How to Get Motivated… and THEN be Productive

Have you ever laid in bed thinking of all the things you need to do but find yourself getting piled under all of the “I should” and “I have to” thoughts? Or have you been on the other side where you have tons of energy but can’t focus or get inspired? In this article, I’m going to show you how you can use different musical elements to carry you through the challenging parts of your day.

After a lot of research- and trial and error – I have discovered what types of music stimulate brain activity for the appropriate task. Here’s what I found: 

Waking Up in the Morning: 

It’s a fresh new day and it is important to listen to music that has the following elements:

  1. Positive Lyrics 
  2. Around 120 beats per minute (upbeat) 
  3. Written in a major key (Feels open and happy)

Music with the elements listed above will help you bounce through your morning tasks. This is not a time to check emails, have conversations or rehearse the past. This is your time to build up enough positive momentum to create the reality you want to experience in your day.  

Exercise such as Cardio or Weight Training:

You are about to push your body to limits that your mind will constantly try to get you out of. To help cut through the monotony of your routine, listen to music with these elements: 

  1. Inspiring lyrics that pull from fiery emotions such as love, conquest, anger etc  (be careful with anger, though. Studies show that too much aggression in exercise can cause injury). 
  2. Listen to songs that are 120-160  bpm (beats per minute).
  3. Written in a major key (minor keys works ok but can stimulate a lot of thought that may or may not take focus from your movements). 

Keep a balance of emotion and BPM in your playlist. Not every song should be flaming with passion at 160 BMP. Put in some slower songs with neutral lyrics to create some balance. Every good workout has ebb and flow. Let your playlist reflect this. 

Focus and Planning:

During this time you are needing to shift into a new state of consciousness. It’s time to activate beta and gamma waves that will allow you to absorb new information and brilliantly solve problems. 

For this, listen to:

  1. Music without lyrics 
  2. Monophonic texture (only one instrument playing)
  3. Steady frequencies ( little to no movement in the notes that are played)
  4. Steady beat

Classical music is not recommended for studying, focusing or planning. Studies show that classical music is the most brain-stimulating of all music due its polyphonic texture and constant changes in themes. We’ll get to the benefits of classical music in the next section. Also, Top 40 music should not be used at this time. Those who listen to their favorite songs tend to lose productivity because their focus is on the lyrics and the emotions they evoke. Keep it simple when you are needing to focus. 

Being Creative:

You want to overcome mental blocks and explore the powerful parts of your mind and abilities. Songs with these elements will help you do just that:

  1. Go back and forth between minor and major keys 
  2. Modulation
  3. Polyphonic texture (multiple instruments playing) 
  4. Varying tempos 

Think about Fantasia and Baby Einstein. Do you recall the powerful images that are inspired by their song selections? Classical music takes your mind down the “rabbit hole“ of thought where all limitations are taken away. If you suffer from lack of creativity or boredom, create a playlist of this type of music and you will see the world in a completely different way. 

Going to Sleep 

You want to let go of the day’s events to replenish yourself for the next day. Listen to tracks with these elements:

  1. One single voice speaking
  2. Lyrics with detached emotion 
  3. >60 BPM  
  4. Monophonic 
  5. Nature sounds 

Music with these elements can help you feel like you are floating on a cloud into Dreamland. Motivational author Louise Hay says that the last thing you do before you go to sleep will be taken into your dreams, so make sure that you are creating a pleasurable space for yourself. 

I would love for you to create a Youtube Playlist for each of these parts of your day and witness the power of sound! Make sure you have devices for each part of your day to give you a convenient listening experience. I have a Youtube Premium account (therefore, no ads to bother me). I mostly utilize my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, Echo Dot and Google Home. 

I would love to hear if this post has helped you become more motivated and productive. What songs do you have in your playlist?

Published by DeniseCastro

I am an Elementary Music Teacher who loves to support other teachers in using Technology and Performing Arts to enhance student learning.

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