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Whistle While You Work

While we may love our jobs (I certainly do!), sometimes there are laborious, not fun and downright mundane tasks that have to get done. Just ask Kylee, who’s currently sitting behind me, manually cross-referencing thousands of lines of many mountains of sheets of paper, looking for repeated data.

Nobody likes these tasks, but no matter who you are or what you do, everybody has to do the proverbial dishes at some point in their working week. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t ‘plug in’ to some high energy, repetitive music to help me get it done.

I am a musicophile and would, in almost all circumstances, drown out the open-plan office phone chatter in an instant. Fortunately for me, a large portion of my role is creative and autonomous, for which I find music even more of a blessing.

Let this be a guide only, but here’s a brief list of music styles that I like listening to at work. If you hate the music, you’re probably going to tear your hair out and not get a lot of work done!


Working on a huge project? If you need to get creative and empowered, look no further than some epic metal subgenres like symphonic, melodic, progressive, even ‘mathcore’. Flaming guitar riffs, howling vocals and high tempo drumming, this level of intensity may not be for everyone (note: screaming) but it does aid in drowning out inconsistent talking or phone conversations typical of an open plan environment. It certainly allows me to be my most creative when working on a major design project (and it’s proven to make plants grow faster). Science!

DragonForce – Operation Ground and Pound – headphones, please!


Mozart, Bach, Glass, Satie, Liszt – there is so much out there to explore, and no shortage of studies that claim boosts to mood and productivity much like classical music – it can help you sleep better, lower blood pressure, and generally make you smarter! If I am at a critical point in a project, and the stress levels begin to rise, then I head straight to my favourite:

Frederic Chopin – Waltz in C- Sharp Minor, Op 64 No. 2

Hip Hop

Generally as a rule, the music you listen to at work should be free of complex lyrical content – so some hip hop music may not be suitable, depending on your tastes. If it’s popularised hip hop that is your ‘jam’, then I suggest limiting it to simplistic, repetitive drum machine style hip hop – excellent motivation for the mundane tasks like Kylee’s. Otherwise for a more calming, cognitive/creative boost, try listening to a subgenre that’s emerging online – lo-fi hip hop.

Lo-fi hip hop radio on YouTube

Electronic Dance Music

While I don’t personally enjoy it, studies have shown that dance music came top of list in increasing performance and accuracy while proof reading, solving maths equations and word problems.

Darude – Sandstorm

Doof doof.

Ben Giltrap



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