Plug in to tune out
How music and personal hobbies can make you feel more productive and less overwhelmed while working from home
How music and personal hobbies can make you feel more productive and less overwhelmed while working from homeBy Lena Glutting and Ryan Aldous University Relations
Music helps me maintain productivity. When I was working from home for my Spring Term co-op, you could usually find me jamming out to music through my headphones, laptop, my phone or my speaker. I don’t function well without some sort of white noise in the background, so I found that music helped replace the sounds you’d typically hear at the office.
Looking back, a silver lining to the lockdown had been that a lot of artists were finding time to write new music or set up future tour dates that fans could look forward to. So new music releases had become something that I got really excited about during my work-from-home experience — especially when it was from my all-time favourite artists. I also enjoyed experimenting in Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music during that time to see which one had better-curated playlists or which one could make me a playlist where I liked the most songs being suggested.
During my remote workday, I found that music helped me focus, especially when I was knee deep in spreadsheet work. It helped make the day go by faster. Overall, I felt that music kept me in a good mood throughout the day and I'd recommend that people working from home for the first time should invest in a streaming service. If you don’t like music playing in the background, a podcast is a nice way to learn something new or listen to something that interests you.
My music range is pretty much anything that's easy to listen to, ranging from alternative to pop to country. Here are some songs I’d recommend from my personal playlist:
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job with the Government Relations team at the University of Waterloo during Spring Term. I got to collaborate with a smart, fun and supportive group of people, while performing meaningful work that will have a positive impact on my career going forward. But as Alexis said in an earlier article,, it’s important to find a good balance between your work life and your personal life. One of the best ways I was able to do that while working remotely was to find a balance by focusing on a few of my hobbies.
Being a Recreation and Sport Business student, I’ve learned so much about the benefits that come with participating in recreation and leisure activities. I could spend hours singing their praises. In short, a few benefits of recreation and leisure participation include stress reduction, personal satisfaction, development of social relationships and an overall improvement in quality of life.
That is why, during my remote co-op, I tried to set aside at least a couple hours a night to focus on some of my favourite hobbies. In Spring Term, that included playing sports, practicing guitar and playing online games with friends from around the world.
Playing sports with my roommates offered the opportunity to clear my mind, while getting some fresh air and physical activity. Playing guitar developed my musical abilities, while providing the personal satisfaction that comes with learning a new skill. Gaming online with my friends allowed me to build on my social relationships with people that I hadn't had the chance to see during the pandemic.
All of these activities provided various benefits, but overall, they contributed to a positive mindset and better well-being. This allowed me to re-focus every morning and tackle the next day’s work-from-home tasks with motivation and a positive attitude.
The Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) is home to tons of clubs and societies to connect you with other students and help you find your next hobby or interest. Check out WUSA Clubs to discover the club for you!