Headphones are an overlooked—but indispensible—office tool. The right music can inspire you, sharpen your focus, and help you tackle new projects with aplomb. But what kind of music gets you into the zone?
Over at Lifehacker, writer Jory Mackay explains which tunes pair best with certain tasks. According to Mackay, instrumental music is best for when you’re trying to learn (research shows it can help you recognize information faster), while songs paced at 50 to 80 beats per minute are ideal for creative work. (This tempo can help induce your brain’s alpha state, which makes you relaxed and focused.)
Working on something dull and monotonous? Any type of music will do the trick to get your mind moving. However, if you really need to complete a challenging assignment, you should probably switch off your playlist—even quiet strains of song can cause cognitive interference.
Of course, the most important takeaway—especially if you're doing work you know you're good at—is to listen to whatever it is you love. Mackay cites an American Medical Association study, which found that surgeons performed quicker and more accurately while listening to their favorite tunes.
To find out which tracks will transform you into a worker bee, check out Lifehacker’s handy graph, which pairs music genres with specific duties.