Do you remember when “working from home” was something we all aspired to be lucky enough to do someday?
Then “someday” hit us like a brick wall disguised as 2020.
It’s really hard to get into that workflow when you’re stuck at home surrounded by all the responsibilities vying for your attention, and your kids, or your roommates, and your husband or wife or significant other.
And the dogs. And the cats.
Everyone and everything vies for your attention… and it gets really hard to stay motivated about getting your tasks done.
I was an online grad student – my choice – which was great! Until suddenly my kids were 100% virtual learners, my husband was quarantined at home, and my favorite go-to spots to get out of the hustle and bustle of the house were also shut down because of the pandemic. And my motivation tanked. Big time.
One thing that helped (and still helps) is music. Depending on my task – house cleaning, studying, writing, working out – I can find a mood and motivation-boosting playlist to fit. Here are my top five from my favorite music app, Spotify:
Housework sucks. There is no way around it, though, not if you ever want to invite people into your home or, you know, live comfortably in it. Nobody wants to spend their day off from work or school working around the house, and not all of us can afford the coveted cleaning company to come over and take care of it for us (*raises hand*), so it can be hard to get started. Ugh.
If you’re like me, upbeat tunes that you know just well enough to sing along a little bit (at least the chorus!) lift those energy levels and do wonders for that motivation. Clean to this playlist and get done with it all in half the time, and have a little fun!
How do you get your brain to focus on the all-important school work when you’re stuck at home being pulled in twenty different directions? Even as I try to write this post, my youngest has come into my office twice within five minutes just for hugs. (How do you say no to hugs from your kids?) The interruption affects my study flow, so listening to this focus-enhancing piano music can set that right again.
I’m not a morning person. At all. I do my best creative work in the middle of the night (hello, 3 AM writers) but that schedule doesn’t always jive with real life. This playlist helps drown out the distractions and boost my productivity so I can get into that morning flow, no matter what I’m trying to accomplish.
I’m from that teenage ’90s era when crushing over dreamy guitarists was the only obvious choice. Oh, how our prerequisites for the perfect match have changed as we reached actual adulthood! Sadly, my soulmate does not play guitar (but I still love him to the moon and back anyway), but this acoustic playlist perfectly shuts out the noise and chaos that is my home life. Plus, acoustic guitar jams are a whole mood, and if you know, you know.
5. Deep Focus
When I’m writing, if I’m not listening to the curated playlists I’ve made to keep me close to my characters and their stories, I’m listening to Deep Focus. It’s instrumental which is critical for me–I don’t need catchy lyrics stealing any of my word-smithing efforts. (I do love catchy lyrics, but there is a time and a place for everything.) Maybe it’s the ambient vibes of the post-rock music that does it for me, but when I’m listening to this one, the words are more likely to come pouring out. (*Note: Writer’s block doesn’t really care what music you’re listening to. When it wants to strike, it strikes.)
Speaking of those curated playlists, do you create any special soundtracks for your projects? Drop your Spotify links for me in the comments, and feel free to check out my playlist, Young Wes & Ellie, curated specially for those years in their youth when they were inseparable.