Do you ever sit down to complete work and feel like you’d rather be doing anything else?
Yeah me too.
But get this: The key to help us stop procrastinating might lie in the sounds we surround ourselves in.
Feel like knowing which sounds will get you pumping to complete your tasks?
I thought so.
So What Are The Best Sounds For Getting Stuff Done?
Because we all closet nerds at Zing Instruments, we had to research the best sounds for every type of activity.
1. Best Music for Studying
Most research actually states the best sounds for studying is silence! Music, no matter how much you love or hate it can actually interfere with serial recall skills. No matter what science says; some people just can’t sit in a room for hours without some beat to listen to. For these people, the best sounds for studying are those which match the tempo to the task. Anyone needing to recite facts, figures and dates need classical, chillout music such as Bach.
Studying requires a lot of recall which is why it is not recommended to listen to music with lyrics in. If you still wish to listen to your favorite song, try finding the instrumental version, sometimes these come out even better. This is my favourite to study to.
2. Best Music for Running
No matter what level of fitness you are or the distance you run, having the right playlist while out is essential! Music can make the difference between blasting that pace goal or coughing up your lungs on the side of the road. Finding the right tempo to match your pace is ideal and needed for the times your thighs ache but you need to get that extra mile.
The best music for running tends to be songs with fast beats or catchy tunes. If the song makes you bob your head and tap your feet, it’s probably a good song to run to. I particularly like fast tempo songs to get me into that sprinting mood, my recent favorite being Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling; a great one to give your step a little lift.
Stuck for ideas? Love to run? Simply search on Spotify or youtube for ‘runner’s playlist’. You will be inundated with great songs to run to.
3. Best Music for Concentration
You might be thinking this is the same as revising but concentration is a whole other ballgame. Concentrating on a task requires a different set of skills, a certain focus is needed that is different to pure remembering of facts and figures.One of the most interesting sounds for concentration comes from an unlikely source; video games!
The soundtracks for videogames are composed for specific purposes, to focus a gamer into completing certain tasks, actions and of course, big bosses. The majority of their sound is to relax, yet be focused in case other jobs or missions need to be completed. Therefore it is the perfect music to listen for concentration. There are hundreds of soundtracks out there of various tastes; you’re bound to find something you like. Here are a couple of my favorites.
This one is also a classic!
4. Best Music for Sleep
Getting to sleep can be a ridiculously frustrating task for millions of people. So many suffer from insomnia and other sleep deprivation effects; music, like alternative methods of relaxation such as yoga, can often be the solution to these problems.
You may have heard in popular culture of ‘nature sounds’, a collection of sounds from natural environments that are meant to soothe, calm and allow your body to relax enough to sleep. These can help and are big business as they can easily be bought on CDs or listened for free on youtube.
For something a little different, try this song by Macaroni Union. ‘Weightless’ topped the Scientific list in 2011 for relaxing pieces of music. It has been shown to potentially slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and decrease levels of cortisol. Give it a go!
5. Best Music for Driving
Ok, driving music is a bit of a personal deal as everyone has different tastes. Envision you, your car, the open road with the sun shining. What music would make you smile and scream the lyrics loudly? For some; it might be a bit of Bohemian Rhapsody, for others it’s My Brightside; me personally, I love a bit of Fleetwood Mac in the morning!Try this playlist to start off with, in time you’ll find your groove.
6. Best Music for Babies
Any new parents will know the struggle of getting a baby to sleep. It can be one of the most tiring and frustrating times you will ever experience. You try the rocking, you try the shushing, you even try praying the little one will finally nod off. Like countless others, I have tried singing to my little one with various levels of success. The best music I used was calm and soothing music without lyrics such as:
There is some evidence that ‘white noise’ is especially effective to calm babies down and help them sleep. Use this sparingly as a baby can become too used to this sound making it ineffective.
7. Best Music for the Gym/workout
Once again, this playlist can be very much like the running one. You need some upbeat songs to keep you going for your cardio workout. However, you should also have some calming tunes to lower the heart rate for weight lifting. Getting some music collected might be a bane if you have thousands of songs in your library. Try a few playlists to find one you like; try this site for a bit of inspiration.
8. Best Music for Writing
As I writer I need either one of two things when getting down to do some work; silence or a really good playlist. Silence is often the way I go as noise and lyrics can be extremely distracting. As mentioned earlier, work including any literary significance often calls for sounds without lyrics. Therefore, any music that takes your pick would suffice, just make sure it is instrumental only. My personal pick if I do need some sound is music from my favorite video game:
9. Best Music for Relaxation/Meditation
This can be a very similar playlist to getting to sleep. Relaxing and meditating is all about lowering your heart rate, lowering blood pressure and chilling out. Lots of people prefer the natural sounds effect for meditation; think of all those out there cross legged in a forest. Me personally, I like relaxing to songs with slow beats such as Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ or Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’. I could easily chill out on the sofa with songs such as these. This is one of my favorite relaxed songs:
10. Best Music for Genji
Here’s a random little gem for all those Overwatch players out there. Like a lot of video game players, I often need to get pumped up when getting into fps mode. You need music to sharpen the mind, get those reflexes ready for when the ultimate comes into play; gotta get those kills in. Fast paced, epic, loud music to get the heart beating is the best music to play with this character. The following is one of my favorite compilations:
Creating Your Own Playlist
I have mentioned quite a few times about playlists in this article. Quite a lot of people have probably never listened to a playlist before, let alone create one themselves. It's a simple task depending what medium you’re using. Spotify is one of the greatest tools to use as they have playlists already made up, ready for downloading to your phone or PC. You can find simple instructions to make your own playlist by a simple google search.
- Stage 1: Getting into the zone.
Where is your mind at? Are you feeling a bit sad, happy, need to cook, going to the gym? Figuring out your playlist is directly correlated to whatever zone you need to be in. No use listening to ‘Fields of Gold’ if you’re wrapping up Christmas presents.
- Rock is awesome for getting you pumped up ready to do something. I often listen to it while getting ready for a night out. Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters is often played at my house.
- Hip-Hop music is greatly influenced by rap and dance music, making it the perfect music to get a little crazy to. OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya’ is a great example of music to get a little energy out.
- Dance music can be anything really, the music to get you pumped up, the sound to get wild to or even the music to slow dance with your partner to. It is the sound you want it to be. For example:
- I love Indie music for its alternative beat and funky sound. I use this music often to relax at home, complete the house work or get some work done on the PC. ‘Creep’ is one of those songs which is instantly recognisable.
Metal music can either be really insane or quite calming. Use it to either pump you up considerably or to calm you down. Find the right tune for you; an example I often use to calm is ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by Metallica
- Stage 2: In the Zone
Ok, you’re ready to get into some proper work now, what music should you listen to?
- These tunes can be especially useful when needing that extra pick me up during coding, running or even getting the housework done. A great set to really focus that mind in immersive tasks.
- Simple sounds, calming music, need to relax for your task? This is the type of music I listen to when I need to knuckle down and write.
- Once again, video game music is amazing for deep focus and concentration. Once you’re in the mood to start work, try listening to this soundtrack (it’s a favorite)
What Can We Learn From All This? What Are Best Sounds For Getting Stuff Done?
Overall, there is a multitude of evidence for and against the use of music in different tasks. I say it doesn’t matter what the science says, it matters what you think and feel! If you’re anything like me, music can have a huge impact on your mood and how you go about tasks. Slow music can make me cry or relax. Fast beats can make me smile and dance.
Music is a wonderful tool that can affect anybody in various ways. Whatever task you are facing, find the right song to suit. It might take a little work and effort in order to find the right song, but in the end it will be worth it!
Try the few examples I have given here and let me know what you think!
Featured image by grinvalds
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.