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Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Music at Work

There is nothing worse than getting to the office or gym and realizing you forgot your headphones. Music helps make your workout more bearable, it can help boost your enthusiasm for cleaning the house and Spotify has even created the ultimate productive playlist for the office. But does music actually make you work faster and study harder? Some research says that it actually might not. In fact, it may decrease your concentration and just distract you.


Unfortunately, the human brain is not very good at multi-tasking, especially when you hear a good song that makes you want to start dancing. When you look at the science behind why we like listening to music, it all comes down to hormones. Whether you’re listening to a hard beat or the opening chords of an instrumental track, each will have a unique effect on your brain. Music triggers the release of the pleasure chemical, dopamine. When you stumble across a new song that you love, even more dopamine is released and you get even more pleasure. This is why listening to music you like makes a task like cleaning the house seem more enjoyable.

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Things are a little different when you’re trying to learn something new. If you’re studying or working on something that’s more complicated, your brain requires more focus and mental energy to apply that knowledge. In a study by the University of Wales, adults listening to music while performing complex tasks actually didn’t do as well as those not listening to music. So when you’re tackling a complex project or studying new material, it may be best to press pause.

On the other hand, Dr. Teresa Lesiuk has done extensive research on how music affects workplace performance, and she has found that those who listened to music completed tasks faster and came up with more creative ideas than those who worked in silence. “When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” she said. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”

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That’s what the researchers tell us, but we were curious what a musician had to say about the matter. We asked singer/songwriter Juliet Piper for her take on the issue. She told us, “Music has a way of making daily, mundane tasks seem much more effortless compared to when the room is silent. My focus immediately shifts from the laundry I’m folding to the catchy lyrics or the melody of the song I’m listening to. It’s a small yet significant difference.” She went on to say, “Songs always move from one note to the next, much like the way we move from one task to another. Aligning ourselves with music’s forward motion, even subconsciously, can ultimately result in higher levels of productivity in our day-to-day lives.” When we asked her what she turns up to get things done, she said nothing beats Top 40 songs. “Uptown Funk is responsible for ALL of my productivity this year!”

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So, should you be listening to music at work? If you’re good at what you’re doing, music works. It lowers tension and stress, but if you love it too much, you might risk getting distracted by singing along to the lyrics. Generally, instrumental music, or listening to music that you’ve heard before with little or no lyrics, will provide optimal focus.

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If working in silence sounds like torture to you, you’ll be happy to hear that a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that if you’re tackling a creative task, the noise from a coffee shop is usually enough to do the trick. White noise like quiet chatter and the whiz of the espresso grinder creates enough of an audio distraction that allows you to think more imaginatively. So while music helps you breeze through simple tasks and gets you through that tough workout, when it comes to tackling a new challenge, it’s best to kill the tunes until you know your stuff.

What music keeps you productive? Talk to us in the comments below!

Alright, folks. We've officially made it to fall. And if you haven't already started switching out your decor (as long as it's ready by Friendsgiving, right?) you still have time to do so. Draw inspiration from this round-up of new home products that includes harvest-inspired candles, cozy linens and textiles, and a v. practical piece of furniture. One scroll through these, and you'll have all the motivation you need to transition the seasons. Scroll on to start shopping.

Prism x LOREM Collection ($96+): Calling all Cali babes. The popular Long Beach boutique, Prism, announced a boho-fabulous collab with home decor line, LOREM, that we can't get enough of. Shop everything from plant hangers (eight options, to be exact) to artwork, all inspired by the very colorful vibes of the brands. If you were looking for a cheery way to tide you through winter, this. is. it!

Floyd Mattress (Price TBD): Fans of the cult-favorite Detroit-based brand will love their latest launch debuting on October 29. The highly-coveted Floyd Mattress will have the same made-to-last design and superior comfort as their other furnishings, tailored perfectly to fit the line's in-demand bed frame. Additional details for the mattress include a breathable foam material, highly-mobile packaging, and a low-profile design to secure your best night's sleep yet. Check back on the last week of the month to get one for yourself.

Dims 'Composed Vanity' ($595): Small space? No problem! Direct-to-consumer brand, Dims, is giving you a quick and stylish solution to your storage needs with their newest item that doubles as both a desk and vanity. The functional piece is made with non-toxic, chemical-free materials and can be assembled in seven minutes or less. Throw in four sleek shades to choose from, and this may just be your best purchase of 2019 yet!

Saatchi Art x The Citizenry Holiday Collection ($225+): Get ready to deck your walls this holiday season. Saatchi Art partnered with The Citizenry in a one-of-a-kind collection that features a curation of art across styles. Explore everything from modern to abstract creations in a selection so stunning, it's bound to spark a conversation at your next gathering.

NEST Spiced Orange & Clove Collection ($16+): If you haven't experienced the addicting aromas of the beloved NEST fragrance brand, this is the perfect time to get on board! The label recently released their latest scent — spiced orange & clove — just in time for all your gatherings. Inhale festive notes of orange pomander, spiced brandy, cinnamon, and gingered honey across their suite of candles and diffusers to bring all the good vibes to your home.

Bloomingdales x RiLEY Home ($19+): RiLEY Home gets millennials. So they teamed up with Bloomingdales to make shopping their selection more attainable than ever. Now, you can get in on long-lasting, luxurious staples like flannel sheets, bedding, printed throws, premium pet beds, and more, by shopping online and in-stores at the department store. (Trust us: These dream goods are ones you're going to be *glad* you stocked-up on.)

Italic Serene Towels ($12+): The luxury brand that prides itself on using the *same* factories namesake brands (like Calvin Klein and Lacoste) use, but without the price tag behind them, brings you a new product for fall. Treat yourself to Italic's ultra-soft towel set spun from fluffy, 100% Australian cotton, in a convenient set of six. Consider it the perfect indulgence after a long soak in the tub on a cozy FNI (Friday night in)!

Hyascent x Neiman Marcus ($169): 'Tis the season for a delightfully scented home. Warm your abode with scents like bourbon joy, cheeky rose and more in a unique diffuser that doubles more as decor than a fragrance-inducer. Fresh off the (online) shelves of Neiman Marcus, explore nine scents that last up to six months in a specialized hourglass holder. (Shhh! Your friends will never know the secret of why your place smells so darn good!)