Several studies have shown that listening to music dramatically improves focus, no matter what you’re doing. An article posted on Pick The Brain entitled Focus Better by Listening to Music briefly notes that listening to classical music takes away idle activity from the area of your brain that isn’t focusing on the task at hand, increasing performance. And we get another article describing developmental learning and listening on Hub Pages called Listen to Music – It Can Save the Brain and Make It Grow that addresses how music and language interrelate- going deeper to describe how children develop and the importance that music has on them. Both very nice articles to read- I suggest you check them out.
Here are 9 reasons why music helps you focus:
- It occupies the distracted part of the brain. When you’re focusing on one specific task, it is easy to become distracted because usually you are using only one part of your brain to work on it- leaving the other parts unoccupied and prone to drifting off taking the rest of your brain with it. When you listen to music, however, you unconsciously count the beats and absorb the melody. This is by no means extracting valuable information from the song- but rather keeping the latent brain busy. Note: this doesn’t work as well with songs that have lyrics because you’ll want to listen to what is being said.
- It gets you in the mood. Music has the ability to change our mood, so why not use it to our advantage when the time to work comes? Compiling a list of some great ‘work’ music will dramatically increase your productivity. I personally suggest songs that come from film scores (where the scene depicts someone working) because you already have that association in your head. If you’re not sure where to look try Abdullah Ibrahim or The Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
- It makes work more enjoyable. If you have to do something that’s boring or unenjoyable, you can use music to spice it up. Some good tunes going through your head can totally change your attitude (much like reason 2), but also make work more interesting if you’re listening to some engaging music. Best when used combination with reason 4.
- It serves as a dynamic timer. Setting times to take breaks can increase your productivity greatly. If the average song length is 4 minutes, you can take a break every 6 songs if you use the promodoro system. While the precise length will vary- the slight flexibility of times keeps you from getting bored of counting down seconds until your next break.
Here’s another great article on productivity while listening to music: Can Listening to Music Boost Your Productivity?
Do you have any additional reasons why music helps you focus? Leave a comment!