you’ve always seemed to have trouble with concentration, you may be familiar with the idea that music can boost your productivity. However, Beethoven and the Star Wars soundtrack don’t provide the same kind of inspiration for everyone.
Instead of picking up your friend’s “Productivity Playlist” on their favorite streaming service, take the time to find a soundtrack or album that inspires you and helps put you in a state of “flow.” Flow is considered a state of hyper-focus on a task, giving you a boost of productivity. Some people work better with their favorite artist in the background – others can’t focus if there are words in the song. It’s all about finding what’s best for you. For more information on boosting productivity and improving mental health, please click here.
One of the first genres most people try to work or study with is classical music. With no words, soft undertones, and minimal distractions, it can be easy to fall into a lull during your projects. However, some people find this to be more harmful than helpful for this workflow. Similar to how soft classical music can be a great tool for insomniacs, an energetic orchestra can have a distracting or overwhelming effect on those in an office.
While it may initially be difficult for you to find that sweet spot in between sleepy and energetic, many streaming services have an interesting feature to provide some assistance. For certain apps, you can look for similar songs and artists from that selection.
Video Game Music
The video game industry doesn’t just hire and train sound designers to come up with catchy and entertaining background music. For many games, the music helps to not only set the tone of the level, but can influence a person’s playstyle, reactions, and even mental stimulation. This is why “boss music” is considered anxiety-inducing for some players but motivational for others.
It’s a good idea to start with a soundtrack you’re familiar with – something that puts you “in the zone.” If the boss music makes you more stressed than inspired, switch to one of the idle tracks. Similar to researching the right classical album to listen to, you can browse related artists to find more albums that fit your groove.
Movie scores are comparable to both video game soundtracks and classical albums. In many cases, it can be considered a combination of the two – orchestras and bands creating an immersive environment for the audience.
What makes movie soundtracks particularly special is that most of the time, they perfectly straddle the line between influencing your attention and emotion without distracting you from the dialogue in the scene. For this reason, many people find them to be the best middle ground for getting into their flow state.
As you look for music to increase your productivity, one important aspect to pay attention to is the song’s beats per minute (BPM). For example, songs with 120 BPM and higher, like Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, are great motivation for your morning run; meanwhile, songs with 60 BPM, like The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens, will most likely help you get to sleep. If you find yourself focusing better with the help of high-intensity songs, like maybe music from a dramatic fight scene, take a look at the BPM. Songs with a similar BPM may help motivate you in a similar way.
You don’t have to limit yourself to the basics, either. If ambient sounds like waves or rain help you study while podcasts make you feel more comfortable working from home, switch up your playlists! Each track on an album has a different purpose to convey to the listener, so it makes sense that different activities are motivated by different songs. Find what works best for you, even if that means the same song on repeat for 3 hours.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.