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These are the Most (and Least) Distracting Songs to Listen to at Work

Woman listening to music

Most of us like to listen to some music while we work to help the time go by. But what happens when you have a catchy song stuck in your head and can’t focus, or your find yourself being lulled to sleep by what’s playing in your headphones? Business Name Generator has researched the best and worst songs to listen to for productivity, with some big-name artists making the cut.

The most productive songs for working are pop

The team examined 1,700 songs and looked at the most popular ones to see how people performed written tasks while listening to the tracks. They were scored based on the words they typed per minute, the accuracy and the amount of time it took to complete the tasks. For the results, Maroon 5′s “Memories” took the top spot, with a score of 9.7, followed by Ed Sheeran’s song “Bad Habits,” which scored 9.3 and “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers, which nabbed a score of 8.9.

Other songs on the list included “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles and “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes. The full list is available here.

“Memories” had the lowest beats per minute out of the songs that made the top 10, with 91 beats per minute. The participants who listened to the track while completing tasks took 3 minutes and 47 seconds to finish, averaging the highest ranking at 67 words per minute.

Related: Scientifically, Harry Styles is the most polite musician.

The songs to avoid are a mix of pop, dance and indie

Hailee Steinfeld’s track “Let Me Go” was the worst song for participants to be productive to, with a score of 1.6. Vance Joy’s indie-folk song “Riptide” came in as the second-worst song with a score of 3.7 and Lewis Capaldi’s ballad “Someone You Loved” was the third, with 3.9 as the final score.

Other songs that scored lower included Tiesto’s dance/house track “The Business” and dance/indie song “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals.


While the research by no means is suggesting that these songs aren’t bangers (well, maybe except for “Someone You Loved,” which is a pretty sad song), the data reveals that they aren’t the ideal tracks to have on your work playlist.

Related: Can listening to sad music help mend your broken heart? Research says yes.

Music can impact how productive you are at work

The team also had participants listen to the most common track for focus on Spotify and the results showed that the task was completed in 4 minutes and 28 seconds. They finished at 56 words per minute with 96 per cent accuracy, compared to working with no music.

When listening to no music, participants took 20 seconds longer to finish the task, and worked at a slower pace of 53 words per minute. The accuracy remained the same at 96 per cent.

So, the next time you need to power through your workday and get a ton of things completed, it might be worth making a playlist with lots of Maroon 5 and Ed Sheeran as their upbeat tunes might just help you hammer out all your tasks.

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