How to Make the Most Out of Your Study Time
Symphonies, Brain Waves, and Beats
In today’s world, hustle is encouraged, and ”working hard” is taken to an extreme. Every day, people are overextending themselves. Working three jobs, taking twenty credit hours. We all share a running joke of not sleeping and guzzling coffee to get more work done. We crouch over our laptops, phones, tablets, or documents, exerting all of our effort to meet deadlines. Now that we're confined to our homes, it seems more challenging than ever to get motivated and stay focused.
If you’re anything like me, you spend the first half of your day dreading working, and you’re already fatigued by the thought before you start. If I manage to work, I'm huddled in the dark by eight that evening with red eyes and a sore neck.
Well, I needed to laundry first, and the dishes; I couldn't forget to sweep the floor, or mop, of course. I also have to find time to squeeze a workout in. There was and is still just too much beckoning for my attention. I found it overwhelming to sit down to do my work. Unthinkable to focus or even remain dedicated to the task for more than 30 minutes.
Alas, there is a way to make the time we spend working more enjoyable. By listening to lyricless music like Classical or Lo-Fi Beats while studying, you can optimize the time you spend and get more done in shorter intervals. I'll integrate my playlist in its entirety below. Then we will look into the science and how you can use each genre to your advantage.
Your Complete Productivity Playlist
Your Brain on Classical Music
If music were colored, classical would be purple or blue. It evokes emotion and thus helps information stick better. I listen to classical music while I'm listening to a lecture, studying, or writing. The melodies help me feel more connected to what I'm doing and allow me translate my thoughts better to words.
"University research in France, published in Learning and Individual Differences, found that students who listened to a one-hour lecture where classical music was played scored significantly higher on a quiz when compared to students who heard the lecture with no music."
I know remembering content isn't the only priority when considering productivity and study time. We also have to consider boredom and stress. Classical music has been found to decrease stress and pain.
"Researchers gave headphones playing Bach concertos to men undergoing a stressful biopsy and discovered they had no spike in diastolic blood pressure during the procedure and reported significantly less pain."
Work we’re facing can sometimes induce what seems like physical pain, and creating an environment that promotes wellbeing can help you stay concentrated longer and reduce that ”unbearable” feeling that work is so good at bringing about.
My Classical Favorites
All of the Bach Cello Suites are so moving. The first one is my favorite, and the suites alone make up two hours worth of pure concentration. The way the beats drag-out between one another paints a story of pain. When I hear the first suite, it tugs at my heartstrings. But it also dances in my mind and eases my worries. The soothing rich cello notes help me zone in on my project and give it warped dedication. Something about the music's depth makes it easy to sink into and silence the rest of the world.
This song contributed to my love for music. In sixth grade, I played the Trombone, and this song was selected for one of our playing tests. When I heard it in class, I fell in love. I ran out to my bus at the bell, dragged my bulky instrument case home, and practiced it all night. Even after my playing test, I forced my family to listen- anyone who would indulge me I played for. I felt powerful playing it, and I wanted them to get the same feeling.
The song starts slowly, quietly appearing in the distant background until it builds to a roaring upbeat melody. Edvard Grieg outdid himself with this one. It does wonders for the psyche, and it always puts me in a productive and upbeat mood.
Now we're getting a little intense for classical music. We are entering party animal status, and you need to tread lightly. You might get entirely too much done because this symphony is so energizing.
"I am one of those who will go on doing till all doings are at an end."
I felt like my studying was make or break to the continuation of society. The melody fits perfectly with a movie background. My actions felt meaningful. It seemed like I was reaching the climax of my own boring work session. It made even accounting interesting. I highly recommend this last one if you are struggling with procrastination, boredom, or just a general lack of interest in your daily tasks.
My Lo-Fi Favorites
What the hell is Lo-Fi, you ask? I didn't know either. Here's a description What We See, a magazine covering world affairs, people, and the arts gave:
Lo-fi beats are relaxed, often monotonous beats that are staggeringly popular on Youtube — in fact, they’ve become a phenomenon. With their ability to lull one into an almost trance-like state, they’re the perfect mixture of nostalgia and comfort — creating background music for an entire generation who didn’t even know we needed it."
I think this definition does the genre justice. I had been listening for a while and didn't know why I liked it so much. If classical is purple and blue, Lo-Fi beats are orange and yellow. They're soft and familiar and subconsciously remind me of a better time.
Lo-Fi is warm; it appeals to pop culture with the art attached and the video game soundtrack undertones. It helps me relax and fall into a system of getting things done. Things move seamlessly, with the perfect background music to wrap your ears in a warm blanket and help you get to work.
These titles are strange, I know, but Limes is the artist, and Fresh Squeezed is the album. This album has been the background of most of my accomplishments. I find as I move forward, I attach small memories and good feelings to the music. What I have done in the past resonates with me while I work in the present.
Plus, there's underlying Spongebob references that only an avid watcher would catch. My favorite track is "Moon Beams." It's really soothing but won't lull you to sleep. It helps me fall into the good ole routine of getting to work and not just considering it.
This song is more hypnotic. It has more beats per measure and seems to take me completely out of mundane tasks. It's spacey and modern. I like the artist's style and personality. Their Spotify profile is unique and tailored to them. Even the name and art are interesting. I love that artists can get a point across without saying a single word. The title Think for Yourself is fitting; the artist offers no aid. Their opinion is missing, so the listener gets to fill in their own. Some things are better that way.
This is a Lo-Fi type beat that really brings nostalgic feelings out of me. When I am not working, I listen to rap most often. I grew up listening to his beats, and he is one of my favorite producers.
Though, when I'm working, I usually do not listen to vocals. So when I came across this song on a Lo-fi beat radio, I had to add it to my playlist, since, it has become a staple for when I want to get stuff done and enjoy myself in the process.
P.S for those of who are thinking ”that isn't a Lo-Fi Beat.” Listen to it, and you may feel differently
Almost Lyricless Honorable Mentions
This song is awesome and super relaxing. Do not be scared. It's close enough to being lyricless that if you slip it in your playlist, I doubt it will bother you.
Bonus tip for those with extra time: The video creates suspense that never actually materializes, and it's a great example of a song and video brimming with creativity.
Extremely powerful song. There are words, but I can't understand them or even register it as language when listening. The beat is just really thunderous and motivating. Another song that makes you feel like you're in a movie.
This one is the most vocally populated song in our honorable mentions list. Miguel's voice is so buttery and easy on the ears that I simply couldn't resist.
Music as a Tool
Lyricless music is proven to be beneficial for focus and wellbeing. But, it cannot do all the work, and the brain is really the one in control. You have to manipulate music to do what you want. You cannot try and make yourself more productive by switching up your playlist while ignoring your environment. The TV calling for your attention will eventually win. Will power is limited. Allow yourself the best opportunity for success and use Classical music and Lo-Fi beats to power your work.
“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
Music is fuel; it's an energy that keeps you going, It propels you forward, for longer, and stronger. I am wishing you the best of luck.