If you’re looking for reasons to play your favourite tunes on repeat, then you’re in the right place. Many of us wait to listen (and sing along loudly) to our list of sometimes-embarrassing songs in the privacy of our own cars. But according to science it’s OK to indulge in a little Bieber. In fact, it’s more than OK.
Studies have found listening to music we really like can increase productivity, especially in the workplace. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin explained to Business Insider “listening to tunes you enjoy can put you in a better mood and relax you”.
“Your brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which gives you a warm feeling of pleasure. You may also get a hit of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which elevates your mood and can make it easier to focus,” he said.
Doctor Teresa Lesiuk examined “the effect of listening to music on work performance” in a 2005 study. She discovered employees’ moods improved after listening to their favourite songs, and they were more “energised” and “alert” which boosted their work performance.
“This synchrony with the music assists in pacing their work tasks and, further, pacing their work day. When music was removed there was more time spent on tasks than intended,” the study said.
Well, that’s enough to convince us to press play on Swift’s 1989 album for the fiftieth time and stop pretending we only listen to Triple J. But here are a few more reasons to help you convince your boss to let you keep your headphones in.
Making boring tasks more enjoyable
Repetitive tasks aren’t fun. Staring at the screen for hours equals boredom, which can lead to procrastination. Not to worry, music can help here too.
You’ve probably used this technique in everyday life already. Turning up your workout playlist when you’re exercising or putting on upbeat tunes to find the motivation to do chores. It works exactly the same way at work.
According to Dr Levitin “when you’re performing tasks that are repetitive or monotonous … it’s easy to get bored. Music can keep you alert and help you pay more attention to your work”.
Escaping, not creating, distractions
Some say listening to music is distracting in itself but there’s proof it can actually reduce distractions. Yes, when you’re using headphones there’s less background noise and people are more likely to leave you alone but it also gives you a sense of control over your working environment.
Unfortunately research also suggests it can become distracting if you start singing along, so maybe avoid that, and save your workmates the pain. The same research says music without lyrics is best, but where’s the fun in that?
The key to the creative zone
Dr Levitin believes listening to music can unlock creativity by helping employees get into a state of mind where thoughts and ideas can flow more naturally.
“Music is one of the most exquisitely effective ways of allowing you to enter the mind-wandering mode,” he said.
“It’s in this mode where almost all of our creativity happens, and where we’re able to come up with innovative solutions to problems.”