This week I wanted to chat with you all about music as it is one of the things that I cannot work/live without. I always have Spotify playing some obscure new artists or random German industrial (just ask my staff – they think it’s weird). Music is important to me as it has been one of the things that helped me throughout my life. The right song has the potential to make my day better or motivate me to take on new challenges. I wanted to take a little bit of time to chat about music.
Music is capable of many medical feats; Collingwood (2016) concisely lists that music has contributed to the relief of depression in elderly persons, reduce the likelihood of burnout in nursing students, and general reduction of stress and proliferation of positive sensations. If music can influence your health can it also help in other areas? According to research conducted by Teresa Lesiuk the answer is yes. Lesiuk’s (2005) study noted that the mood and quality of work was lowest with the group that did not have music. It may come as a surprise, but the group in Lesiuk’s (2005) study that had access to no music also spent the most time on task; they worked more and achieved a poorer result.
Not all music is created equal though. Music with lyrics can, in some cases, produce less productivity (Shih, Huang, & Chiang, 2012). According to an old instructor listening to music without lyrics could motivate the brain, but those with lyrics would prove more distracting due to the brain automatically focusing on recognizing and understanding the words. I partially believe this logic… although I currently listening to vocal trance music to write this post. Sorry professor!
What does this all mean?
Why did I bother writing this post, especially since there is no music attached to it? Well, I want there to be people who read this post and then go and build a “tomorrow’s my deadline playlist” (for future projects, of course). While you are writing that end of semester report, know that it is okay to use the below playlist of epic music to increase your productivity. Playing music in your office is not unprofessional or unwelcoming. In my own many cases, it has helped students realized there was a person in the mysteriously ajar office. In one case, several students and I jammed to an artist I had just discovered.
Music is inextricably tied to ever changing concepts such as work environment or professionalism. There are work environments that have not updated their expectations for a changing world that is more critical of why they must adapt to companies instead of companies adapting to the talent they have recruited. Too often organizations tacitly or actively believe that persons must adapt to the organizational standards rather. You must dress this way, you must act this way, you must never appear to be unprofessional by the standards in this 59-page document you signed that showed that you read the rules and regulations. The enforcement of policies is not consistent and in some cases, presents itself on discriminatory lines.
What does this all mean? It means that I support altering work environments. I support those who can wear jeans and still retain the powers of doing their job. I support music because the evidence shows that it works to make not just employees, but people, better.
I have been a part of work environments that actively discourage music, singing, and demand you only work on those tasks to which you are assigned. They were soul-crushingly boring and my work suffered because I was unable to focus on such a tedious task for too long. I would arrive at 8:00 and leave by 5:00 only to feel miserable about my day. Eventually I began to become less and less engaged with my work and more engaged with doing homework, writing papers, and other academic work instead of the task at hand.
I do not want to be that person again. I do not want to waste my time as a professional or the time of my organization and for me to do this I need work environments to change with the times. I am not suggesting every organization mimic Google or other multi-billion dollar companies. It can be as simple as allowing Pandora, Spotify, or other music streaming to be installed on office computers. Are you truly dedicated to retaining your employees as well as maximizing their potential? Take an extra step and offer premium accounts because the worst possibility is that an ad for your competitor plays.
Take a chance. Listen to the anti-procrastination playlist I was introduced to a long time ago by a friend.
Anti-Procrastination Playlist: https://8tracks.com/kimtsan/the-ultimate-anti-procrastination-mix
Collingwood, J. (2016). The Power of Music To Reduce Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/
Lesiuk, T. (2005). The effect of music listening on work performance. Psychology of Music, 33(2), 173-191. Retrieved on October 23, 2017, from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0305735605050650
Shih, Y., Huang, R., & Chiang, H. (2012). Background music: Effects on attention performance. Work, 42(4), 573-578. doi:10.3233/WOR-2012-1410