Music at Work: How it Can Benefit Productivity & Focus

One of my greatest allies at my work has been music. As a constant companion, music is always there for me and has contributed endlessly to the work I do.

Whenever I need to concentrate, I put on my earphones and turn to my favorite playlist. It immediately helps me focus on what I am doing. Other times, there are things I don’t want to work on because they are tedious or complicated, and I would prefer to put them off and do something else. I fight the urge to avoid or procrastinate by putting in my earphones, and music gives me the energy I need to work on those challenging tasks.

More importantly, music makes my day more enjoyable. I have often found myself pausing from my project and just enjoying the particular bit of music that is currently playing. I’ve discovered that time and work are more fluid with music. It’s so easy now to listen to just about anything, and music can become an additional tool in your work toolkit.

[Photo: Kui Ye Chen/Unsplash]

[Photo: Kui Ye Chen/Unsplash]

Why I Love Listening to Music at Work

Without fail, when I need to concentrate, my mind decides it is the best moment to become active in something else and hijack my process of productivity. A million thoughts will cross my mind about “urgent” things I need to check, like my Instagram feed or the news. I get very easily distracted, and I have found that music helps to focus my mind on the task I need to accomplish.

Many times, there are tasks I am procrastinating on merely because they require a significant effort. Nevertheless, those projects need to get done and usually immediately. I will select upbeat music, and it provides me with the energy and motivation I have been craving. It is still often hard to stay focused, but the tunes help me get over the inertia and start working.

Music even makes my work more enjoyable. The time goes by quicker, and I typically feel like I am getting so much accomplished, so it has become part of my routine. There are specific tasks I do on a weekly or monthly basis that, for me, are inextricably related to music. It’s become part of my formula, and I look forward to doing it.

[Photo: Mark Cruz/Unsplash]

[Photo: Mark Cruz/Unsplash]

How I Combine Music with Work

The app I use for listening to music is Spotify, and it has completely transformed my work ethic. I no longer have to (poorly) curate my lists, and the platform allows me to listen to anything I could imagine. I explore for types of music that I might like and that I have never listened to before. More importantly, I discover music that will help me accomplish my work.

I listen to different types of music depending on my mood or what I need to achieve. Some examples are:

  1. Setting up my blog: When I am uploading my blog posts and making sure the text and layout are perfect, I listen to classical music. I find that I don’t get distracted if the music is purely instrumental, and it can also be quite uplifting.

  2. Writing: I always write my blog posts early in the morning. At this time is when I can concentrate the most and listening to beautiful piano pieces helps me move fluidly through my writing. These pieces also have no lyrics, which can get me sidetracked when I am writing. Even though I learned to improve without music, ever since I added the piano to my mornings, my writing process is much smoother.

  3. Difficult tasks: When I need to get through something I don’t want to do, I need percussion to help me march along. I look for anything that is upbeat – pop, Latin, or anything that will push me through the obstacles. The music that helps me along always has lyrics, which don’t distract me here. Usually, when I am settled into the work, I will switch to something that helps me maintain that found focus.

  4. Regular tasks: When I’m going through my to-do list, I listen to music I enjoy, which changes based on my mood. This combination helps me go through my to-do list more quickly and with more satisfaction.

[Photo: Spencer Imbrock/Unsplash]

[Photo: Spencer Imbrock/Unsplash]

Through trial and error, I have learned what works best for me. For instance, I tried an instrumental playlist and then an ambient music playlist for writing, and neither worked. I eventually settled on the piano playlist, which so far is working beautifully.

Music can be a wonderful friend when work is complicated or merely dull. It can also add a level of fun to otherwise monotonous tasks. I highly recommend including it in your chest of tools at work.

What is your favorite playlist? Which types of tasks do you like to combine with music?


Pamela Ayuso is an author and the co-founder and CEO of Celaque. She is a real estate entrepreneur and developer who has executive leadership experience in two of the most successful real estate developers in Honduras — managing operations at Alianza and leading Celaque. Celaque develops office and residential buildings and manages a broad portfolio of properties. Pamela’s focus is on growing Celaque into a model for the 21st-century company.

In addition to her role as CEO at Celaque, Pamela is the author of Amazon best-selling book, Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century. She offers practical business and personal development insights for other entrepreneurs and business leaders on her blog and LinkedIn. Her husband and her three wonderful daughters inspired the story of her first children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural.       

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