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Can Music Make You More Productive at Work?

Man listens to music

Having trouble getting things done at work or staying focused on the task at hand? Fire up your iPod.

A new study indicates a little music can really boost your productivity.

In the study, those who listened to music came up with better ideas and accomplished more tasks than those who didn’t.

Why? Because the music improved their mood, with doctors saying it helps encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain.

“When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” said researcher Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”

That said, those who benefited most were moderately skilled workers — people who were experts at their jobs experienced little or no effect, and new hires tended to find the music downright distracting.

But if you think it’ll help you drown out the noise of your annoying gum-popping co-worker, it’s worth a shot. Just be sure to take off your headphones occasionally so you won’t be thought unapproachable or rude.

[New York Times]

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