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My Productivity Playlist + How Music Can Up Your Productivity

I’m Jenna, and I’m one of Media A La Carte’s Summer 2022 Interns! I’m so excited to jump into one of my favorite topics: music.

For me, music is a huge part of my life. Whether I’m hanging out with friends, going for a drive, cleaning my room, on a walk, at the gym, you name it– I ALWAYS have music with me. They say AirPods are a girl’s best friend :). Music can truly be for any occasion and make a situation more enjoyable and reflective. It's also my partner in crime to productivity. I use music as an outlet to take me through the steps of my day.

As a social media intern with Media À La Carte, I do a lot of digital work across social media, as well as writing and strategizing, organizing schedules, and creating content. Some of my days are remote, while others are spent in-person at The Wing in Bryant Park, NYC. Wherever I’m working, I knew I needed to find my groove to keep me on-task and productive as I move through assignments for the summer.

When it comes to getting things done or being productive in general, sometimes beginning the tasks at hand may not come so quickly. Everyone has their own way to get in the zone, but if you’re someone like me, it can be tough to switch gears and jump right in. I did some trial and error – yes, I have even tried the fast-paced Mario Kart music trend – and found a simple solution that works for me: combining my favorite music to jam to with calm, coffee house vibes. I present to you: Jenna’s Country Coffeehouse – my productivity playlist.

Before you stop reading because I mentioned country music, HEAR ME OUT – if you find the right artists, some country music has great messages and can be a very calming start to your morning or end to your night. Going to college in the south (Elon University in North Carolina) has definitely helped me become a sucker for country music. But I kept finding myself putting on my favorite tunes even when I began my homework. Typically, my rule of thumb isn’t to listen to Today’s Top Hits while doing work because I’ll end up “singing along” instead of “moving along” in my work. But I’ve found some of my favorite country tunes actually help me focus on the task at hand.

According to a study by Trends in Cognitive Sciences about the Neurology of music, it has been measured in scientific studies that music improves health and well-being through the engagement of neurochemical systems that impact reward, motivation, pleasure, stress, and social affiliation. It demonstrates the direct impacts music has on the brain, and when used the right way, it can trigger the motivation to focus.

Some country artists you’ll hear tons of on this playlist are Morgan Wallen, Russell Dickerson, Jason Aldean, and Luke Combs.

Another aspect of productivity is finding a work environment you can thrive in. At Elon, I fell in love with the calm, neutral, interior of on-campus coffee shops. The surroundings were a perfect mix of studious behavior and social behavior that helped create a balance of being in an enjoyable place, but being there to be productive. This is where the “Coffee House” aspect of my playlist comes in. It’s safe to say some of the coffee house music was inspired by the playlists I hear in Elon’s coffee shops. I’m a person who loves natural lighting, so I recommend finding a spot near big windows if you take give this playlist a play.

Coffeehouse artists on this playlist include the Lumineers, Cage the Elephant, Vance Joy, and even some Rex Orange County makes an appearance here.

This playlist on my Spotify combines my favorite, calmer country songs that help me enjoy what I’m listening to with coffeehouse-inspired tunes that get me in the mellow vibe. The idea is to mix songs that put the mind at ease to focus with songs that are enjoyable to keep you awake while you type, read, or study away.

So what can you take away from this if you still hate country music? Productivity looks different for everyone. For me, I say take a little of what you love and a little discipline and find that happy medium. I hope you can apply this to your next productivity playlist. Take a listen to mine here!

If you want to read more about my music perspective, check out my personal music blog here!

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