Whistle while you work — it may make you more productive


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No matter your profession, some days can feel long and monotonous. Whether you’re staring at a computer screen for eight hours straight, digging a hole or driving a truck, being on the job can be tiresome. And sometimes we can be unproductive.

Since we can’t throw our hands up and resign for the day, why not try a little tunage? Throwing some headphones on while tapping away on the keyboard might help increase productivity, while offering up a bit of entertainment.

A 2005 study took a look at the relationship between music and work performance. Teresa Lesiuk, assistant professor and interim program director of music therapy at the University of Miami, led a study that measured the effect of listening to music on state positive affect, work quality and time-on-task of computer information systems developers.

Among the results:

  • State positive affect and quality of work were lowest with no music.

  • Time-on-task was longest when music was removed.

  • Workers’ narrative responses indicated that music elevated their mood.

  • Listening to music has a positive effect in the workplace, when it is encouraged by project directors and the workers are amenable to music listening.


Psychology Today cited a few other studies that looked at music and productivity and concluded that while the research is limited and inconclusive, anecdotally, many people do listen to music as they work. The article also includes some advice for choosing music.

Or you can just check out this infographic from Column Five and Sonos, who claim: “Oftentimes, the type of music you listen to at work determines your level of productivity. This makes the tunes you choose very important. If you want to know the right playlist for your particular profession, read on and rock on.”

According to the infographic, my profession categorizes me as a “Creative Cat,” who should be listening to ambient music, Baroque/classical and jazz. And I should listen on a compact hi-fi speaker system. I’m sure my coworkers will thank me later.