In Which I Delay Studying by Talking About Productivity

It’s amazing how specific albums can affect my productivity level. I always listen to music when I’m studying or doing work (or cooking, or doing the dishes, or taking a shower, or driving…), and typically when I’m writing I’ll try to put on something with sic beatz which is not-too-distracting (I’ve been on a real hood internet kick lately).  At some point during the study groove, however, I will inevitably resort to two albums to fuel my productivity. Those albums are Wincing the Night Away by the Shins, and The Shepherd’s Dog by Iron & Wine. 

I first discovered these albums in third year University. I had just returned to school after a two year hiatus, and I felt like I had forgotten all together how to work. I had recently read a review of Wincing the Night Away in a magazine (like, on actual paper; I know, I’m old), and I bought it, with a coupon that I got from McDonalds (life before itunes and torrents). Post-download, The Shepherd’s Dog was a recommended album purchase. I’m not sure why, since they’re not actually very similar (although admittedly they’re now back-to-back album buddies). I listened to the Shins. And then I listened to Iron & Wine. And then I listened to the Shins again. Repeat until I had written my first paper in 2.5 years, my first ever 25 page paper. That night I felt like I learned what it was like to work really, really hard on something. And since then I basically haven’t written a word without this soundtrack. 

My link between these albums and productivity only intensified when I was studying for the LSATand I listened to nothing except their 25 tracks for three weeks or more (that’s actually a lie, I also did this really dorky thing and listened to fo’ real white noise). I had to pause _the Shepard’s Dog_while I wrote this post because these albums are so intrinsically linked to the concept of me working hard” that I now feel guilty if I listen to them in a non-working context. They make me feel productive. They make me feel like I should be more productive. And when I’m not being productive enough I know I can count on this specific album combo to make me buckle down. 

It’s strange and awesome that certain songs can be so tied to certain moments in your life or triggers in your brain. So strange and awesome, in fact, that I had to turn off my music, put aside my study guide and write a blog post about it.

What? It’s not like the process is infalliable. 

[Ed. Note - In this post, parenthisis have secrets in them!]

April 16, 2011