Productivity Hack Of The Week: Listen To 15 Minutes Of Music For Better Concentration

Tuning out distractions doesn’t mean checking out; in fact, what you’re piping through your headphones may actually help you concentrate.

Productivity Hack Of The Week: Listen To 15 Minutes Of Music For Better Concentration
[Photo: Flickr user nasrul ekram]

The bad news is your day is probably laden with distractions and interruptions and a lack of privacy.


We get it, most modern office layouts suck.

The good news is that donning a pair of headphones will not only help tune out your coworkers’s chatter, but what you listen to can actually boost your concentration.

According to Dr. Amit Sood, a Mayo Clinic specialist in stress and resiliency, music is biologically beneficial; it makes us happier and more present and focused.

This mood boost, says Dr. Teresa Lesiuk, who authored a paper on the psychology of music, helps increase our creative problem solving abilities and task performance, and many scientists would agree that happier workers are more productive.

Lesiuk found, though, that the boost to concentration depends on workers’s ability to listen to music “when they want and as they want.” So while piping in some tunes over the radio for the benefit of all may seem like a good idea to managers, allowing employees to enjoy their individual musical tastes through headphones works best.

It may be wise to limit headphone time, however. Sood told the New York Times it only takes between 15 minutes and a half-hour of listening to music to regain concentration.


h/t: the New York Times

To help you work smarter instead of harder, we’re hitting you with a productivity hack each Friday. Check out our hacks here.

About the author

Rachel Gillett is a former editorial assistant for’s Leadership section. Her work has been featured on,, and elsewhere.