Most days, getting through an eight-hour work shift is a struggle. There are a million places you'd rather be, and none of them include your desk. It's difficult to find the motivation to tackle the growing number of emails in your inbox when your mind is back at home, comfortable in front of your gaming system.
If you struggle to get work done, you might want to turn on Mario Party or even Call of Duty the next time you need to focus. Your favorite video games could be the perfect solution to a lack of motivation.
Listening to music while working increases creativity and efficiency, boosting your mood along the way. It's not just traditional music that does this, though, any melodious background noise (like the Halo intro you enjoy so much) will offer the same effect.
When you listen to music, your brain releases dopamine. This chemical, typically associated with behaviors that make us happy, keeps you in a positive mood while you work, and switches your brain into focus mode. Boring tasks become easier to tackle, and your recognition of images and letters speeds up.
According to researchers, it takes just 15 minutes of music to increase your focus. Popping a pair of headphones on and turning up your favorite Pandora station helps you block out distractions and hone in on the tasks at hand.
Video games come with very unique soundtracks that affects your brain in the same way, especially since the music tends to be progressive in nature, corresponding to the achievements earned and advancement in the actual gameplay. Having those "songs" playing while you work is beneficial—and they can increase your overall productivity tenfold.
You may be one of the many people who listen to classical music while working. Classical music is a popular choice for workplace environments—many believe that it has soothing qualities and stimulates the brain. Yet classical music only works if it's music you love.
Listening to music that you have a personal connection to offers greater benefits. Whether it's your favorite song or the soundtrack to your most-loved video game, your brain associates the sounds with happy, rewarding memories. It then releases even more dopamine, which leads you to become more invested in the work before you.
So, if you're dreading a certain pile of work on your desk, listen to a playlist of songs that make you happy. You'll get all the benefits of increased concentration and efficiency—and you'll speed through the assignment with fewer errors, reducing the amount of time you have to spend staring at it.
Music may have great benefits for workers, but you may want to turn off your favorite song when you're introduced to something new. Performing a task for the very first time requires entirely different concentration than typing away at your desk. You need to pay attention closely in order to recall the steps and technique later on.
Music, with all of its rewarding qualities, is nothing more than a distraction when it comes to learning. Researchers learned that those who listen to music while attempting to master new skills, like driving a stick shift, were unable to replicate the activity. Rather than honing listeners' focus, music kept them from remembering important steps of the new process. The more complex the task, the worse music-listeners performed.
If you need to learn a tricky new skill set, it's best to shut off any background noise. Once you've mastered the steps, however, it's fine to turn your soundtrack back on. The process, now stored in your memory, will benefit from background music just like other tasks.
So, the next time you're facing a deadline, consider turning on a loop of your favorite video game soundtracks. The positive connections you have with the songs and sounds will ramp up your speed, reduce your mistakes, and make you a happier worker.