Background Music’s Affect on Productivity
Background Music’s Affect on Productivity

Background Music’s Affect on Productivity

Should you listen to music while you study for your behavioral health licensure exam?

Do you listen to background music when you study for your psychology, social work, counseling, or MFT licensure exam? It could be affecting your productivity.

Music affects our mood which can affect productivity. It may be calming or energizing, which can make us feel an array of emotions, the result of anything from lyrical content to musical composition.

There have been few studies on the link between background music and productivity and the conclusions are essentially inconclusive due to a wide scope of results. However, knowing that music affects emotions and emotions affect productivity, we can look at how to use background music to our advantage when attempting productivity.

Kimberly Sena Moore, Ph.D., in her article Music and Productivity: 5 Ideas for Using Music To Boost Performance, explores ways to use music to boost productivity based on what we know about how music affects our brain: “Anecdotally, many people use background music when they work. And from what we know about how music impacts brain and behavior function, there are certain things to keep in mind about the music you choose that may make it a more successful experience for you.”

We know that music affects mood. Lyrics combined with tempo and a major or minor key can impact the emotion we experience. So how can we utilize background music and its effect on mood to our advantage?

Moore gives five tips to use music to our advantage and we’ve summarized them.

  • Avoid music with words. Listening to lyrics can be as distracting as someone talking while studying. It ignites language centers in your brain that compete with any language “tasks” involved in your study session.
  • Note that silence can also be a way to ignite productivity. Moore points out that “music is made up of two things: sounds and silence.” Perhaps background music has traditionally affected your ability to focus, in which case you may try working in complete silence or with the white noise of a fan or white noise machine as your background “music.”
  • Positivity increases productivity, so listen to music that you enjoy. Remember that music impacts mood so choose something uplifting to affect your mood, and therefore your productivity, positively.
  • Moore believes musical tempo can make a difference. If you work better in a calming environment, try a slower tempo. If you need to be energized, listen to something more fast-paced.
  • Finally, keep your brain focused by taking breaks from what you’re listening to. Changing pace will keep your brain from getting too accustomed to a certain tune and losing focus.

Taking the above tips into consideration the next time you study might help you take advantage of music’s effect on the brain.

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