Office Space - Milton Waddams - Listening to Music at Work

We’ve already established why life is a song, but what about when you actually need to get something done? Whether you work at home as a freelancer or go to an office each day, there are several strategies that you can consider to try and be more productive. One of these strategies is listening to music.

On many days, my iPod is firmly attached to my ears, but I seem to have a paradoxical relationship with the concept of listening to music while working. On the one hand, I find that listening to music with lyrics can distract from my writing ability. It’s hard to string together a coherent article when I’m bobbing my head to German rock music.

On the other hand, my productivity seems to come to screeching halt if I attempt to work in absolute silence. Like Rebecca Bollwitt (Miss604), I need the distraction. I need the music playing in the background or the television on in the other room. Strangely, it is only with artificial interactions like these that I seem to improve my mindset and production level. Actual people having actual conversations tend to interrupt the creative process. This is why I still bring my iPod with me if I choose to work at a coffee shop for an afternoon.

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about music as if it were one large cohesive entity. Listening to 80s music (which seems to work for Gary Jones) is distinctly different than rocking out to unplugged alternative music all day (which seems to work for Stephen Fung). Through Twitter, I even learned that some people “work the best with NPR” (national public radio)!

Like our friend Milton Waddams above, I have a heavy preference for having music playing in the background when I work. Some songs are more distracting than others, but I’d much prefer to have those tunes than to sit in complete silence. Really, who wants to be alone with their thoughts? That’s one scary proposition.

In the end, I feel that the best music for improving productivity is the music that you enjoy the best. Whether it be illScarlett, Michael Jackson, or anything in between is purely a matter of personal preference. “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.” This way, you don’t have to choose between success and happiness. You can have both.