How Listening to Music can Improve your Productivity - as Discovered in a Coffee Shop

My car went in for it's MOT and I had a few hours to kill in town and like a lot of people would, decided to use an hour or so drinking coffee and people watching in a high street coffee shop. I ended up having a second breakfast in the end as well. just looked too good! (Judge for yourself!)

Coffee and teacake by Tiddler & Fox

It was early and there were not that many people around but I was sat near to a gentleman working away on a laptop and I was scribbling away in the notebook I carry everywhere. We got chatting about how productive sitting in cafe's can be - he told me he spends a lot of time working in that particular coffee shop and I was finding that the ideas were flowing well and I was filling a few pages of my notebook. 

It occurred to us that there is something about cafe culture that is conducive to a work ethic. Just look at JK Rowling, she wrote 'Harry Potter' in her local cafe and no one can doubt her work ethic and drive for success. 

So what is it that inspires work, good or bad, that gets the creative juices going and ideas flowing, inspires great debate and deep thinking? The cafe stranger and I got talking about education, philosophy and the nature v nurture debate, amongst other things including business, family and even pets! Would that I have conversations like that with my partner in an average hour?!

You see it all the time, people beavering away in their local coffee shop, laptops, phones and good old fashioned notebook and pen to hand. Do we need comfort to work effectively or do we need to be out of our comfort zone? Is it simply caffeine that gets us productive? A slice of cake and the resulting sugar rush?

There must be a scientific reason for this phenomenon on great work happening in cafe's besides having good company and a good dose of caffeine can explain, but simply great coffee and a sticky bun always seems to put me in a mood to think creatively.

There is lots of research* to suggest that music can make us up to 50% more productive and most coffee shops have piped music in the background, and the studies have shown that ambient music without lyrics is most conducive to productivity, but can it just be that? I listen to music all the time at home and have done in previous jobs where I have been very productive so I know it helps.

Looking further at the research it seems that its an improved mood as a result of listening to music that helps to get us more creative.

How listening to music can improve your mood and therefore your productivity by Tiddler & Fox

Let me know where you are at your most creative and if you experience the same flow of ideas if you have time to spare and find yourself in a coffee shop.

Oh and btw, my car did pass its MOT!


(* Research : Music - an aid to productivity, JG Fox & ED Embrey 1972. The Effect of Music Listening on Work Performance, T Lesiuk 2005. There is a lot of research out there on this subject but I've just scratched the surface here!)

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