Playlists: The role of music in boosting work productivity

Music is a product of man’s limitless creativity, but does music itself help one be more inventive and productive?

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When it comes to accomplishing tasks, whether at home or at work, we do things differently. We have our own mechanisms to cope with various responsibilities and fulfill objectives. Some of us work more efficiently without needing for additional hand; others produce the best results through collaboration. But whatever the case, almost all of us have a universal productivity booster: music. A workplace without music is nearly unimaginable.

Whether it’s instrumental, hip hop, or contemporary R&B, the genre we are most comfortable listening to can inspire us to deliver quality output. The science behind this process is still unclear, but it does do wonders most of the time. In a study conducted in 1972, for example, researchers discovered that factory employees did their best work when they were allowed to listen to happy or upbeat music. Of course, how we use music as a productivity tool will largely depend on our preferences.

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Some of the top entrepreneurs in the world have somehow used music as catalyst for big ideas. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is particularly fond of Lady Gaga and Daft Punk; Steve Jobs once expressed passion for classic rock and folk music and how they inspired him to keep motivated in his endeavors; The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson enjoys a playlist comprised of Peter Gabriel and Mike Oldfield’s songs, all of which make him happy at work.

Music may be used in a variety of ways work-wise. Sometimes, its main role is purely to fill up boring silence or drown out distracting background noise; at other times, it helps people keep their creative juices flowing. And still in other occasions, music itself is the source of a specific output (for example, a writer might get the best words for his piece from a song’s lyrics). Music has a unique energy that helps us stay focused, enthused, and driven.