You update your to-do list, organize your workspace, and get to work. You’re determined to be productive, but an hour later you’re still staring at a blank Word document or re-reading the same page of your textbook again for the fourth time.
When you find yourself tuning out, you shouldn’t write the day off as an unproductive one — Often, all you need is some cool background music to get your mind back on track. Helping to maintain focus, mask interruptions, and minimize internal thoughts, 79% of people say they’re more productive when listening to music while they work. But, it really depends on your playlist… While heavy metal may prove too distracting, a mellow track could be just what you need when your mind starts to wander.
EduBirdie analyzed 50 of the most popular playlists for productivity on Spotify to determine the best music to listen to while studying or working. If you find the workday dragging and your time going to waste, these motivating tracks will be music to your ears.
Tune in to success: Top songs to boost your work productivity
The top three tracks to turn around an unproductive workday
Dua Lipa - “Levitating”
If you’re looking for an artist to pull you out of a productivity slump, few do high energy melodies and upbeat lyrics better than Dua Lipa. “Levitating” tops the lot, featuring on productivity playlists more than any other tune, it’s on track to become the most listened to song among those seeking a little motivation. It’s exactly what you would expect: four minutes of high tempo pop music from start to finish that promises to re-energize you when you start to feel sluggish. With a catchy, repetitive chorus, it’s easy listening music for work — You can sing along as much as you want without losing your train of thought.
- Bruno Mars - “Just the Way You Are”
While Dua Lipa tops the charts, productive music doesn’t necessarily have to be excessively energetic. Sometimes all you need to keep the mind focused is an uplifting message and a beat you can tap along to — Cue “Just the Way You Are”. Perhaps it's the romantic lyrics that make us feel good, reminding us of our own loved one and giving us the burst of motivation we need to do what we need to do. Or perhaps it's Bruno Mars’ soothing voice, which acts as a stress reliever. When work gets on top of us, those few relaxing minutes offer just what we need to take a breath, compose ourselves, and get on with the task at hand.
- The Neighborhood - “Sweater Weather”
Over a decade old, The Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather” can now be considered a classic. Yet, despite its age, it continues to top many productivity playlists and has earned more than 2.5 billion streams and counting. And for good reason. The indie hit offers a fast-paced instrumental that can pump you up to finally tackle your to-do list, but (thanks to its mellow tone and dreamlike sound) without being too distracting… It makes for the perfect background music to listen to while working.
Top of the productivity charts: Frequent motivational playlists features
You might assume that productivity playlists are full of lively tracks designed to boost your energy levels. And they are — No song features more frequently than Dua Lipa’s “Levitating”, and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire” or OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried” aren’t far behind — but that isn’t all they offer.
Whether a song motivates us is often determined by our natural personalities. The best music for work productivity may be something upbeat if you’re extraverted, but introverts may benefit more from a calming track. The top playlists reflect this diversity. For every “Last Friday Night” to raise your energy levels, there’s a “Just The Way You Are” to calm the mind.
So next time you find your keyboard silent and your mind wandering away from your work desk, put on this playlist and see what works best for you.
Methodology: To create the study, EduBirdie examined 50 of the most popular productivity playlists on Spotify, and ranked each song by the number of features.