Listen While You Work: How Entrepreneurs Can Use Music to Succeed

Do you listen to music while you work? Many people don’t listen to music while working because they feel it will hamper their productivity or disturb others in the office. If you’re not an entrepreneur and you work for an existing company, listening to music while you work can even be an issue because of office policy.

But studies have shown that listening to music while you work can help you focus better, be more productive, and make better decisions. It also improves your mood, an undeniable factor in how resilient you are and how likely you are to succeed.

But listening to just any music won’t do the trick. You have to choose a music genre or style that is complementary to your favorite genres – complementary to, but not part of. That’s right, your favorite music style will not help you become more productive or focused. In fact, listening to your favorite music while working can hamper your productivity and distract you from the task at hand.

How do you get around this? First, you identify your music preferences.

1. Identify your music preferences

What’s your favorite music genre? For many, that’s a tough question to answer. It’s easier to identify the group of music genres you prefer over others. The Short Test Of Musical Preferences (STOMP) is helpful in determining this.

STOMP includes 4 categories of genre preferences:

Reflective and complex – Classical, jazz, blues, folk

Intense and rebellious – Alternative, rock, heavy metal, punk

Upbeat and conventional – Country, religious, soundtracks, theme music, pop

Energetic and rhythmic – Dance, electronica, funk, hip hop, rap, soul

Which of the above 4 categories contains most of your favorite genres? Now, move on to step 2.

2. Find the complementary genre based on your STOMP results

Now that you know the STOMP category you prefer over all others, check the list below to find the complementary category of genres that will help you boost your productivity and be more focused at work.

 Favorite category Complementary category
 Reflective & complex Upbeat & conventional
 Edgy & aggressive Energetic & rhythmic
 Fun & simple Reflective & complex
 Energetic & upbeat Edgy & aggressive

Where’s the logic in this? An example: If your preferences are mostly reflective and complex, you’re more productive when listening to upbeat and conventional music (Country, pop, soundtracks, religious contemporary) even though it’s not your favorite style of music.

Listening to non-preferred music styles is beneficial because your brain is used to the sounds you prefer, so switching things up by playing some Top 40 or your favorite movie soundtrack will help you work more efficiently.

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