Automate Your Business

Practical Advice to Improve Your Personal & Business Productivity

- David Grant

We’d like to introduce a semi-regular segment to our newsletters highlighting your opportunity to leverage technology to support your business. The topics may range from what we think of as traditional “automation” where tools or technology will take over a task for you to more of a hack to save you time and energy as you improve processes and increase your productivity. We’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas for future articles. If you have an idea, feel free to let us know here: For today, we have a simple recommendation to help you and your staff to get into the right environment to be productive.

  • If you want to focus, turn off the music.

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but you actually focus better in silence than with music playing. A study published in the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning* compared student retention in environments with no music, listening to soft classical music, and those reading while listening to hip hop. The result showed that as music intensity increased, student retention decreased. Most surprisingly was that the soft classical music results did not differ remarkably from the hip hop music. The study suggested this was due to melodies within the music that caught attention and, even when the student was unaware, drew from mental energy as the brain followed along.

  • If you want to avoid a mutiny, you may still want to have some music playing

Of course, there are benefits to our job satisfaction to be had with music playing in a workspace. You may ultimately get more out of your staff by choosing to have music playing over radio silence. The most ideal choices are to have low-key music with few or no lyrics. The study showed that music with a foreign language was helpful over a known language, if there are lyrics at all, because the brain will ignore what it cannot understand.

  • You can still use music to your advantage.

Try having targeted focus times and choose to play non-intrusive sounds to drown out chatter and other distractions. This could be chill music, rain, or flowing water. But consider having some more shared upbeat times during breaks, around meetings, or just at various points in the day where there is an opportunity to “pump up the jams” a little for some team building and excitement.

  • Shared speakers are a great way to make this happen.

One challenge to a workspace is disconnection. If people want something playing, but you’ve decided “silence is golden,” they may opt for their own tunes in their headphones which detracts from an opportunity for collaboration. CTSi is a SONOS provider which is a fantastic option to allow for wireless connectivity to your favorite streaming apps with zone control to allow a measure of unique experience while still encouraging staff participation in their office music selections. You may find this to be a great way to move to the more exciting tunes to lead people into meetings or lunch time. Great options exists on the SONOS system for those times of concentration as well. As some of your team make the shift to work together once more, consider working with CTSi to select a SONOS or other AV system to meet your office needs.

*Study available at