Does Music at Work Help You Be More Productive?

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 26 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Krzmarzick 10 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #142029

    Paul Homan

    I don’t know about you, but I need to have some kind of beat to help me function. I take my iPod to the gym, watch reruns of Parks and Recreation or Modern Family when I am cleaning, and at work I have my customized Pandora station (one part Adele, one part Pink, one part Alanis, one part Cher).

    For me it is necessary for me to function to have some sort of noise in the background. But am I in the majority or the minority?

  • #142097

    My life is a never-ending soundtrack! Try to have music on most of the time.

  • #142095

    Terrence Hill

    I thought I was the only one who needs music to work effectively. I think it may be a righ brain-left brain thing, but that is reason #89 that I like to telework. I can listen to Pandora (or iHeartRadio) on my personal computer. At work, I listen to my iTouch, but music is essential!

  • #142093

    Scott Horvath

    Yes, I need music to help me work. In fact, right now I’m listening to Can’t Stop Won’t Stop ( (player at the bottom of the page). PS…not endorsement here either…this post is my own opinion.

  • #142091

    Steve Ressler

    Is Can’t Stop Won’t Stop an all P Diddy channel?

  • #142089

    Carol Davison

    You all are wearing headphones so as not to inflict your “music” on your cube neighbor, right?

  • #142087

    Ashley Fuchs

    Yes! I also use customized pandora stations although I prefer non-lyric music. Like a nice modern solo piano or some awesome string quartet.

  • #142085

    Mark Hammer

    I’m a partial musician so music can sometimes help, but is all too often more interesting than the work, or at least interesting enough to distract rather than focus.

    I’m partial to a site called “Sugarmegs” which hosts/archives thousands of concerts that contributors have recorded over the years, and uploaded. Some are clandestine bootlegs, some are “straight out of the board”, and others may be things like radio broadcast concerts. Coverage is from the 60’s until yesterday (gotta love a 1966 show by The Doors, playing at a Connecticut high school, prefaced by the principal announcing that they have some very special guests and she wants the students to be on their best behaviour!). The quality varies from bad AM radio-reception quality to fairly standard MP3 player quality. As concerts, the files are continuous, but the nice thing is that 50 meg of content can cover most of an entire working day.

    The site has something for nearly everyone. As you’d expect, the various “jam bands” who encourage fans to record and share are very well represented. The site was founded by Deadheads, so there’s plenty of that, but it has wads of jazz, bluegrass, and other forms. It also has plenty of shows that you desperately wanted to attend, but couldn’t, either because you had something doing that night, or because you were unfortunately required by your parents to be in bed by 8PM during that grade.

    If I need something to help me focus and block out all the sound from the neighbouring cubicles, a nice 2hr Tangerine Dream concert from the 80’s or Medeski, Martin, and Wood works wonders. Anything with vocals I find too distracting.

    And yes, Carol, headphones it is!

  • #142083

    Chris IRS Recruiter

    I could not get through the day without my ipod!

  • #142081

    DonnaJo Dembinski

    My brain tries to listen to the words, so instrumental music is great, or in a non-latin based language is fine, but I’d rather not have anything else. My favorites? Irish pipe and drum, Acoustic/classical/Spanish guitar, Bluegrass, Bach, Debusey, and other Classic composers.

  • #142079

    Julie Chase

    Most of my co workers like country music. I can take it small doses. I am a classic rock 1968-1974 girl. Great bands, great music. I have a radio, “old school”, yeah I know, however, the station I like is loaded with static because of the building where I work. Long before the gov computers where locked, I listened to a classic rock station through my computer. Uncle Sam said it was taking up too much bandwidth and we had to stop. I have a small Ipod, but it doesn’t have many songs on it. I don’t think my co workers would appreciate listening to side 2 of Led Zeppelin IV or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of Moon. <G>

  • #142077

    Scott Horvath

    LOL. Not quite, but close! πŸ™‚

  • #142075

    Scott Horvath

    Nope, no headphones. Fortunately, I have my own office, but even still I don’t turn it up that loud. I do, however, typically skip the songs that have more objectionable lyrics in them. Been meaning to create a playlist of SFW songs so I don’t have to worry about skipping.

  • #142073

    Allison Primack

    I definitely like having music in the office! It creates a fun atmosphere πŸ™‚

  • #142071

    Amanda Rhea

    I’m like Mark H. If I have music on at work I’ll listen to the music instead of working. I like music in the background for manual labor at home like housecleaning or gardening, but when I have to use my brain, I can’t have music on — I like it too much!

  • #142069

    Terri Jones

    I have to have noise in general, which is odd. I think that my college dorm experience trained me to work with noise and I am just continuing the experience despite my advancing age! One of the greatest things about iTunes is the idea that I just turn it on and I have 30 days of music before I repeat…. πŸ™‚

  • #142067

    Paul Homan

    30 days – That is amazing! I don’t think I have that much music on my iPod

  • #142065

    Terri Jones

    Really, I just completed a project of loading all my CDs into iTunes and then using smart playlists to organize them by a few different ways. Thank goodness for smart playlists!

  • #142063

    Mark Newell

    Classical is “instrumental” to my productivity (sorry, couldn’t help it). I reality, I need some type of music or even talk radio to drownd out the external noise. I don’t really listen to the music, but somehow the background hels me concentrate – not just a Gen-X thing. However, I can’t work with a TV on.

  • #142061

    Sometimes when I get really PO’ed by some aspect of work it sooths my nerves to listen to specific playlists. I have one for move you butt a deadline is coming and one for calm yourself. However coworkers are annoyed at times when they walk into my office and I don’t hear them talking to me because my ear buds are in. I figure they’re lucky I’m not singing along….

  • #142059

    Paul Homan

    LOL! This is awesome! I like it when my co-workers start randomly singing along to my music.

  • #142057

    Mark Hammer

    There’s a Montreal comedy troup called The Vestibules that used to have a bit fashioned on those old TV ads we used to see (and probably still do on infomercials after 1AM) for “greatest hits” compilations. Except theirs was an ad spot for “Greatest hits…as heard through someone else’s earphones”.

    You get:



    but wait! there’s more!

    You also get: ffffft-fffft-fffft-fffft-fffft- fft-fft-fft

    and who could forget?: KKKcccchhhh……KKKccccchhhhh……tsss-tssss

    You get the idea. Great to keep your music “private”, but sometimes it’s a little less private than some think!

  • #142055

    Trust me fffft-ffft-ffft kkkccchhh….tssss is still better than my busting out in song…which by the way I have been caught doing – thank goodness they gave me an office with a door.

  • #142053

    Mark Hammer


    And did you ever notice that people who sing along with their headphones are rarely as pitch-correct as they seem to think they are?

  • #142051

    Kevin Dubs

    I actually feel distracted by music. Distractions are great sometimes when I’m doing tedious things that don’t require much mental energy like running, getting ready in the morning, doing laundry, etc. When it comes time to focus at work though, I don’t feel as productive while listening to music.

    Does anyone else get this?

  • #142049

    Mark Hammer

    Headphones can certainly be a convenience and boon for those of us who find they CAN identify background music that will assist focus on some kinds of tasks, and do not wish to disturb others.

    But then there is the other side of the coin…

    I have a cubicle, and my back is turned to the entrance to the cubicle. I leave the doorway wide open at all times. If I can’t hear you, you can easily sneak up on me. Now, I have yet to snort out my coffee all over my keyboard, or turn and reflexively karate chop anyone who startles me, but there has been more than one occasion when I was “headphoned in” and someone could not attract my attention without tapping me on the shoulder, elicitting more than a mere twitch from yours truly.

  • #142047

    Jay Johnson

    I think so, but don’t really have any data to back that up. Anyway, it makes work more enjoyable and that has to count for something.

  • #142045

    Darin Tambascio

    I have headphones on 90% of my work day! If I need to read or write, I prefer instrumental music. Usually I go with some jazz, electronic, soundtrack or post-rock for those times.

  • #142043

    Jeff S

    Yes, music in the background seems to help concentrate on my work much better than total silence or even the normal office noise

  • #142041

    Steve Ressler

    I am with you. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop! Music is the soundtrack of my life. #letsgo

  • #142039

    Robert Martin

    Yes, must have tunes. If I am writing a letter, report or other documentation I switch to Pink Floyd and instrumental. Otherwise I’m writing code, evaluating visuals and working in SharePoint. So when I’m not composing I listen to a wide range of music on my Rhapsody account.

    Oh, and I wear headphones because without them, there is just too much chatter around my cube.

  • #142037

    Denise Petet

    I find silence oppressive. It can make the whole work area atmosphere all secretive and whispery.

    Generally, I do need background noise. And the kind of music can help with the mood. Fun songs can make things more upbeat because if you smile as you listen to it, you’re more likely to smile in general.

    There are times to turn it down and allow yourself to concentrate, but other times music lightens the mood and atmosphere.

  • #142035


    Oh, I constantly have music on at work; it helps me concentrate. I either listen to my iPod, or play Pandora on my cellphone. I have second chargers for them that I keep at the office, in fact, due to these rather power-draining habits. πŸ˜‰

  • #142033

    William Eubanks

    My music may be a bit different, and frankly all over the map, but I need jams to jam out some spreadsheets.

  • #142031

    Heather Richtfort

    I’ve always functioned better with music in the background. The type of music depends on my mood. Sometimes Tchaikovsky or Mozart, sometimes the Beatles, KT Tunstall, Johnny Cash, etc. Right now it’s Paul Simon on my iPod – I have a small docking station / speaker set, and just keep the volume down low.

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