Of all things, I’ve started to have this Pavlovian response to Bossa Nova Jazz. I was having a particularly unproductive day, where I just sat by my computer from about 7 till 10, watching old Vlogbrothers videos from 2007. And I tried everything to make my work environment as conducive to studying as possible. I tidied up, I made my obligatory cup of Earl Grey. I even lit candles to try to make up for the dreary minus 16-degree weather outside, swaddled in four sweaters and scarves sporting my best vagabond look. None of it worked. Not even sitting at my designated workspace made starting work any easier that day. To my surprise, the one element that made the entire difference was turning on the stereotypical elevator-music I’ve been listening to for the past few months while studying. I thought I’d replaced my previous playlist with something a bit less cheesy over the holidays when I listened to this while working:
Alas, it hasn’t been as cemented into my mind as work-music yet as the Casio-keyboard preset music sounding jazz playlist, so that’s what I’ll have to work with! Whatever works, right? Even though it makes me feel like I’m on a retirement cruise ship.
I guess the point in this weird story is that while I’d love to be able to say that I only study in super neat and efficient ways, and listen solely to brain wave soundboards that 10x’s your hourly productiveness or whatever, sometimes you just have to do what works for you. I heard a great quote over at a veterinary podcast I found recently (link here), where the host said, and I’m paraphrasing, the best way to work is your own. Don’t let striving for the perfect way to work, that you struggle to complete each day, come in the way of the good way to work, that you’ll be able to follow through on. Also, and this is especially important during exam periods like I’m in right now, do not let pseudo-work, like planning how you’re going to study take up time. The most important thing is just committing to getting the work done, in whatever way you deem best that day. Prioritize, and don’t fall into the trap of shying away from the stuff you don’t know. It’ll be unpleasant to start with, but you’ll be so happy you faced it head on when time comes for the big test.