Sing Us a Song (And Get Things Done)

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Recently, I have found that music has been my saving grace, so far as my productivity/creativity/sustainability has been going. The importance of my life having a great and appropriate soundtrack has been crucial, and I want to share some tips because you all deserve to have a swelling orchestra on your side, too. Or Nirvana. Nirvana has been working really well for me.

  • Decide how much you are willing to pay for it, and do your research: you don’t have to break the bank to get streaming music from the magical world of the Internet. There are plenty of free options, but you’ll have to stomach the commercials every now and then (more frequently when you decide to skip a song). Recently, I’ve been exploring the Google Play Radio, because you not only have the choice of customizing a radio station by a song/artist, but there are also a lot of stations by activity, genre, etc. Some are pretty damn specific. There’s also Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Prime (that one pays for itself with the shipping and Kindle lending library), so on.
  • Get the right stuff for the right time of day: I try not to listen to mellow stuff in the morning, because it makes me want to go back to bed. This inevitably leads to one of my ‘dubstep’ stations. Likewise, at night, I usually want something chill, like a movie soundtrack. I’ve also been taking a strong look at how certain types of music impact different kinds of tasks. If I’m reading or doing something text heavy, I avoid stuff with complex lyrics that my mind will get hung up in. In fact, the more I need to focus, the more I go to something without any vocals at all – which doesn’t have to be baroque, by the way.
  • What am I making and what does it sound like: when I’m writing, using music in a smart way can actually really add a dimension to my characters and scenarios. Is it a face-off between the hero and the villain? Anime soundtrack! Is it a romantic moment between lovers? Cue the REO Speedwagon! Is it an actually serious moment between lovers? Maybe opt for some Andrea Bocelli.

Life can be busy. Times can be tough. Don’t do it in silence. I dare you.

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It’s Monday! What Am I Doing?

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Watching: Forever on ABC — I really didn’t want to give this one a shot. Because come on. The premise reads like, “Let’s take Sherlock, put him in New York, make him live forever and…let’s see…oh! But he’ll be a doctor instead. Where’s my Emmy?” Now that I’m a few episodes in, I can’t really say that I’ve been proven wrong with that assessment, but the characters are engaging/likeable. And I love Judd Hirsch.

Loving: My Hippo’s misadventures — 5 years ago, I started a day job at a local insurance company. A bunch of people in a department adjacent to mine had these little hippos (for some HIPAA awareness…get it? Hipaa hippos?) all over their desks. Obviously, I wanted one and was never able to get one. Finally, the other week, I took matters into my own hands and ordered one off Amazon. Then, I started taking pictures of it at different places and I’m having a lot of fun with that. My favorite?

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Reading: An Age of License by Lucy Knisley — A travelogue graphic novel. Two of my favorite things. It is lovely and makes me want to relocate to Europe for an undisclosed period of forever.

Hearing: Everything Will Be Alright in the End by Weezer — Is it as good as the blue album? I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it is the most 90s-rocktastic album I have heard in some time. And yes, of course my favorite track is “Back to the Shack.”

Doing: Professional videography — I’m going to keep the deets under wraps for right now but rest assured that I am very, very excited and I really, really need to order new business cards.

It’s Monday. What are you doing?