I am enthralled by all sorts of music though little did I know how much music for productivity would super-charge my professional career. As a young buck, I vividly remember the first time I heard Jimi Hendrix pump out of a Koss stereo my father bought me at Sam’s Club in seventh grade. The funking, throbbing guitar chords that churned out of the basement sale special speakers embraced by the cost-effective sound engineers at Koss just froze me. I had no idea sounds could do that to a person.
I am eternally grateful that my parents had such excellent and varied taste in music. Even to this day, my father burns playlists of epically long CDs that will blend the sounds of Jimi, Dean Martin, The Platters, Marilyn Manson, The Doors, The Beatles, Nigel Kennedy, The Gotan Project, Edith Piaf, Dick Dale, Itzak Perlman, Miles Davis, and on and on. Music, its rich history and profound cultural reverberations are a deep part of my existence.
Music truly has the power to galvanize. And while that is obvious to playlists for dinner parties or club-nights, it is also true for work productivity. Though not all people will benefit from productivity play-lists since some find it a distraction, I find the Productivity Playlists (PP) concept is remarkably effective in keeping me goal-oriented and focused. As written in the post Manage Your Time By Energy, Not the Clock, I revolve my professional schedules around energy levels. I simply cannot be a product of industrial age “Monday to Friday, 9 to 5” time schedule. I have no idea why that will still exists as many economies transition to the service sector.
So by reading the biological responses of my brain and heart and thereby knowing when I am primed to deliver quality work, I know that I need to be as focused as possible during this time. With the penchant of open-office environments and tearing down the walls of office and cubicles, we find ourselves working side by side with our colleagues so we must find ways to establish concentrated focus.
For honing focus in frenzied environments, I find that headphones in the earbuds are an excellent way of communicating “I am focusing on a task, let’s chat later.” At many office settings I have worked at, I request that my teammates raise their hand when my headphones are on so I can address their questions at logical stopping points in my work.
With those rules in mind, it’s time for the beat to take over and make music a primer for productivity. Music for Productivity Playlists are specific sequences of music that I created of songs I know very well and when put in the right order, will make me “black out” into a flow of productivity. The music starts coming through me and creates a state of flow on even the most detail-oriented and complex tasks. With the below play-lists, I have done anything from drafting multi-million dollar financial plans or coded websites or created presentations. One caveat is reviewing contracts, which I prefer to do with either Mozart or great lawyers, preferably both.
So outside of reviewing words that legally bind your soul to some sort of formal clause, here are seven tips for making your own Music for Productivity playlist:
The limits of human attention and focus is widely controversial, ranging anywhere from 20 to 120 minutes, yet it is widely perceived that it is vastly dropping with prolific external stimuli. Being acoustically minded, I know from personal experience that if I turn off the world by completely sinking into a task with Productivity Playlists, I can maintain deep focus and flow of work for upwards of 120 to 150 minutes. I will caution that after 150 minutes my mind actually feels hot and I cannot properly communicate so I usually end up just going on a walk or a run to reset.
I would love to hear if this concept reverberates with others and what your Productivity Playlists contain. Here are a select few from my Spotify and please do return the favor by sending yours back to me.
Sample Productivity Playlists:
30 | 40
60 | 90
Yours in Progress,