10 Songs to Jumpstart Your Motivation at Work

10 Songs to Jumpstart Your Motivation at Work

It’s raining. It’s pouring. You’re almost snoring — at work. When you’re feeling low and uninspired at work, there’s an easy way to jumpstart your motivation. Turn on your speakers, turn up the volume, and listen to some music to lift your spirits.

It’s no surprise that music has been scientifically proven to lift moods and motivate people. As an example, the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that listening to music regulated mood and increased self-awareness. More recent research even indicates that music activates the brain’s reward center, making people more motivated to achieve as they listen to music.

Curious if music will help you jumpstart your motivation, but unsure what songs to choose? Here’s a list of 10 songs to add to your playlist today.

1. Better than Ever — Flight Facilities featuring Aloe Blacc

“It doesn’t matter how stuck I feel, when I pop Flight Facilities’ ‘Better than Ever’ on — my feet start tapping and my shoulders start shrugging,” says Jazz O’Donnell, freelance copywriter at Barefoot Copywriter. “I’m never sure if it is the upbeat and positive lyrics that put a huge, sassy smile on my face or the fact that it is impossible to not move to that beat! As soon as my body starts moving, the creativity starts to flow and by the time the song is done, I’m busting to get on with whatever project is in front of me!”

2. Harder, Better, Faster — Daft Punk

“No motivational playlist of mine is complete without ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’,” says Linsey Covino, a digital marketing manager in healthcare. “Between the driving lyrics and the electronic musical components, it somehow makes me feel like whatever task I’m taking on is made for me to tackle and thrive. It has a ‘never give up, even when it’s tough’ undertone to it that gives me motivation to work.” 

3. Fly Away – Tones and I

Jonelle Elizabeth, a trauma-informed educator, says, “Fly Away speaks to me. It’s a reminder that taking the path less traveled comes with challenges, but when you know you are meant for more you keep pushing. Plus it’s just one of those songs that you want to belt out at the top of your lungs! It gets me pumped, focused, and inspired every time.”

4. Your Hand in Mine — Explosions in the Sky 

“The song ‘Your Hand in Mine’ by Explosions in the Sky gets me in the space to empathize and be fully present with my patients,” says therapist Brienne Patricio. “It reminds me that everyone has grief, hardships, and also something to celebrate and champion. It reminds me that I can help people move through the world in a more effective way.”

5. Don’t Worry Be Happy — Bobby McFerrin

Sure, mental health days are becoming more popular — for good reason — in today’s workforce, but we simply (and unfortunately) can’t take a day off to relax every time we feel stressed or anxious. Here’s a cure for a bad day: listen to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It’s impossible not to smile when listening to this 80s song. You’ll get the motivation to chin up and keep going. Plus, I’ll bet you can’t help but sing along too.

6. Eye of the Tiger — Survivor

“’Eye of the Tiger’ works every time to just get you pumped,” says David Faria, a health systems specialist. It’s a great song to play when you’re up against a big challenge or about to present in front of a crowd. Don’t forget to turn up the volume just a little bit when it comes on.

7. Hand’s Dirty — Delta Rae

“I love listening to ‘Hands Dirty’ by Delta Rae,” says Cristin Downs, executive coach for women. “It has this put-your-stake-in-the-ground energy, and for whatever reason, that’s what it feels like when I need to get to work.”

8. No, No, No, No — Destiny’s Child

Holly Souza, an office manager for a life insurance and investment company says, “As someone who calls our current clients every quarter to check in and offer them additional services, one song that inspires me at work is ‘No, No, No’ by Destiny’s Child. Although it may seem silly, the beat is great and the lyrics remind me of my conversations. Just like the song, many clients say no, no, no at first, but if they give us the opportunity to explain the features and benefits they eventually say yeah, yeah, yeah.”

9. Sail Away — Enya

“‘Sail Away’ by Enya manages to be both relaxing and invigorating at the same time,” says Cisco Covino, a psychiatric nurse. “It’s the perfect song for when you’re taking a quick break from work but will need to dive back in.”

10. Don’t Stop Me Now — Queen

“Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is the optimal combination of chaos and high energy — perfect for getting me unstuck during a tough work day,” says Natalie Gates a freelance copywriter. “It makes me want to stand up from my desk, channel my inner Freddie, and shake out the writing block or low energy. Then the way it ‘da-da-das’ at the end is just the melody I need to guide me back into the zone and start cranking out client work.”

Are any of these songs on your current playlist? If not, try a few out! You never know which one will give you the best motivation to finish your work day strong.

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Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila is a content strategist and writer who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform — and even transform — its intended audience. Reach out to her on Instagram at @ErinOllila, or visit her website erinollila.com.