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Two Playlists for Getting Stuff Done at Work

Research has found different types of music can have different effects on worker mood and productivity

Last week on the Game Plan podcast, we talked to workers who spend their days listening to music together. We interviewed retail employees who listen to top 40 radio blast through the store and profiled a company that plays music over a Sonos sound system throughout the open office—all day, every day.

But for most office workers, music is a private experience. We pop in a pair of headphones and turn on whatever will get us through the day. 

Research has found that music can help with worker productivity and mood, but that different types of music can have varying effects on workers' moods. Music with slower beats, like, say, a song by Brian Eno, relaxes anxious workers. Fast paced music, on the other hand, can make workers more alert. Some songs work well for concentration, and others for motivation. 

We asked listeners to share what songs they turn on to stay focused and productive at the office. The responses tended to fall into two categories. People either like ethereal music with little to no lyrics or they need something more energetic. Classical music and movie scores were popular.  Many mentioned the Hamilton soundtrack and Jamie XX.  

Using these responses, we created the only two playlists you need to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of work (if you're on your device, clicking right on the Spotify logo will take you straight to the app). One for motivating yourself through projects:

And another for concentrating on tasks: 

For some, no matter the genre, music will always be too distracting. For those people, we recommend white noise

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