Listening To Music At Work: A Solid Playlist to Increase Productivity

Every superhero manager needs to focus when he’s battling workplace villains.

One of the best ways to do so? Plug in headphones and listen to some tunes.

There’s debate on whether or not listening to music at work increases productivity. A 2010 study actually showed people fared worse on memory tasks while listening to music in the background, even if it was soothing classical music.

But music at work does help – there’s just a time a place for it.

Listening to music releases dopamine in the reward area of the brain, which can lead to a more positive mood. Music also makes repetitive tasks less daunting.

We at headquarters offer this tip: Listen to music:

  • during duller tasks, like going through your email inbox, and
  • as a quick break before or after digging into work.

We can attest that listening to some of the music recommendations on our list while writing an important memo would probably be a distraction.

But there’s nothing like a quick music break to charge up your superpowers for the next item on your to-do list. Here’s the Managers are Heroes playlist for productivity:

Chopin’s Nocturnes

Worklplace Playlist - music-meister-villain

We start the list with the music of a classical legend: Frédéric Chopin.

Chopin only lived 39 years, but he left behind a treasure trove of beautiful piano compositions. Luckily for us, they’re great to listen to at work, too.

We specifically recommend Chopin’s nocturnes: 21 solo piano pieces that are considered definitive classical music.

Anything by Chopin is great. But his nocturnes are perfect to calm you down after a day of meetings or while sorting through endless emails.



Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits

There was a scene in I Am Legend where Will Smith’s character describes why he loves Bob Marley’s music so much.

In the movie, Smith is fighting blood-thirsty mutants and trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic New York City. As he plays Marley’s “Stir it Up,” he tells another human survivor that he can’t take a day off from fighting the darkness.

Superhero managers are constantly battling workplace villains, too. Which is why Marley’s feel-good tunes are the perfect antidote to negativity.



Back in Black

If you remember seeing Iron Man 2, there was a lot of AC/DC tunes. There’s a reason for that. The Australian rock legends’ music can fire just about anyone up (especially Tony Stark).

We at headquarters recommend AC/DC’s top-selling album, Back in Black. It features classics like “Hells Bells,” “Shoot to Thrill” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.”

Back in Black is perfect for when you’re feeling drained in the afternoon and you need a burst of energy. So trade in that cup of coffee for Angus Young’s blaring guitar and Brain Johnson’s vocals.



Norah Jones

For number four on our list, we’ll tone it back down again with Norah Jones’ second album, Feels Like Home. Even superheroes need to chill sometimes.

Feels Like Home wasn’t as well-received by critics as Jones’ debut album, but it still has some excellent and relaxing songs. Our favorite at headquarters is “Be Here to Love Me,” an awesome cover of a Townes Van Zandt song.

No matter what Norah Jones album you listen to, it’s bound to relax you before digging into work or fighting a workplace villain.



Kind of Blue

We’ll close the list with the best-selling jazz album of all-time: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.

Similar to other picks on the list, Davis’ trumpet solos are perfect for calming you down and helping you focus. If you listen while you’re working, after a while the sounds blend into the background seamlessly.

Kind of Blue is considered jazz’s greatest album for good reason. The recording sessions featured jazz icons like John Coltrane and “Cannonball” Adderley.

Give it a listen and you’ll know why it’s ideal for you work playlist.


Fighting workplace villains is a tough job, so depend on these songs to give you inspiration throughout your day. A little music adds some color to the workplace and makes things less dreary, especially when facing typical superhero manager challenges.

Let us know what you think about the Managers Are Heroes playlist and, more importantly, let us know in the comments section what music you listen to at work.


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