Not long after I started at HubSpot, I was greeted with a new pair of orange noise-canceling headphones. At the time, I had no idea that these headphones would get me through many long work days and some of the deepest, darkest levels of writer’s block. Over three years later, they are truly the gift that continues to give. You see, for me, listening to music while I work is the secret to my productivity. All it takes is the right track from Beyoncé, and I go from idle to super productive. (Seriously, it works wonders.) The problem is, finding the perfect playlist isn’t always easy. With endless music streaming possibilities at my fingertips, it can be difficult to find the right tunes to get the wheels turning. So, I did what we do best around here: do some research.
It turns out that there are a ton of studies exploring the influence of specific types of music in relation to your productivity levels. To help you find the perfect match, we’ve sourced and curated seven Spotify playlists designed with specific studies in mind. Whether you love Mozart or Chance The Rapper, we are sure there is something on this list that will work. Note: Some of the playlists contain tracks with explicit language that may not be suitable for the office.
7 Science-Backed Office Music Playlists for Productivity
1. Classical music
One of the most cited studies related to music and productivity is the “Mozart effect,“which concluded that listening to Mozart for even a short period each day can increase” abstract reasoning ability. “The study, led by researchers Gordon Shaw, Frances Rauscher, and Katherine Ky, employed 36 Cal-Irvine students who They divided into three groups. Group one listened to a selection by Mozart, while group two listened to a relaxation tape and group three endured 10 minutes of silence. After the listening activity, all 36 students were given the same test, in which the Mozart group obtained an average of eight to nine points of increase in their IQ, compared to the remaining groups. Since then, the “Mozart effect” has been much disputedBut many researchers have explored the mental benefits of learning and listening to classical music. A recent study, for example, found that elementary school-age children who participated in music composition education outperformed students in a control group in reading comprehension. Do you think classical music could work for you? Take a look at this classic-influenced playlist to find out for yourself:
2. Video game soundtracks
“Choosing the right video game soundtrack to work with is about understanding what kind of music motivates you and what distracts you when you need to focus,” says HubSpot VP of Procurement (and former video game marketing consultant) Emmy jonassen. “For example, if you’re the type who gets excited and focused when listening to high-energy music, rhythm game soundtracks, such as Thumper or Klang, might work well. On the contrary, if you need calm to focus, the Serene soundtracks from Exploration Games like ABZÛ and Journey can work. With thousands of games released each year, including many indie titles, there is a soundtrack to suit everyone’s ears, “he continued to explain. Think about it: playing a video game requires a lot of concentration. To get to the next level, players often have to avoid traps, dodge obstacles, and discover secret tools to help them advance to the next level. As a result, the The selection of music for video games is usually very strategic.as modern soundtracks tend to reflect inspiring and epic film scores rather than just basic sound effects. And while studies have revealed mixed results, there is evidence to support that gamers can experience improved performance when playing a game with the volume turned on. For example, when psychology professor Siu-Lan Tan and her colleagues John Baxa and Matt Spackman specifically focused on the game “Twilight Princess (Legend of Zelda),” they discovered that participants who played with music and sound effects turned off fared worse than those who played with him. Do you want to try it on for the size? Check out the playlist below:
3. Sounds of nature
According to psychophysical data and sound field analysis published in The Journal of the Acoustic Society of AmericaListening to “natural” sounds may improve cognitive functioning, optimize your ability to concentrate, and increase your level of satisfaction. Think: crashing waves, singing birds, trickling streams, and the like. That could explain why there are more consumer-oriented brands, from Google home page to the new Noisli – are introducing ambient sound features to help listeners relax or focus. It could also be behind Spotify’s multiple nature-themed playlists, like this relaxing one:
4. Pump songs
After observing that many athletes arrive at the stadium wearing hearing aids, Kellogg School of Management professor Derek Rucker and three of his colleagues, Loran Nordgren, Li Huang and Adam Galinsky, set out to answer the question: Hear the right kind? does music make us feel more powerful or in control? So, in 2014, the group of researchers established a study to assess how music can influence motivation and subsequent behavior. First, they played various songs for the participants in a lab and asked them, on a scale of one to seven, how powerful, dominant, and determined they felt after listening to each song. There were three “high power” winners: Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” Then, to measure how the music would influence their behavior, they asked the participants to listen to the music and then determine whether or not they would like to go first or second in a debate. As it turned out, those who listened to the high-powered playlist volunteered to go first with almost twice as often as those who listened to a less powerful playlist. The lesson? “Just as professional athletes can put on empowering music before going out onto the field to put them in a powerful frame of mind,” Rucker explained, “you could try [this] in certain situations where you want to feel empowered. “The next time you want to feel empowered before a big presentation, interview, or salary review, check out this summary: Want more? Check out selections from my colleague Amanda Zantal-Wiener here.
5. Instrumental songs
In 2015, Middle Tennessee State University researchers Carol A. Smith and Larry W. Morris discovered that students who listened to “sedative” music during a test scored higher than those who listened to lyrical music. (That kind of contrasts his initial findings 39 years earlier, which showed that while music did not reveal an impact on test scores, those who listened to “uplifting music” showed a significant increase in worry and highly emotional reactions). That is not to say that it is completely impossible to cross things off your list while listening to songs with lyrics; I actually prefer lyrical music, but my colleague, Amanda Zantal-Wiener, has joked that hip hop verses accidentally slip into their early drafts when listening to songs with lyrics. If you’re like her and find the lyrics too distracting, you may want to experiment with some instrumental options. For those times, take a look at these melodies without lyrics; We promise they won’t make you sleep:
6. “Feel Good” songs
Buried in installments? Trying to dig yourself out of a mountain of email after some time off? Regardless of what bothers you, sometimes the best remedy for lost productivity is a solid dose of “feel good” tunes, you know, the kind that make you spontaneously use a pen as a pantomime microphone. But scientifically speaking, music can stimulate the same part of the brain as delicious food and other physical pleasures. Researchers in McGill UniversityFor example, he found that when participants were given naltrexone, a drug that blocks opioid production, they did not respond as positively to their favorite songs as they normally would. The verdict? Our brains are trained to naturally produce these chemicals when we listen to our favorite playlist. And while the “feel good” songs vary from person to person, a search for Spotify playlists using those same keywords produces dozens of results. With that said, here is one of our favorites: Can’t get enough? Here are some more suggestions from my colleague Amanda.
7. White noise
According to a study Led by Yamaguchi University, “When doing intellectual activities that involve arithmetic or memory tasks, it is a common experience that noise causes a greater psychological impression of ‘annoyance’, leading to a decrease in performance.” Whether you’re telecommuting with roommates or working in an office space with noisy colleagues, it can be difficult to focus on the conversations going on around you. Neutral, non-verbal background sounds such as white noise, which is not the same as nature sounds, can help block out these distractions, such as the din of a restaurant or mall, an electric fan, or even laundry machines. . And in case you were wondering, yes. Like all of the above, there is a playlist for that – so go ahead, focus, train, feel good, and enjoy. What are your favorite songs to work with? Let us know in the comments. Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and completeness.