It’s Monday morning, the rain is coming down and you’re sitting at your home office desk wondering where you’ll find the energy to get started.
We’ve all been there and the secret to getting out of this kind of funk may be close at hand, just pop your favorite tunes on and feel the energy flowing into you.
Seriously, using music as a sonic backdrop when you’re working from home can have real benefits to your work.
And once you’ve read our guide, it’ll be easy for you to choose the best music for working from home.
Why Listen To Music When Working From Home?
There are some proven distinct benefits to listening to music while you work from home including:
It can make you more efficient. Research at the University of Miami found that people who listen to music while they work tend to finish that work faster than people who aren’t listening to music. They also contributed better ideas to the business.
It can improve your mood. Working from home can be a bit lonely at times, music is like having some simulated company. And a meta-analysis of music studies found listening to music lowers stress (see our guide on how to avoid burnout if you’re too stressed) and reduces feelings of anxiety.
But What Is The Best Music For Working From Home To?
You, probably, won’t be shocked to learn that the answer here is “it depends”. In fact, it depends on the kind of tasks you’re going to do:
- Dull, repetitive tasks. According to Daniel Levitin, the neuroscientist, boring, repetitive tasks are best done to upbeat and complex music such as pop songs. The music helps improve your motivation, which helps to get the job done.
- Complicated tasks. Conversely, when you’re trying to figure out that end-of-year spreadsheet, it’s time to ditch the pop and opt for something simpler. Ideally, an instrumental track that’s not overly complicated, this helps to calm you down and keep you focused.
- When you need a focus boost. Classical music has been shown, repeatedly, in studies to improve the ability to concentrate. The researchers concluded this is because it doesn’t distract you from the task but does help get rid of any intimidating silence around you.
- When you need to chill out. Low-fi, or “low fidelity,” is the most popular modern form of music to help relax you. It’s all about laid back, quiet beats and jazzy and hip-hop style undertones, and it’s ideal for working, on stressful tasks, to.
- When the stress is simply too much. Now, it’s time to skip the music altogether. Research shows that the best way to handle overwhelming stress may be to simply listen to the sounds of nature. You may not be able to afford to take a nice relaxing stroll in the forest but by bringing the sounds of the forest to your work, it can have a similar (though not as strong) effect.
- Getting into a state of flow. We’ve got some great productivity tips for home workers here, but the maximum state of productivity is known as “flow”. It’s the moment when everything simply fades into the background except for the task in hand. The idea was coined by Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi (trying saying that fast three times after drinking) and his book Flow is an excellent guide to this. However, from a musical perspective playing a single track on a continuous loop has been demonstrated to help find a state of flow.
- When you need mental stimulation. The folks at Brain.fm claim to have discovered the secret of music that helps your mind expand. It’s a paid for service but you can take a free 3-day trial which may help you discover whether it works for you or not.
You might not have thought that music would be conducive to working and we should stress that for some people it isn’t.
But for the vast majority of people, there are real benefits to listening to music while working from home and it’s super easy to find out if you’re one of them.