Part of what makes us sluggish is that we get tired of the same stuff all of the time. Same food, same place, same job, same people — and music is no exception.
I listen to all SORTS of music over the course of any given day. New music. Old music. Video game music. Ending themes from anime episodes. Obscure disco music. Music from countries where I don’t even speak the language. All of it speaks to me, though, for some reason or another.
But like anything else, if you listen to the same stuff too many times, it gets old. You start skipping songs after recognizing them within the first second of play. The magical feeling you may have once gotten from a song eventually resembles something more like a dull ache. You, along with your tastes, change over time — so why don’t we change the music we listen to in order to keep up?
“Music makes me high.”
— Lost Boyz, “Music Makes me High”
Music is awesome — it can sway our moods, it can make or break an event — it’s one of the things that keep the world revolving.
But how can we harness music to make our lives better? How can we make music work for us instead of just something constantly playing in the background?
Peace and quiet is an amazing thing, but nothing matches the motivation that music can provide. I refuse to leave my house without my iPod: maybe I’ve become way too reliant on blocking ambient noise out while I work, but I find that having familiar background noise makes all the difference when it comes to productivity!
Let’s take a look at how we work. We all know work is tough. We’re essentially paid to operate in a foreign environment for several hours a day, expected to perform at optimal levels when nothing in our spaces or tools are customized to how we best learn and operate. Many of us work best with uninterrupted streams of thought, left to work on our tasks for hours on end, from start to finish. But work is full of both direct and indirect distractions that throw you off your game.
Phone calls. Emails. Sudden visits to your cubicle to chat or check up on a project. And on the indirect side, sometimes we have that too-loud coworker a few doors down. Or the soothing hum of construction work. We can be prisoners to the cage of noise that forms around us.
That is unless we find a way to cancel it out.
Music helps you regain control and reassert your ideal environment, no matter where you are. Frustrating day at work? Solve your woes with some smooth jazz. Need something to pump the adrenalin up in those final hours of the day? Your workout mix of 90s dance might do the trick. Or sometimes those songs linked to some of the happier times in our lives will be just what we need to change the course of a particularly crappy day.
So keep exploring. I doubt there’s any way you could exhaust all the possible options for music out there, and don’t just completely dismiss a genre because you heard one song and decided that “you don’t like _____”. Experiment. Investigate. You might be surprised by what you find! And always remember that music is simply one small part of the grand and constant reinvention that is who we are and what we stand for.
–Casey E. Palmer