6 ways to optimize music for productivity

A lot of people work better with music. It keeps you motivated, relaxed and makes tasks less boring. Those benefits are thanks to dopamine, which gets released when you listen to music.

Dopamine makes you more focused and motivated and helps you getting into the flow.

Here are 6 tips to make your music more effective.

1. Use music to push yourself further

The best time you should pop in some music, when you are on the „brink of defeat“.

When you don’t feel like working anymore, your motivation has run out or you have the urge to procrastinate.

Always keep your best collection of music ready for these moments.

2. Don’t over listen to music

One mistake a lot of people make is to listen to the same songs too often. Over time your brain gets used to it and it will give you less dopamine and probably even annoy you.
You build a „tolerance“, just like drinking too much coffee. You’ll get less of a „boost“ out of it, because your brain doesn’t  That’s why you need a big collection of songs, albums and playlists, to keep your brain entertained.

Sometimes you might even want to turn the music completely off.

3. Switch it up

Kind of falls into the same category of over listening.

Sometimes you feel like the music stopped working for you and you have a hard time motivating yourself.

switch up the genre.

Instead of electro beats try out some rap. Stop listening to your favorite songs and put on something totally new to you.

Choose something you never listened to before, some artist you’ve never known.

You can also try and listen to classical music if you want. (Barock seems to be most effective for studying)

Our brain gets excited by new things, something it’s not used to.

Completely switching up your music gives you that extra rush of dopamine, making work more interesting and exciting.

4. Choose non distracting music

The music you use should put you in the state of „flow“. A state were you are completely lost in a task, without getting distracted by your surroundings.

To get completely focused on one task, your brain needs to be able to blend out everything around you. Getting distracted by your music, totally defeats the purpose of the extra dopamine you get from music.
Your music should

  • Try music without vocals. Your brain is programmed to give attention to voices, which makes it more distracting.
  • Medium volume. Loud voice
  • Avoid overly emotional or angry music. You want to keep yourself in a trance like state.
  • A medium tempo beat is perfect for working. Fast beats activate your „fight or flight“ response, giving you energy but making you less focused. Slow beats are good for art and studying or if you want to relax. Try too find the perfect balance between too relaxing and too arousing music.

5. Don’t constantly switch between music

Having to change your music constantly through your work, completely kills your productivity. You do not only loose the time you spend searching for music, but there is also a

Generally set and forget. If you do it right, there should be no reason to switch music during your work.

  • Don’t surf Youtube for music (instead use a playlist). Youtube
  • Use Albums. Lets you find new music without wasting your time on Youtube.
  • Playlists. You can make your own or use the ones on Youtube or Spotify. (My favourite is called „Brain Food“ on Spotify)
  • Use one Song on repeat. Playing the same song over and over again until it slowly fades into the background.

6. Music for focus

If you really need deep focus work, most normal music will be too distracting. These are the best ones you can use for mentally challenging tasks.

Video game soundtracks

The composers of these soundtracks had two goals in mind: To keep you playing the game and to not distract you from the game. This combined makes it amazing to use for work, since they have no vocals and are perfected for being background noise.

From Skyrim to Doom, there is an endless supply of soundtracks, most of them over on hour long. You can also use compilations like „Video Game for Studying“.

Sounds of nature

Ever took a walk through the park? You relaxed and all your problems suddenly seemed a little bit easier. Sounds of nature have a relaxing effect on the brain, making them perfect for studying. A lot of beats have sounds of nature in the background making the perfect for long ours of brain intense work.

Trance electrobeats

Wasn’t sure how to call them but there is a certain kind of beat, that always gets me into the zone. They kind of put you in a trance like state, where you feel deep focus.

Movie soundtracks

Not all movie soundtracks are good for working, but if you’re feeling uninspired or bored using the music of „Limitless“ or „Pulp Fiction“ to get the extra motivation.


There are a millions of songs you can choose of to get you to work.

Use relaxing and non distracting for studying and mentally challenging tasks.
Medium speed or videogame music if you want to be efficient.
Use motivating music for housework and mundane tasks.

And always keep your best songs to push you a little farther.



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