541: Get Stuff Done

What’s your go-to get-stuff-done song?

Full episode script

It almost doesn’t need saying – music has a big impact on our brains. There’s an entire field of study called neuro-musicology that studies that impact that music can have on us, our brains, our emotions, and even our unconscious reactions. There’s a huge body of research about how music can impact people — far more than I could possibly ever review in just a few minutes.

Part of that is because, as Norman M. Weinberger explained in a 2006 Scientific American article, the impact music has on each of us varies according to a number of factors. How much training you’ve had with music, how many personal experiences you’ve had with that particular piece of music — or music in general — can impact your experiences. So can the type and style of music itself.

No matter what your experience level in general with music, listening to it can often help you focus and get things done. Depending on the study you read, the type of music that’s most effective can vary. One study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 1994, found that when a surgeon listens to music, they tend to be more successful in surgery. It’s more effective when the surgeon gets to choose the music, but is effective even if they don’t.

The type of music can also have a big impact on what you are trying to do. For repetitive and monotonous tasks, music with lyrics might just have the biggest impact, because it helps your brain avoid boredom. For tasks where more focus is required, more ambient music with no lyrics may be better. And if you want to identify numbers or do better with math, very driving rock music may be the best.

In shot, it’s incredibly individual thing, as music often is. So what do you listen to when you really need to dig in and get something done?

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.