21 Ways Music Makes You More Productive at Work

Updated on by Gavin Whitner | There may be affiliate links on this page.

Listening to music has been an important part of our global culture for decades.

It’s been known to make us laugh, to make us cry and can make us feel just about any kind of emotion you care to name.

However, have you ever thought about how listening to music while you work can improve your motivation, focus and your overall levels of productivity?

It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to something new or one of your all-time favorite hits, music gets your brain and body moving and ready to achieve anything.

Here are 21 ways that music helps you do just that:

1. Getting You Through the Tough Times

Let’s face it, work is not all sunshine and rainbows, and there are going to be times when you’re stuck doing boring, repetitive and downright tedious tasks. What better way to smash through this workload than putting your headphones on to start enjoying yourself!

Motivation for a task stems from enjoying it so, even if the task itself isn’t the most exciting or simulating of tasks, music is a huge contributing factor that can turn that, and your mood, around.

2. Gets the Creative Juices Flowing

Everybody in the world has some degree of creativity, an essential aspect of human nature that’s vital when it comes to working productivity. Stuck for ideas on how to move forward in your next project? Crank up your favorite playlist to get those creative juices flowing.

Whether you’re at work or grinding away at a personal venture, music can bring inspiration to what you’re doing, helping you to form new ideas and concepts.

3. Builds Pace in Your Work

Turn up your dance, rock or workout playlist while you’re at work and you’ll instantly notice an increase in the pace of your workflow. This helps you get tasks done faster and more efficiently.

Of course, if you’re choosing music with an extremely high BPM, this can become somewhat distracting, but this can vary from person to person. Experiment with different genres (like blues and jazz) and find what works for you. Something with a steady beat is sure to help you pick up speed if you feel like you’re slacking.


There’s nothing more annoying than cracking on with an important report or piece of work, only to snap out of your focused frame of mind when a colleague comes to speak to you. Instead, music, especially if you’re wearing headphones, is a great way to drown them out, maximizing your levels of concentration.

Repetitive music works best here. If you’re focusing on something new with a lot of changing beats or varying vocals, this can become very distracting since your brain is always trying to process new information. However, something steady and calm is known to heighten your levels of focus.

5. Enjoy Some Background Noise

Hand in hand with the point above, it’s worth remembering that not all offices or workspaces are loud and in-your-face. Some are, in fact, eerily quiet, which can be just as off-putting when you’re trying to work. Music is a great way to break the silence and make you feel more alive.

6. Enhance Your Mood

Ever realized when your favorite song or artist starts playing on your Spotify stream, you find it hard to hide that inner smile? This is because Music is renowned for its ability to lift our moods, putting a smile on our faces and making whatever work we’re doing much more enjoyable.

Think about pretty much any situation in your life. Perhaps you’ve been driving to work, or even on a road trip. Maybe you’ve been sitting at home, cooking dinner or tidying your house. You’ll already know just how much more enjoyable something is when you’re dancing around listening to music. Just apply this same logic to every aspect of your life!

7. Move Your Dancing Feet

How many hours of the day do you sit in your office chair in the same position, only moving for lunch and a trip to the water cooler? Not only is this bad for your health, but it’s also incredibly boring.

Instead, choose something uplifting, and you won’t be able to resist moving your feet and getting active. Even if you’re tapping your feet while you’re sitting in your chair, this is far better for your health (and your daily calorie count) than sitting completely still while typing out that hundredth email of the day.

8. Minimize Distractions

Whether you’re working in a warehouse or an office, there are noises all around us which can distract us from what we’re trying to do. However, tuning into your favorite radio station is a great way to block out these external distractions, enabling you to maintain focus.

As we’ve mentioned above, big bass lines, a lot of changing beats and unique and constantly changing vocals may not be the best way to minimize distractions because there’s always something new to focus on. However, calm and repetitive music is a sure-fire way to cancel out any annoying background sounds.

9. Please Do Not Disturb

Of course, while you’re sat in your office, or any workplace for that matter, people will be coming by you, many of which will want to stop and chat, jeopardizing your productivity and focus.

Wearing headphones is an unwritten rule stating that you don’t want to be disturbed, allowing you to maintain your workflow while enjoying the very best tracks from the music world.

This is definitely more effective than putting a note on your door!

10. Increasing Connections with People

Although wearing your headphones is a sure-fire way to get people, namely your boss and your colleagues out of your hair for a while, it actually helps to make you a more sociable worker! That’s not a contradiction; once you pop off those headphones, you’ll be able to catch up on conversations because you’ll have a ton to talk about.

11. Getting into That Flow

If you’ve ever been at work and you’ve found that you have zoned out and you’re just getting on with what you’re doing, the chances are that music was involved. The right type of music can help you zone out and really dig into the task you’re trying to complete.

Experiment with different kinds of music to see what works well for you and then stick to it. The more you get to learn and memorize a set of songs, the more it will be associated with work and the more focused you’ll become every time you listen to it.

12. Repetitive Tasks, Repetitive Music

While studies show that fast-paced music may actually cause a distraction while you’re working, especially music over 128 beats per minute (BPM), calmer music like classical music improves your mood and efficiency while working.

Making sure these tunes are repetitive is also proven to help you zone out, since the music is the same, thereby dramatically increasing your levels of productivity. You can amplify these levels again by choosing songs with minimal lyrics!

13. Improving Your Memory with Music

While this may be an unknown fact to some, there are many studies out there that have proven that music can help to improve your memory functions. Of course, when it comes to working, memory has such an important part to play.

This is because when you listen to music, both the left and the right sides of your brain are at work, improving the process that creates and retains memories.

Perhaps this is why we can remember song lyrics from years ago over what we did last week?

14. Time Goes By... So Slowly

Ever find yourself at work, trying to nail your deadlines, but you can’t help looking and staring at the clock? This is one of the ultimate productivity killers, especially when you’re eager to get home. Instead, load up that funky 90’s playlist and watch the hours fly by!

15. Focus with Familiarity

If you’re working on a project or task which requires a lot of concentration and focus, you may be tempted to turn the music off altogether. However, if you’re working to music that you’re familiar with and can pay little attention to, this can be highly beneficial to your level of focus.

16. Numbers and Rock Music

One 1999 study found that playing rock music actually improved the rate in which the participants were able to identify numbers much faster and much more accurately.

So, if you’re bogged down in facts and figures, or work in accounting, it might be time to start breaking out the Queen CD’s when your deadline is approaching!

17. Back to Nature

A 2015 study discovered that ambient music, such as natural sounds like a flowing stream or waves of a beach, where a great way to improve productivity in office environments. This was because the music helped to create atmosphere and elevate moods.

Who’s borrowed my whale music CD again?!

18. Relieving Anxiety in the Workplace

Life is full of ups and downs, and the workplace is no exception. Rapidly approaching deadlines, water cooler rumors and running late for a meeting are all common examples of where anxiety can hit home.

However, music has been proven time and time again to reduce feelings of anxiety, allowing you to minimize the mental distractions and helping you to concentrate on what you’re doing.

19. Building Up Connections with Colleagues

While I’ve already mentioned that music can affect you on a social level in the workplace, i.e. blocking people out with your headphones, playing music through your speakers is another story.

If a colleague is walking past and you happen to like the same music, this can be a great talking point for the both of you. Over time, this is a great way to start conversations with new people and new connections with the people you work with.

You could even talk them about the benefits of working while listening to music!

20. Music Cures Boredom

Boredom is infamous for being the biggest killer of productivity. If you’re sat at your desk trying to complete a task, and you’re not enjoying it in the slightest, you’re going to get bored. This will always result in you becoming unfocused and looking for a way out.

However, with all the points listed above in mind, music can lift your mood and regain your attention. This is almost guaranteeing to make your work more interesting, therefore, making you more productive and motivated to get things done.

21. Video Game Music at Work

Finally, to round up our list of 21 ways that music can take our productivity levels through the roof is listening to video game music. Okay, yes, we don’t mean playing video games at work, although we all know the odd game of Minesweeper must be played at some points.

We mean listening to video game soundtracks. Let’s think about. Video games are designed to draw you in and take all your focus, and the music they composed for each game one of the main and most important elements to consider.

Whether you’re on Spotify or YouTube, finding the soundtrack to your favorite classic isn’t difficult, and when they are designed to be ambient, dramatic and to help you concentrate with what you’re doing, it goes without saying that these soundtracks are ideal for helping you cross things off your to-do list.

The Takeaway

As you can see, it’s obvious that music can do wonders for your productivity. Not only can we learn this from personal experience, but also through backed-up scientific studies.

Of course, this all depends on how you work as an individual, and the type of music you choose, but if you find you lack in areas of motivation and productivity, try working with music and you’ll see an instant improvement.

About Gavin Whitner

A guitar player, songwriter, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

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