The Perfect Playlist and Productivity

I don’t know about you, but for me, music can make the most mundane activity fun. With the right beats and songs, I can get in the zone to accomplish any task from writing this post to cleaning my kitchen to getting ready to go to work.

The Research

Countless studies cite how music can increase the productivity. The New York Times cites Dr. Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Stood states that not only does listening to music release dopamine, but it also keeps our minds from wandering (Padnani, 2012). Listening to music can also block out distracting noises like a printer, people walking by, or even a noisy eater. This gives people the ability to focus. Fast Company states, “Despite the somewhat variable effects of music on the individual, one thing is definitely clear: A noisy workplace can end up halting productivity in its tracks” (Ciotti, 2014).

Photo Cred: Spotify

Photo Cred: Spotify

A study done by Dr. Thersea Lesiuk (who is cited in both the NYT and Fast Company articles) found that participants choosing what  they music they listen to was also an important factor in productivity (Padnani, 2012). Ambient sounds tend to work best as music with lyrics you are too familiar with may be distracting. I certainly want to break out into song sometimes. However, songs you already know can help you focus. “With familiar music, you know what lies ahead and thus the sound doesn’t become your primary focus” (Ciotti, 2014). Many people choose the route of listening to classical music.

THE TUNES

Personally, I prefer music I already know. If you’ve ever ridden in my car, my radio is tuned to Pop2k or Y2Kountry. Though sometimes, I like to switch it up. There are a lot of places to get music from but here are my top choices.

  1. Your personal music library
  2. Pandora
  3. iTunes radio
  4. SpotifyThe Skimm recently came out with their own Spotify channel.
  5. XMRadio

Some of these are free, some have free/subscription services, and some are a monthly fee. I prefer option number one. I have created some great playlists to listen to. My favorite at the moment to work to are a playlist or men singing love songs and one of music- mostly by women that makes me feel powerful. (Disclaimer: There may be a lot of T.Swift on that one.) The latter playlist is great for cleaning, getting ready, or working out. The serenades playlist is a little slower and is better for writing and other work related tasks.

Photo Cred: The Vile

Photo Cred: The Vile

What type of music do you like to listen to while completing a task? Comment you go to songs/playlist below or let me know on Twitter.


Ciotti, G. ( 2014, July 11). How Music Affects Your Productivity. Fast Company.

Padnani, A. (2012, August 11). The Power of Music, Tapped in a Cubicle. The New York Times.

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