Science has proven many times over that listening to music while you work can improve your focus and enhance your creativity.
In fact, music encourages the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward center, which can trigger enjoyment similar to eating a delicacy, according to a Mayo Clinic expert in this New York Times article. The article also states that music can keep your thoughts focused on the present moment and encourage you to think in new ways.
The expert in this article says music without lyrics works best, and other studies back that up—one study went so far as to single out a particular minuet by Mozart as boosting productivity particularly well. Other studies suggest that the genre of music is less important than choosing something you’re unfamiliar with, and even other information, like these facts on the Coffeeitivity website, indicate creativity can be enhanced with simply “a moderate level of ambient noise.”
But in practice, of course, it all really comes down to preference.
Personally, I love to listen to classical string music to pull myself into a deep focus for big projects. Other times, I need some Black Sabbath to pull me out of a funk and back on track. Usually around 2 p.m. on those days that just. won’t. end. Sometimes having anything in my ears is just too much going on in my head and I crave silence.
And on occasion I have been known to take the ridiculous step of using Coffeeitifity to block out the voices around me with other, coffee-shop white-noise voices. I don’t know what to tell you other than that it works.
What do you listen to while you work? What makes a good song for focus and creativity?