The young boy sitting behind me at the Melrose Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops last Friday evening kindly reminded his father of Buddy the Elf's famous, wise words. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

The best was to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

The Pops is a highly anticipated event for me and my family and has become somewhat of a tradition since I moved to the area. The music is exquisite, and I must say, I agree with little Griffin that the closing singalong might be one of the best parts. I probably would have given my dad the nudge too if he wasn’t singing.

So now, four days later, I’ve still got a bad case of the holiday fever. The only thing that soothes it? Two stations on Pandora – Country Christmas and Instrumental Holiday radio. I’ve had one or the other playing nonstop in the car, at home, and at work. Normally, I don’t listen to music at the office. I find I work best in a quiet environment free of background music or voices, but classical holiday songs are the exception. With a cup of peppermint tea, I’m all settled in, and the creativity starts flowing.

Listening to so much holiday instrumental radio peaked my interest about the latest research on music and concentration. Is it really helping me be more productive? Am I really working smarter?

A September 2017 study says yes. The findings revealed that people asked to listen to positive-sounding classical music had a greater boost in creativity than people asked to listen to other kinds of music. Forbes covers the study in the short and informative article, Listening To 'Happy' Music May Boost Creativity, Study Says.

As wonderful as they are, the holidays can create quite a bit of stress. So many areas of your life are competing for your focus and energy. If you’re struggling to find creativity over the next couple of weeks, consider trying one of the following:

  • Break out the music, of course! Whatever it is that inspires you, an hour of tunes could do the trick.
  • Try a change of scenery. Move to a different area of the office to refresh your mind.
  • Priority plan and make to-do lists. Identify what you want to accomplish and dedicate time for specific projects.
  • Keep work and play separate. While multitasking might be tempting, focusing on work when you’re at work and home when you’re at home is likely the best way to be productive in both areas during the busy season.

And try not to lose sight of what the holidays are all about! Celebration, friends, family, and faith. Whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, or something else, turn to the ones you love and give them a hug. Thank them for all that they do – a little advice I’ve heard many times by our CEO, Aron Ain. It’s the little things that matter this time of year!

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017