When I was in college, I had a designated study spot: the window seat at the table at the top of the second floor stairs in the engineering building. Everything about that spot was perfect for concentrating, from the natural lighting to the height of the table.
Of course, I wasn’t the only occupant of that table. When someone else was sitting there, I’d quickly search for the next closest seat, hoping that even being in close proximity would help me focus. Otherwise, I’d spend more time worrying about how I was going to concentrate while studying than I actually spent studying.
Then a friend sent me a link that he believed could rival the effectiveness of my perfect study seat: a five-hour long compilation of video game soundtracks. He was right. After that, I could sit at practically any table in any building and go into full study mode. I just had to have video game music playing in the background.
It turns out I’m not alone in this habit. The CEO of Zerply (the LinkedIn for entertainment professionals) has said that video game soundtracks play a huge role in his productivity at work. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that ambient music, like lyric-less gaming music, played at a moderate volume can boost your creativity and potentially improve your attention span. These results are probably linked to the purpose of video game compositions: keeping your focus on the game without being too distracting. The repetitive melodies don’t make you feel obligated to pay super close attention, but their pulses and pleasant tones are surprisingly motivating. Add that to the list of the many ways music improves your life.
The best part is that you don’t need to be sitting in a certain spot for this type of music to affect you. That is, unless you end up hating the sound altogether. Then you won’t get any work done.