Using Music to Boost Your Productivity


Music is often associated with downtime relaxation, but it can easily double-up as a study aid (win-win!). There are already dozens of great ‘study playlists’ curated by Spotify and Youtube, but have you heard about some other underrated tunes and soundscapes?

Experiment with different ones, and you’ll be a master study DJ in no time! (Be sure to share your newfound wisdom with friends.) Studies after studies have shown that instrumental music is the best choice for memory retention and recall, preventing added distractions from lyrics.

Ambient Noise

Sitting on an airplane? The comforting rumbling of the fridge? Cars driving along the highway? Ambient noise can bring forth a sense of comfortable nostalgia that transforms into a state of bliss (but if it lulls you to sleep, we may have a little problem here).

Nature Soundscapes

Can the sound of wind blowing over wheat fields be an instant stress-buster? How about running water? Distant thunder? You bet. Turn your bedroom into an oasis and play those sounds on speakers for a realistic, immersive effect. The library may not transform into a jungle, but with enough imagination and concentration, you’ll get pretty close.

Frequencies (Hz) / Binaural Beats

Imagine playing around with your brain circuits, temporarily rewiring it. You can experiment with some super funky neuroscience in the comfort of your own room. Certain frequencies (measured in Hz) can activate areas of the brain responsible for some heavy-duty learning, providing an entrance to a zen-like state. Binaural beats, another underrated option, rewards the brain with similar benefits. A lot of these are combined with the sounds previously mentioned, so you’ll get a superpowered combo of calm and focus. Bring it: assignments, exams, readings, and cramming sessions!

Epic Soundtracks

(This option comes in especially handy during those last-minute papers). The clock will continue ticking, as you frantically type. Transport yourself in a mission impossible state of mind by putting on your favourite epic tunes. It turns the process from a bleh 2 to a solid 9. Monotonous chores? Boom. Done. Warning: it may become addictingbut it’s well worth the listen.

Cafe Background Music (BGM)

No java necessary. Enjoy a comforting, warm hug of jazzy, bluesy or bossa nova bliss and feel your worries dissipate into the air. The explosion of lo-fi also incorporates many popular and interesting hybrid tunes like this. (Pro tip: don’t be afraid of the ones in Japanese with scenic landscapes — in fact, exploring that ever-evolving, mysterious world is highly encouraged.) Those ones tend to blow the rest away. Seriously.

Procrastinating? Try revamping your current study playlist or creating a new one altogether. Youtube and Spotify do sometimes get it right (actually!) and make great recommendations, so pay attention to those as well; you never know when you’re going to get lucky.