Fortune cookies are generally supposed to “predict” a “fortune” or give you some motivational / inspirational statement. Something to pep you up. The ones I had today were rubbish. So when you’re lacking in motivation (particularly at work), studies have shown that listening to music can increase your productivity at work by 79%.
Personally, I find that listening to a lot of music distracts me, particularly music with lyrics. Studies have shown that this is indeed the case because the human brain is programmed to tune in specifically to speech. Listening to music without lyrics however can keep your productivity up without distracting you or stressing you out. I like to put a bit of classical music on when I’m writing. Depending on the piece however, this can also be distracting if the tune suddenly bursts into life without warning. Despite the fact that I find most classical music calming and soothing, studies show that this particular type of music is at the bottom of the list for increasing productivity.
Video game music however is different. It is specifically composed to focus the brain without distracting. There are no bursts of music, crescendos are slowly built. You will also notice that game music generally as a rule of thumb does not have any words, so as not to take the focus away from your task at hand, whether this be feeding cows in Harvest Moon or beating people to a pulp a Tekken.
If productivity can be increased in the workplace by listening to music in general, imagine what our workplaces could be capable of if video game soundtracks were blaring through our radios all day. Again, this is something that I feel is a bit hit or miss. If you’ve ever played ‘Kingdom Hearts’, I’m sure you’ll have discovered that whilst the music in the Beast’s Castle starts off quite upbeat, after you’ve spent a good couple of hours beating Heartless back into oblivion, the repetitive nature of the background music makes you want to kill yourself instead of the Heartless.
All that being said, we do love our video game soundtracks and some of our fondest memories and most memorable times have everything to do with the music of the game we played. Some of my happiest memories are from FF7 and it only takes me to hear a fraction of a piece of music from the game for all that happiness and all those memories to come flooding back in a hurry.
According to research, some of the best soundtracks to listen to while your working to boost your productivity are:
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Assassin’s Creed 2
- Animal Crossing (I would definitely agree with this one)
It’s not listed but I also really find the music from the Sims helps me to keep going, although eventually you learn the words (which are all in Simlish) so it then becomes distracting, but not all of us are sad enough to learn Simlish, right? 😉