Whether or not remote work was an operational priority for businesses, the setup has become essential for the survival of most companies these days. After all, social distancing and quarantining are among the proven techniques for curbing pandemics and outbreaks.
Now, if you want to keep your momentum flowing and maintain your productivity, you need to create a sustainable and functional home office environment. You may think this is easy, but it can be challenging if you’re not used to having your work desk a few steps from your bed. If you think you can submit your output from your couch and in the darkness while relying on takeout food for sustenance, then good for you. Best of luck on keeping this up for the next weeks or, uhm, months.
Seriously though, what gets you going when working from home? Is it setting up an office next to the window or in the patio? Is it working from the garden, surrounded by beautiful flowers and refreshing air? For most people, it’s listening to music.
The Link Between Music and Productivity
Music has been shown to engage the part of brain involved with cognition, emotion, and motivation. That explains why music is highly effective in healing therapies. The therapeutic effects of music can also be applied by remote workers.
Several studies continue to show a correlation between music and productivity at work. While this might not apply to everyone, listening to good working music is said to be one of the most effective ways you can boost your productivity. Because your bed and refrigerator are just a few feet away from your desk, you can easily get distracted. So, whether your productivity playlist comprises relaxing music with birds chirping or peaceful instrumentals, music can motivate and help you stay focused.
Plus, if you’re not used to a quiet environment, music can fill the void, make you feel alive, and induce a productive vibe.
Now, you must be wondering what to listen to while working from home. Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the science-proven work-from-home music to get you into the zone and keep you focused.
1. Soundtrack from Video Games
Do you always wonder why the hours quickly pass by when you’re playing video games? Well, several elements have a role in keeping you engrossed. However, anyone will agree that the soundtrack is crucial in pumping you through quests and adventures. So, we recommend that you try listening to music from video games while working from home. Who knows…you might finally give your tasks the same effort you exert on building houses on The Sims.
Now, you might ask, “What is the best music for productivity?” Well, it is important that you determine the type of music that motivates you. If you need to stay calm and focused, we recommend listening to soundtracks from exploration games like Journey. Music from The Sims may also work for you. If you want music that will get you amped, listen to fairly fast-paced soundtracks from video games like The Last of Us and World of Warcraft.
2. Classical Music
Have you heard of the ‘Mozart Effect’? No, it doesn’t mean wasting your true potential by dying poor and drunk! In reality, the Mozart Effect is related to a study conducted by researchers Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Katherine Ky. The study concluded that their test subjects who listened to Mozart increased their IQs by an average of eight to nine points.
Over the years, the Mozart Effect has been debated by people. However, more and more researchers explore the idea, studying how it can benefit learning and productivity. So, it wouldn’t hurt if you tried to listen to classical music as well. After all, it has been known to provide relaxing and calming effects.
3. Sounds from Nature
Waking up to the sound of chirping birds and the gushing river is a dream most of us would want to relive again and again. Unfortunately, we’re not some rich tech billionaire who can take a vacation on a whim because they found inspiration from their sandwich.
Well, if you want to increase your productivity and get a creative boost, nature sounds are considered among the best music for remote working. According to a study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, employees have a more positive outlook when there is ambient sound from nature playing in the background. Consequently, they can get more work done. This is also the reason why brands like Google Home and Noisli introduce nature sounds to consumers to help them relax or focus.
Some of the inspiring nature sounds include:
- Rustling leaves
- Flowing water
- Fire crackling
- Ocean waves
- River sound
4. Happy Songs
Do you find yourself randomly shouting in the void because of deadlines and mountains of emails? Of course, it can be challenging to focus on your work when you’re not feeling good about it. So, whatever’s bugging you, get a dose of dopamine by listening to happy tunes. Give it a try, and you might end up using your pen as a microphone instead of trying to gouge your eyes out.
You know that feeling of something lighting up in your brain or something warming your heart when you eat delicious food. Well, you can get that too with good working music. After all, listening to feel-good songs can stimulate the same part of the brain that activates pleasure.
If you’ve not included happy songs in your productivity playlist, then you’re missing out on some good vibes to keep your spirits up.
5. Instrumental Music
While your favorite songs may get you amped for work, they can be distracting sometimes. Can you imagine getting through an Eminem song without rapping a verse or two? So, it is important to learn how to find good music for remote working—particularly those that will keep you focused instead of distracting you.
Larry W. Morris and Carol A. Smith from Middle Tennessee State University conducted research related to this. They divided students into two groups. While taking a test, the first group listened to ‘sedative’ music. Meanwhile, the second group listened to lyrical music. The researchers discovered that the first group scored higher than the second group.
Of course, this should not discourage you from listening to lyrical music. Some people can work efficiently with it. Just make sure that you don’t unknowingly spill ‘mom’s spaghetti’ somewhere in your weekly reports. Meanwhile, if you find music with lyrics all too distracting, we suggest that you try experimenting with instrumental options.
6. Songs Between 50 to 80 Beats per Minute
Now, if you can’t help but listen to lyrical music, choose songs with the ideal tempo. Studies show that music with 50 to 80 beats per minute can help you stay focused and productive. Such songs can foster learning and creativity.
It’s worth noting that Spotify worked with cognitive behavioral therapists like Dr. Emma Gray. The company researched on how certain types of music can benefit the listeners. Dr. Gray found that when a person listens to songs within the 50- to 80-beat range, they are switching the alpha mode in their brain on. So, it pays to try listening to the playlists curated by Spotify.
If you find your brain in a heightened state of alert to the point that you’re getting stressed out, it’s likely that your mind is in the beta state. You need to slow your brain to a more relaxed, alpha state to make it more open and receptive. If your job requires making artistic decisions, then songs with 50 to 80 beats per minute may induce imagination and intuition.
There are several Spotify playlists that feature songs and music under this category. Some of the popular titles in this list include Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors, Adele’s Chasing Pavements, and Bruno Mars’s The Lazy Song.
7. White Noise
Some people prefer working in a quiet environment, but others find silent rooms quickly getting stuffy. A good percentage of employees like hearing white noises like chattering, dinging, buzzing, and wind rustling. Who would blame them? Working from home can be isolating if you don’t hear the regular ambient sounds from the outside world.
Our brains filter sounds like a plane engine’s hum or the indistinct chattering of passers-by as ambient noise. In most cases, people do not even notice these sounds. In reality, white noise can make other sounds less distracting.
If you’re working in a crowded house or you’re in a café, you can easily drown the noise by listening to white noise. There are plenty of audio materials out there. Aside from white noise that will help you focus, you will also find sounds that can help settle restless pets and soothe babies.
8. Film Scores
What’s great about film scores is they can make you feel a range of emotions. Of course, we’re going for something that will inspire you to power through your tasks. In this case, we recommend listening to intense or epic cinematic music.
Something grandiose playing in the background will make the most boring tasks seem like an exhilarating bank heist. If you want to feel like you are saving the world from gigantic aliens, then try listening to powerful, orchestral film scores. You’ll quickly heighten your concentration and productivity.
Cinematic music can empower you and uplift your spirits. If you start feeling drained and tired, get that extra boost of inspiration by listening to the soundtrack from movies like Inception, Cloud Atlas, Lawrence of Arabia, The Bourne Identity, or The Social Network.
Indeed, listening to music while working from home can give you the motivation you need to power through your tasks. However, you still need to acknowledge that it can only do so much to help you become more productive. If you’re not careful, you may end up wasting time on choosing music for your playlist.
In this case, you’ll need a time tracking app that will help you determine how much work you’re getting done. If you want to maximize your work hours, we recommend that you use a task and time monitoring program like Traqq. You can use the tool to analyze which apps and websites you spend so much time on.
Moreover, the program will monitor your activity levels throughout the day with desktop screenshots. This way, you will know the specific times of the day wherein you’re working slower than usual. So, aside from listening to some of the best music for remote working, give yourself a productivity push with Traqq.