Plato once said, “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Having spent 15 years in radio, most of them at BBC6Music with a radio on 24/7 while beavering away at work, I honestly believe that music has been a force for good in driving up my creativity and productivity.
But was I wrong? You see the science around all this is very mixed.
Firstly in the music corner...
Research carried out by Goldsmith's College in London found that when it comes to listening and work performance, more than half (52%) of listeners say they wouldn’t be successful at work if they didn’t listen to music.
“Generally, music can have a strong stimulating effect that makes us alert and focused,” says Daniel Müllensiefen, a professor of music psychology at the London University.
However, psychologists at the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Gävle in Sweden, who conducted an experiment on background music and how it affects performance on creative tasks concluded that (drum-roll), "background music of any kind seemed to be a major distraction for the participants as they tried to complete their creative tasks."
In particular, study boffin Dr.Neil McLatchie claimed that music with familiar lyrics significantly impaired participants' creativity and focus, "regardless of whether the music also boosted mood, induced a positive mood, was liked by the participants, or whether participants typically studied in the presence of music."
So, if the science around all this is startlingly contradictory what do the people in the creative world think of music and their productivity. We put a question to our wonderful creative designers on Twitter.
Ask and you shall receive...
First up Charlotte, who has gone for music with lyrics. We'll admit this is a guilty pleasure of ours, but we do wonder if a rendition of A Million Dreams while working would truly help. We'd be inclined to agree with the studies claiming lyrics are counterproductive.
Right now, The Greatest Showman soundtrack
— Charlotte Peterson (@CrazyCGChick) May 21, 2019
Maybe freelance designer Anna has the right idea with her "carpet" music...
I need a "carpet" so electronic music, some classical, liquid d&b...strictly no words 🙂
— Anna Negrini (@pannacida) May 21, 2019
Some of you break it down by task, we're guessing faster beats = faster work pace...
Depends on the type of work: Deadline approaching super fast: Dance Music. Trying to conceptualise new branding: ambient / lounge. Doing admin: Pop music ALL the way 🎵🎶
— hausofwest (@hausofwest) May 21, 2019
Turns out music isn't for everyone though, Elaine a designer from Detroit needs the volume dialled right down...
Now, while none of this is pure science, it does show that we all have different ways of working. Music for most creatives it would seem can give them the edge.
Myself? Well, I'm certainly not a lyric man and would sway more towards the tastes of Daniel, a motion graphic designer...
Anjunabeats/deep house type stuff.
— Daniel Bayley (@danielbayley) May 21, 2019
One thing we do know is that right now there has never been a greater time to explore what style of music (if any) works for you while you work.
Spotify has curated playlists that include, "Beats to think to" or "Music for Concentration".
Being a designer or a creative on days when you're not doing client meetings or making phone calls, often means you can put the headphones on and crack into your work. It's a luxury say, bankers or customer services staff don't have.
As Truffle Talent's social guy, I'm always listening to music, it helps the flow and can spur my creativity.
I work remotely and need to feel like I'm not completely alone.
So, I'll leave you with my own headphone moment and hope you'll indulge me for 5 minutes while you work...
Written by Adrian Larkin, Truffle Talent's Social Media Director.
It's that time of year when we all scratch our heads and wonder how on earth Christmas has come around again so quickly, and now the enormous task of finding the right gifts for all those special people in our lives.
Well, we’ve come up with 7 ideas for creative peeps that will have stockings filled quicker than a Bansky picture getting shredded...
01 Women Design Book
This book really does it for us. As two female bosses, we are moved by these inspirational designers from the world of architecture, product design and digital. It's a brilliant book and one to have out on the coffee table so when you need some magic in your life you can turn the pages and be utterly inspired.
Priced at £20 from Counter-Print.
02 Sakura Pigma Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set
Who doesn't like a little doodle or a sketch every now and again? With these pens, your creative friend will be in safe hands. The online reviews are great and as the description says you'll "experience smooth, skip-free writing and crisp ink colours that leave consistent lettering and lines every time." It's on Truffle's Social Media Dad's list.
Priced at £1.65 a pen from Graff City.
03 Newby Teas
Every creative needs a nice strong cup of tea to keep them going, and the wonderful guys at Newby have "painstakingly sourced, blended and preserved" some of the world's finest teas. Our pick for Christmas is the Alpine Greeting Silken Pyramid Assortment which is the jewel of their gifting range.
Priced at £35.00 from Newby Teas.
04 Wall Art
The turning of a new year is the perfect excuse to subtly refresh someone's wall and East End Prints is our tip for show-stopping contemporary art. You'll also have the feel-good factor as everytime you buy a print they donate to the Cool Earth Charity. Our pick of the bunch is artist Oshe POP! aka Stu Watkin.
Prices £19.95 upwards from East End Prints.
05 Subscription to Posterzine
Posterzine is the only poster in the world that is registered with the British Library as a magazine. The idea is simple. They comission some of the world's leading visual artists and designers to create beautifully printed monograph magazines that fold out into a large format poster. Your creative friend is going to love getting one of these in the post every month.
Priced at £37 for 6 issues from Posterzine
06 BUBM Cable Bag
As recruiters, we know a thing or two about our creatives and one thing we're sure of is somewhere they'll have a drawer full of tangled cables for all their tech. That's where the Cable Tidy Bag comes in, it stores loads of stuff and can be carried easily in another bag. No more untangling needed, just more time being creative.
Priced at £7.99 from Amazon.
07 Minipresso Portable Espresso Machine
The Minipresso Portable Espresso Machine is genius and the perfect gift for the creative freelancer on the move. It doesn't even need batteries, so working remotely on the hoof, no problem. Simply keep it filled with hot water and coffee grounds and an espresso can be ready within minutes, wherever they chose to work.
Priced at £49.95 from CuckooLand.
We started Truffle with the view that once the initial invoices were paid our next step would be to invest in an office. We did exactly that.
Truffle joined friends that ran another independent agency in their Shoreditch space. We bought some mugs, took over a couple of shelves and started browsing comfy office chairs. Why aren't we there now? 2 months after moving in we had used the office 4 times. Why? People are busy and it makes more sense for us to hook up nearer to their space, gives both parties more time to chat.
Plus, going into the same office every day felt a little stale. One of our key drivers for setting up Truffle Talent was to not be in a 9-5 environment.
Let's also not forget the rush hour commuting and those train fares going up.
Over 5 years in and we have no Truffle home (sty). We're very happy nomads. But why exactly? Well, here's our take on remote working the Truffle way...
Emma, Chief of Truffle HQ
Mish, Chief of Truffle Towers
In Truffle Towers our work is full on, 1000 miles an hour, non-stop, busy productive chaos and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am the type of person who thrives on the pressure of a deadline and spinning a zillion plates. It makes me tick. However, add to this two small children, school/ nursery/ childcare arrangements, bills (so many bills), a kitten, a husband, food shopping, cleaning, trying to keep fit, eating healthily and maintaining my sanity – well that’s when a good work-life balance means the difference between success and failure.
Top reasons I love working remotely:
Adrian, Chief of Truffle Social Space
I used to sit on a bulletins desk in a BBC newsroom for 10 hours straight, and sometimes I'd start work at 5 a.m. I'd get 30 minutes break if I was lucky in between reading the news on the radio. That work pattern, when kids came along, began to take its toll. It was energy sapping and the constant on-air deadlines and shifts made it hard with a wife who was putting in 12 hour days in the city. I reinvented myself, started working from home and I will never look back for these reasons:
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Truffle is made up of experienced and trusted consultants with backgrounds in creative and digital recruitment from leading agencies. Our clients keep coming back to us because we're straight talking, proactive and in tune with our marketplace. We don’t believe in the ‘hard sell’ approach, we're organic in the way we work and this works well for our clients.
Like the sound of Truffle? We'd love to sit down over a cuppa and learn more about you and how we can help…