4 soundtracks to boost creativity while working from home

Research shows that listening to music can improve concentration and boost mental performance in the office. (Rawpixel pic)

With social distancing keeping many people isolated for the coming weeks, working from home may prove challenging.

Whether you are struggling to find a work-life balance as a working parent or missing the hubbub of the office, music can reduce your anxiety while increasing your productivity.

“Historically, music and work have always been intertwined. Think about romantic visions of peasants singing as they harvest, or sea chanteys sung by sailors as they work on their ships.

“And since most people enjoy listening to music of some kind in at least some contexts, it’s perfectly natural to feel that music must have some sort of positive impact on our work,” Karen Landay, a former professional violinist and graduate student at the University of Alabama, told the BBC.

Recent studies suggest that listening to music can improve concentration and boost mental performance in the office, although some types of music have proven to be more distracting than others.

Among them are complex musical compositions and songs with lyrics, as researchers at Fu Jen Catholic University discovered that background music with lyrics had significant negative effects on concentration and attention.

Here are four playlists, ranging from instrumental to ambient soundscapes, to listen to while working from home:

1. Concentration Jazz for Work and Studying

As lyrics force us to shift focus from our work, what about opting for a calming jazz soundscape for your daily tasks?

2. ‘1/1’ by Brian Eno

The British musician composed in 1978 an entire album of “ambient music,” which was designed to be continuously looped as a sound installation to “induce calm and a space to think.”

“Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting,” Eno said of his “Ambient 1: Music for Airports” album.

3. Forest Birdsong

While stuck at home during your voluntary or mandatory quarantine, rediscover the benefits of taking a stroll through nature with this relaxing soundscape.

4. Rainy Days in Tokyo

This hour-long compilation blends lo-fi hip-hop, jazz hop, chillhop and jazz hop, making it ideal for “chilling, studying and relaxing.”