Classical conditioning is underrated. Too many bad spy movies have taught us that ‘brainwashing’ is bad.
But conditioning can be a powerful tool for self-improvement. I’ve deliberately been playing the Brian Eno song Thursday Afternoon every time I felt myself immersed in ‘the zone’. In my mind, the track and the mental state have now become intricately linked. This is so much the case that I can now descend into productivity Walhalla simply by listening to my personal work anthem.
In effect, I’ve brainwashed myself to work better in response to a particular tune.
There is nothing special about this trick. Anyone can do it and almost no real effort is required.
A few guidelines.
- Choose a song that is long. Not a two minute ditty. This will also help for the next prerequisite.
- Choose a song that can stand to be repeated. You’ll want to be productive for longer than one play.
- Choose a song without lyrics. This is more personal. To me, words and melody are distracting.
- Choose a song that is timeless. Something you wouldn’t mind listening to in a few years time.
- Choose a song that is not a classic. Classics are played on the radio. That is not what you want.
- Carry your song with you always. You need to be ready. Productivity can strike at any moment.
- Play your song every time you are in the zone. Especially initially you want the bonding to be strong.
- Play your song without interruptions. Interruptions kill productivity. Interruptions break the spell.
- Never play your song when you are not in the zone. That would break the spell. Don’t do it.
- Don’t overuse. There are limits to how productive you can be. This trick does not fix that.
- Don’t expect magic. The song will not always work. If it doesn’t work, stop listening right away.
Have I missed anything important? Feel free to add your tips and tricks in the comments below.