Listening to music while you work has a significant impact on your brain. When you listen to music, a part of your brain that triggers the release of the ‘pleasure chemical’ dopamine is activated. This travels down a pathway in the brain called the “Reward System.”

Dopamine is the same chemical that is released when you eat your favorite food or when you get a like on Facebook, causing you to want more, more, more. Creative domains, like music, also allow humans to connect in a synchronized way. This helps us develop a group identity and makes us more likely to work together. Music’s power is deeply rooted in our brains and developed out of a need to empathize, create harmony, and more importantly, survive.

Never Miss A Beat!

Listening to music while you work doesn’t just help teams work together, it also helps individuals perform. Music:

  • – Helps you finish boring tasks faster
  • – Enhances your ability to recognize images, letters, and numbers
  • – Makes you more happy, efficient and less likely to make mistakes
  • – Helps you focus in a noisy environment

listen to music while you work

Tips For Your Tunes

Press Pause When Learning Something New

When you’re presented with new information that’s complicated, it takes more focus and mental energy for you to grasp and apply that knowledge. For example, if you’re learning how to drive a stick shift car or writing your first lines of programming code, it’s best to shut the music off.

Keep It On Shuffle (or) Play The Radio

The amount of dopamine that gets released and the feelings of pleasure we get from it are also largely dependent on the element of surprise. When you stumble upon a new song that you love, more dopamine is released and you get even more excited than if you were to listen to one of your favorite songs that you’ve heard multiple times.

Keep It Familiar

Lyrics can be distracting, especially with new music. With familiar music, you know what lies ahead and thus the sound doesn’t become your primary focus.

Don’t Jam Constantly

The widely cited 1972 study found that the benefits of music disappeared when it was constantly played. And sometimes your brain just needs all the cognitive resources it can get.


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Image Credits: David Goehring and Jonathan Powell