As a wife and Mom, my life is always busy.
Add full time blogger and editorial writer to the mix, and there’s never a dull moment in the Kaillaby household.
Any given day, I can have a laundry list of things to do, and I always use a Spotify playlist to keep me company.
Whether I’m finishing up an article, scrubbing floors, or washing my daughter’s hair, music always helps me put my best foot forward and help make even the most boring and mundane tasks seem, dare I say, fun.
Here’s how I use music to help increase my productivity.
I Use Music to Keep Me Focused
Whenever I have trouble starting a task, either because I feel lost or my thoughts are all over the place, music helps anchor me to the Now and zero in on whatever I have to do at the moment.
In addition to helping me stay present, music helps me focus by drowning out excess noise.
When I put on an Apple playlist, I’m blocking out the noisy world around me, which helps me immerse myself in my duties and really get some work done. This is especially useful when you live on a main avenue in a major city where labor is constantly being performed every which way you turn at all hours of the day, and you have a job that requires elite mental clarity and peak concentration (i.e., being a writer). In New York City, noise pollution is everywhere, and hearing blaring sirens and people screaming at the top of their lungs (for some reason) can be unnerving and distracting. Not only does music shield me from the distraction of my city’s hustle and bustle, but it prevents me from being distracted by people, too.
The presence of others can definitely be distracting. When your speakers are blaring, you’re putting out a signal to the World that your current mood is “D.N.D.” Trust me, nothing shuts up a chatty coworker quite like turning up the volume on your Mac’s speakers. I remember working in an intimate office on the Upper West Side that literally thrived on gossip (as is the fate of most office jobs). Although I looked forward to my mid-day kiki’s with B when it was time to grab my print jobs, there’s no denying that it pulled me away from my work.
Plus, being distracted can cause you to make mistakes you otherwise could’ve avoided had you been giving your task your undivided attention (yay! no more mini panic attacks).
Focus is the creme de la creme of productivity; you won’t get work done without it. If you’re having trouble focusing, either because you’re feeling scatterbrained, there’s a lot of noise going on, or there are chatty people around you, try putting background music on.
Pro Tip: The best kinds of songs for focus are instrumentals. Lyrics can be disruptive.
My favorite genres for focus: Lo-fi, Trance, Retro Video Game Music
I Use Music To Help Me Relax
I’m always rushing because of my anxiousness, but over time I’ve learned that doing things faster doesn’t always translate to efficiency (work smarter, not harder). Whenever I’m doing a job that’s stressful, meticulous, or requires precision, a gentle, slow-paced melody is just what I need to put me at ease, slow down and take things one moment at a time.
According to unr.edu, slow-paced music can “quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management.”
Recently, I had to complete a trial shift for a company I applied to work for. For this trial, my job was to research and write two completed and error-free articles in a limited amount of time to be considered for a position. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and it’s a job I really want, so you could imagine the amount of pressure I must’ve felt.
Before I got started, I put on the “Peaceful Piano” playlist on Spotify, and it helped me set the mood. Instead of feeling stressed out, scared, and anxious, I was completely relaxed and at ease, and it made a world of difference in my work performance. I was able to spot errors, correct mistakes, breeze through my research process, and even have time to ask questions, which helped my submission out a lot. Instead of allowing the pressure to get to me, I used music to put myself in a calm, tranquil state. Thanks to my increased focus and mental clarity, I walked away knowing that I gave 100% and I was extremely confident in the outcome. All thanks to music for providing the perfect setting.
Pro Tip: Music is perfect for setting a tone/mood. That’s why whenever I have company, I have music on–it’s a great way to control the mood in an environment.
My favorite genres for relaxing: Classical, Jazz, Coffee Shop
I Use Music To Motivate Myself
Sometimes the reason we’re not performing at our best is that we’re not feeling motivated. If a task requires a lot of energy (like exercising) or it’s just boring A.F. (like filling out spreadsheets ), adding music to the mix will definitely help with that.
Here’s how it motivates me:
- Makes tasks enjoyable. An upbeat tune creates an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re having a good time making painful tasks seem fun 🙂 I hate doing dishes, but pair that with some Calvin Harris, and it’s a party!
- Provides words of affirmation. Sometimes a singer will give you all the words of encouragement you need to keep up the good work and get your light feet going. I swear by the statement that no genre’s lyrics are more motivating than Electronic Dance Music. Just put on Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” if you want to see what I’m talking about.
- Gets my heart pumping. Research suggests that music can literally increase your heart rate, which comes with mood-boosting effects like increased adrenaline. That definitely comes in handy if you’re doing something boring or that needs a lot of energy.
Good music makes the day seem brighter, makes your time pass quicker, and takes the sting out of drawn-out, dull duties. (Like doing laundry. Nothing makes getting up at 8am on a Saturday suck less than Coldplay)
My favorite genres for motivation: EDM, Hip-hop, Rock
A Few Things To Keep In Mind
Here are some helpful tips for customizing your productive playlists to get the exact results you’re looking for:
Tip # 1 Make sure your soundtrack pairs with the tone and energy you need
Do you need mood-boosting, high-energy music, or something chill that will help you destress?
Tip # 2: If you’re doing something that requires clarity, listen to music without lyrics
Your main priority is increasing productivity, so the music you listen to is really only background noise. If it’s preventing you from completing your work, it’s distracting, which defeats the purpose. As much as I love Megan the Stallion, twerking in my living room will not help me write these articles faster (no matter how fun it might be).
Tip # 3: Sometimes, you need silence
Take a break from noise once in a while. It helps sharpen the mind (completing tasks distraction-free helps with memorization and alertness)
Oh, Here’s a Playlist ❤
I customized a productivity playlist for anyone who needs help getting into work mode. This playlist is mostly chill, upbeat instrumentals which should really help with focusing.
It’s ever-growing, so like all of my Spotify playlists, I’ll add new music from time to time, but for now, I’ll start you off with these 15 songs.
I hope it helps 🙂
*What are some other methods you use to increase your productivity?
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