How To Use Music To Do Better Work

Playing Piano
Photo by elCarito on Unsplash

We all enjoy music. For just about every occasion. Showering in the morning. Driving on the way to work. Driving on the way home from work. Perhaps during the workout in the morning or at lunch or in the evening. Maybe sitting outside on the patio watching the traffic go by.

My first job was mowing my parents’ lawn when I was a kid. I would pull out the mower and start pushing. But I almost always had my headphones on. They weren’t sound cancelling. I don’t think that existed back then. But they were those large ear muff type things with a radio. And I loved them.

My first job outside of that was working on the grounds crew at a golf course. And one of my daily jobs was emptying the trash cans on the tee boxes and adjusting the tee markers for the day. I worked alone for those couple hours and usually brought my headphones with so I could listen to the radio while working.

One thing I learned, though, on that job was that you don’t want to listen to music to the point of distraction. It was great as background noise. Something that kind of helped you work at 5:00 AM. But as I started listening to the DJs tell stories and things I would get distracted.

Later on I drove forklift for a summer while in college. I would listen to music. It was usually fine, but occasionally I’d miss a call on the radio from the boss.

And later on in office life I would listen to music. It was mostly fine, but occasionally I’d lose focus while writing something like an email.

Here are a couple thoughts on how music can help while you’re working.

1. Repetitive Work

Lots of people seem to like music while working out. They’re focusing on what they’re doing. The music isn’t really the main focus. But something upbeat can usually help get your brain going and your body moving to a certain rhythm. I did a spinning class for several years and obviously there was music. The better the playlist the better the workout, or so it seemed.

That’s a good focus to have with work I’ve found. When you’re doing something repetitive, music can help. When you’re doing something, like writing a blog post, music can be a detriment. It can distract your focus. I can’t imagine that many authors have written books while listen to music.

2. Find The Rhythm

Athletes seem to listen to certain music before a game or a match or an event. The music doesn’t seem to usually be all out as far as rhythm. And it actually seems that many athletes prefer medium tempo music. Something almost meditative. They seem to be getting their minds ready for competition. For focus.

When it comes to work, the right rhythm is key. It will depend on your work. And even the task. But music can help. Maybe getting a team ready in the morning to head out for jobs around town. Getting them pumped up a bit to get their day started off right.

3. Not Everybody Wants Music

Sometimes music just isn’t what we want to start the day. Or to help boost our moods during work. For some people it’s just better to have all the focus on the job at hand. It’s good to recognize these folks and to give them their space in terms of music.

The final thought here is that music can help some folks to perform better at work while others just prefer to keep things silent. And that can be key too. Some jobs require all five senses, including sound.

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