Welcome to Workflow: Friday 5, where every week we will be sharing some our favorite tools that help us become as efficient and effective as possible when achieving our goals. This week’s Friday 5 will showcase the tunes enjoyed between the hallways and ear holes throughout our office. Every song has a setting, whether performed live at your local bar or in your car during a long commute. It doesn’t matter the input; aux cords, cds, and wireless connections are all welcome as long as the output is through speakers.

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” -Aaron Copland

If you are anything like me, I cannot be productive without music playing somewhere around me. My brain is much more focused with some sort of noise in rhythm form. There are numerous studies on the benefits of playing music while working, learning, or even during therapy. Music has health benefits! I could go on and on about the science behind listening to music and it’s benefits on the human condition, and that’s before discussing the benefits of actually PLAYING music yourself.

The most well-known publication on the topic of music and workflow is arguably Don Campbell’s book, The Mozart Effect, where Campbell condensed all research on the benefits of certain types of music. Scientists at Stanford ran a series of experiments in 2014 that demonstrated rats gaining better cognitive performance while listening to music. That’s why we play Mozart to babies!

“If I were not a physicist,albert-einstein-png-8 I would probably be a musician. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” -Albert Einstein

If you are learning something new, or need to retain information, instrumental hip hop can be a great way to use repetition to your advantage. Some studies show that listening to music while learning/cognitive growing can help when needing to recall that information. BUT, here is the trick – supposedly it only works if you are listening to the same music when you need to recall. It’s hacking your senses, kind of like how the smell of popcorn makes you think about your favorite childhood movie. So, if you have the opportunity to play the same music maybe twice a week, that information has a higher probability of staying afloat in your mind for easy access.

Personally, I like to work with instrumentals playing as opposed to music with lyrics which tend to cloud my already busy thoughts. However, if I can manage some vocals, I’ll choose something minimal and less in your face than say, hip hop. Here are my top 5 picks in no particular order:

Oddisee – The Odd Tape (hip-hop instrumentals)

The Lumineers – Cleopatra (folk-rock)

Black Milk – The Rebellion Sessions with Nat Turner (hip-hop instrumentals)

Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (blues-rock)

Soulection Radio #265 (future sound playlist)

Enjoy! If you have any suggestions for music I should be listening to, please leave them in the comment section!