The most depressing day of the year is almost upon us. January 21st is named Blue Monday because of a combination of poor weather, the time since Christmas, debt catching up with us, failed New Year’s resolutions and low motivation levels.
However, there may be a way to get through the day without succumbing to the doom and gloom. Apparently, listening to music can increase productivity. But not all music is the same, and not all times are right for utilising music as your productivity tool.
Why is music helpful?
Music helps to focus your mind on the task at hand, depending on the situation. It also helps to put you in a better mood. When you’re engaged in a repetitive task, your favourite playlist can help to lift your mood. Another benefit of listening to music is how it helps you to get in a more creative mindset.
There is some connection between the brain’s function and the playing of music, and when it’s utilised correctly, it works amazingly well.
When is music helpful?
Not all situations are ideal for listening to music. When you’re creating or working on something that requires a lot of concentration and creative effort, music can hinder the process because it splits your focus.
On the other end of the spectrum, music is helpful when you’re occupied with repetitive activities. When you have a clear objective and a set plan for accomplishing that, music can increase your productivity and your enjoyment of the activity.
Another situation where music is helpful is when your environment is noisy. Whether you think you’re tuned into it or not, this kind of background noise—people talking, other’s music playing, etc.—can be highly distracting. Your brain tries to analyse all of this new data, which is very difficult and splits your attention. Pop in the headphones and listen to some music, and you’ll find your productivity going up.
What kind of music is helpful?
New music isn’t going to be your best option. With new music, it is easy to get distracted, because you’re hearing it for the first time. Your body releases chemicals related to this, which causes the music to be more appealing to listen to than the task you’re supposed to be doing.
So when you’re working, choose music you’re familiar with. But another parameter would be lyrics. Sometimes, songs with lyrics aren’t the most helpful. When you’re working on those tasks that require more focus, the lyrics can be distracting. Just as if someone were talking to you while you were trying to write an important email. In cases like these, classical music or music with low-tones like jazz, indie, and bluegrass are better options.
Movie or video game scores or soundtracks can also be good options to listen to. They’re generally devoid of lyrics and are meant to amplify the experience and focus the listener on what is happening on the screen, not the music.
Prep your playlist now
Ahead of Blue Monday, plan your tasks and prepare a playlist that will suit workload that day. Remember to choose your tunes carefully and bring your headphones. Nothing is more distracting at the office than hearing someone else’s music playing. You never know – you could turn Blue Monday into Positive Monday instead!