There are many factors that affect our productivity. However, they all come back to the fact that knowledge works happens in our brains. Therefore, a healthy brain should enable us to get more things done. To that end, what does the field of neuroscience say about productivity?
In a recent article in Science Focus, neuroscientist Dean Burnett discusses the connection between the brain and knowledge work. Specifically, he lists five tips to be more productive. The first one highlights the beneficial effect of background music.
When we’re trying to focus on a task, our conscious attention is occupied, but can still be diverted by the unconscious system. And if we’re in complete silence, any creaks or sighs or murmurs or other random sounds stand out more, meaning our unconscious attention is more likely to be distracted, which hinders our productivity.
But, if we play music in the background, it masks obtrusive noises and occupies our unconscious attention, like giving a bored child a toy to play with while you’re trying to work. Obviously, the type of music will make a difference. Things with lyrics aren’t as good because our brains are more stimulated by linguistic information, and music that has a negative impact on mood can sap motivation.