Pete Quoted in CNN Article on Using Music at Work to Help You Focus

I was quoted today on CNN’s website on an interesting article called “Listening to music at work — dos and don’ts”by Anthony Balderrama

Listening to music at work can be more than just fun for some people. According to Peter Quily, adult Attention Deficit Disorder coach, music can have a physiological effect on his patients who suffer from adult ADD. According to Quily, listening to music boosts the levels of neurotransmitter dopamine, a brain chemical that can help people focus.

Some of Quily’s clients listen to music when they can’t focus or when they’re performing a task they find boring. People who have ADHD often have dopamine levels that are low or quickly used up, and the music is a welcome help.

For some of his clients, music is just another distraction that they don’t need. And while many workers can’t imagine a day without music, plenty of people, such as Jay Levitt, prefer to leave the tunes outside of work hours.”

Check out the full article.

Just a clarification, I don’t have patients, but I do have Adult ADHD coaching clients

Music can also help Adults with ADHD (and non ADDers too) get motivated and focused to do things around the house that they may find boring like housework, cleaning, doing the dishes etc. Pick the music you like, crank it up or put on the headphones and go at it. I know some people that just use white noise to do it.

Some students with ADHD use music to help them focus or just to tune out the other noise around them so they can concentrate better.

I even have a play list on itunes called a wake up list that contains music that I find energizing and stimulating that I use from time to time. You might want consider creating one or more playlists on itunes or your ipod / mp3 player for the same purpose.

But it’s also important to notice what types of tasks you have to do at work, school or home when music won’t be useful and is an actual distraction.

How do you use music at work/school/home to help you focus? What kind works for you?

7 thoughts on “Pete Quoted in CNN Article on Using Music at Work to Help You Focus”

  1. Adria Richards


    Interesting! I personally love to listen to music. I get more done and stay “on task”. It’s especially nice at the grocery store where I drown out the screams of children and people arguing about which potatoes to get. I take out my headphones if I’m checking out with someone otherwise I just use the self-checkout that most major grocery stores have.

    The hard thing is to remember to restart my music after I’m done with a phone call or interruption. I listen to all sorts of music. I have an upbeat list, one for slow jams, and a workout/snowboarding playlist when I want to get wild!

    I even ones for job interviews which includes Macy Gray’s “Do Something, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and the Black Eyed Peas “Anxiety”. You can catch them on my About page on my blog.

  2. thanks Adria,

    yes multiple playlists are very useful, one task type/mood doesn’t fit all.

    Smart idea to do a job interview playlist, haven’t heard that one before.

  3. Pete –
    As an adult with ADHD, I have found moments (that can easily turn into days) when I cannot focus. When I recognize that my lack of attention and/or procrastination is shutting me down, I turn to my music. Once I have my music in place, I can turn my focus back on like a light switch. Personally, I find the complexities of Mozart can both stimulate my produictivity and, at the same time, relax and soothe me.

    Thanks for all you do and your consistent, professional service to those dealing with ADHD.

  4. Wow, I thought I was strange that I loved to listen to music while doing things and that it helps me get them done. The strangest of all is and what I take the most ribbing about is when I listen to music while studying…I just CANNOT study without music, I just can’t concentrate.

  5. I’ve just found after years of unknowingly struggling with the symptoms that I am adult ADD. Now I’m flat out looking for strategies to get going and keep focused, and the role of music was one I thought to investigate, whether it would be a good thing or counterproductive. The comments are encouraging, past experience suggests it could well work for me. Also reminds me of the Superlearning craze of a few years ago and the idea of listening to Baroque music for study to remember more. I wonder if there is any connection here??

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