Tune in to Your Work

Tune in to Your Work

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041607CAREER.jpgUniversity of Illinois researchers found in a study of 256 office workers that listening to music of their own choice soothed frayed nerves, drowned out distracting office chatter, boosted mood and significantly enhanced office performance.

That's great, right? All you have to do it pick something – or that thing, or this thing, or maybe that other thing – to listen to at work.

For those of you with a wide variance of what qualifies as your "own choice" of music, here are some suggestions to get exactly what you need throughout the day from different types of music:

Staying Awake, Increased Energy
If you're feeling like you need a little more blood in your caffeine stream, maybe you just need some up-tempo, fun music. Pull out the jazz, country, reggae, pop or classical allegro movements. Turn up the volume a bit, but be considerate of those around you; they may not need the sonic hit you are looking for.

Studies show that being exposed to amicable music with a medium pace causes positive effects, such as boosting mood and decreasing blood pressure. So, consider some of these titles as background office music: Susie Suh, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Vika & Linda or "Ladies of the Canyon" by Joni Mitchell.

Increasing Concentration
Researchers at the University of California at Irvine found that college students who listened to Mozart’s Piano Sonata K. 448 for 10 minutes prior to taking a spatial IQ test scored eight points higher than those who did not. The concept is that listening to music might somehow enhance the brain’s ability to perform abstract operations immediately thereafter. This phenomenon is known as the "Mozart effect."

Some experts believe that classical music – including Mozart, Brahms and Bach – induces a relaxed-mind alert state, where concentration, memory and imagination is heightened. Technically speaking, beta brain waves – those between 14 and 20 hertz – are most common. Relaxed concentration or lucid awareness is when alpha waves between 8 and 13 hertz are present. Music with about 60 heats per minutes shifts the brain's activity from beta to the higher-awareness alpha waves. So, "Bach On" with your bad self if you need to concentrate!

Getting Technical
There are many iPod accessories you can pick up for your office, such as the JBL OnStage 2 speaker system. This little unit has a nice sound and won't take up much space on your already cluttered desk. With this fancy dancy device, you can listen to your music without the need for headphones. It has touch-sensitive volume buttons on the front of the unit, a little remote for skipping, volume and pause/play as well as an auxiliary jack for hooking in other devices – such as a portable XM reciever for days when your favorite radio station is offering a giveaway that you just can't miss out on.

Watch the Volume
Contrary to the beneficial effects of amicable music, being exposed to music you dislike causes negative effects, including higher blood pressure and stress. Go ahead and assume that not everyone enjoys the Purple Rain you pour all over the office every time you need a pick-me-up.

Here are some ways to be more courteous with your workday's soundtrack:

  • There are bluetooth adaptors to some music devices, so you can listen to your chords without the cords.
  • Wear the headphones that came standard to your MP3 player or iPod. To make sure you don't tune yourself completely out of the workplace happenings, just put in one headphone bud.
  • Take a walk with your iPod. If you really need your music to whisk you away, step out of the office for a few moments with your iPod in hand. Turn up the volume, and enjoy this little worry-free window. For those of you working in Kentucky, remember to take advantage of those state-mandated breaks! You get a paid 10-minute break for each four-hour work period.