3 Ways Music Can Help You Focus and Improve Your Productivity

When I was in school I had the worst attention span.

I know a lot of kids have short attention spans but I struggled in school. I couldn’t concentrate for more than a few minutes. Throw this in with my dyslexia and my grades really sucked. This meant that I spent a lot of time doing after school classes. I even had to retake a whole year because my grades were so bad.

I was in school in the early 2000’s and at the time it was cool to be a ‘skater-boy’. This brought with it was a ton of rock music that I had to listen to if I wanted to be in with in with the popular kids. Rock bands like Blink 182, Sum 41, Simple Plan and later Fall Out Boy. I was hooked in no time. Not to mention for those that remember CD’s (I’m getting old). I had mountains of them.

What I realised was that my grades improved.  As soon as I stuck my headphones on I was in the zone. I found a way to block the world out and keep my mind focused. As a matter of fact, while I write this article I am listening to the exact same bands on Spotify. 17 years later.

So how did music improve my focus and increase my productivity?

#1 It improved my mood

There are studies that suggest it isn’t the background sound itself that improves your mood. Rather the sound of your favourite music. This is what really gets you motivated. It might be because you associate good times with your favourite music. It was this uplift in mood that helped me power through difficult tasks and motivated me to keep going.

Watchouts: In spite of this you shouldn’t overuse music as your source of motivation. I found that after a few hours of listening to music my attention started to wane (and it hurt my ears). I found my sweet spot was about 2 hours. So don’t over-do it

Resources I like: If you are struggling to find the right type of music. Then have a read of this article. It covers the different types of music and how they can help you focus better. Why not try listening to video game music, classical music or nature sounds?

#2 It blocked out distractions

There is always someone or something that wants your attention. If you work in an office then you have your co-workers, mobile-phones and emails. Likewise, if you are trying to get stuff done at home you have your family, friends and pets.

Distractions are in fact one of the biggest causes of wasted time. They can result in 40% of wasted productivity. You might think taking that call while working on an important project is harmless. Yet how long does it take you to get back into focus? 5 minutes 15 minutes? It soon adds up.

Music helps me zone out of the world and there isn’t much that will grab my attention.

Watchouts: There is one thing you have to watch out for when choosing your music. Don’t choose something that will distract you. I started listening to Spotify playlists that had the latest hits on them. I found myself listening to the lyrics and thinking about the music and not focusing on the task at hand.

#3 It helped me build positive habits

You can easily create a positive habit with music. I found that the more I listened to music when trying to get my important work done. The quicker I could switch into a productive state. I had trained my mind to understand it was time to focus. The second my headphones went on I was ready.

Tweet: Music helps you focus on your goals and forget everything else!

— Tom Harris

Get started today

It’s easy to get started right away.  Follow these steps and start improving your productivity.

  1. Subscribe to Spotify or buy music on Itunes.
  2. Set up a playlist and make sure it is something that won’t distract you. I listen to music I know well as I don’t get lost in the words. I know them off the top of my head so I don’t get distracted by the lyrics.
  3. If lyrics distract you, why not try songs without them. I download the music from my favourite movies (this is why I like Spotify so much as I can mix it up).
  4. Get yourself a good set of headphones. I personally use these Sony headphones. They are low cost and have served me well over the years. 
  5. Set your playlist to repeat and you’re good to go!

That brings us to the end of this article.

Thank you for reading. It’s now time to start achieving more by using music.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the following question in the comments section.

Question: What music gets you motivated?

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