How to boost your productivity with classical music

How to boost your productivity with classical music

As some of you will know, I was briefly a lawyer. This means I have lots of lawyer friends (which, I presume, can only come in handy). One such lawyerfriend texted a while back with the following:

"I've just started listening to classical music and now I'm addicted."

Glory be, hallelujah! Another convert! *Rings big bell and maniacally adds hatchmark to tally on giant chalkboard*

While I have yet to dig into her newfound love of classical music with her, I suspect she's stumbled upon her new addiction because it aligns perfectly with her work. Classical music is an amazing tool for boosting productivity, increasing focus, and, most importantly, adding more curiosity, juiciness, and joy to your day. 

So, to uplevel YOUR work soundtrack, here's WHY you should listen to classical music while you work, and HOW you should do it.

Elements of Art/Life: Colour

Elements of Art/Life: Colour

To kick off the new year, let’s continue learning about and applying the Elements of Art by moving on to perhaps the most fun element: Colour!

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with the beginning of the year. OBSESSED. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is my favourite week of the year, followed closely by the first week of January. New beginnings! The air is ripe with energy and possibility! (Or maybe that’s just the smell of everyone exercising for the first time in months…)

In any event, give me the beginning of the year over the middle of summer any day (particularly because I live on Vancouver Island, so the middle of winter is still really nice). People are so keyed into who they are and what they want right now. God I love it.

And all that makes this the perfect time to talk about our dear friend, Colour. …

Zen time, guaranteed

Zen time, guaranteed

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is quite possibly my favourite week of the year. First of all, there’s always a fridge full of leftovers and a counter full of baked goods. Second, you’ve got all your awesome new Christmas stuff to enjoy. And third, it’s the week before this year ends and the new one begins, which means it’s brimming with reflection, anticipation, and possibility. …

Why You Need Your Own "Advisory Committee"

Why You Need Your Own "Advisory Committee"

A few years ago, I read in one of Gretchen Rubin’s marvellous books that she keeps a list of her “Patron Saints” (people who deeply inspire or guide her life or work in some way). These aren’t her family, friends, or colleagues, but rather people – living or dead, or even fictional – whom she could think of for theoretical advice and who could help guide her path. I, of course, became totally obsessed with this, and have kept my own list ever since. It’s changed over time, depending on what I was up to (and whether anyone on the list had fallen out of my good graces), but I love my list all the same.

Which brings me to this morning. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly where to go with several projects, and this was leading to a bit of an existential crisis. Is my work important? What if people hate what I’m doing? What AM I even doing?!

While ruminating (always so counter-productive), I popped open Twitter to do my daily review and retweets. In doing so, I stumbled upon one tweet congratulating one of my Patron Saints, legendary art critic and all around delightful human Jerry Saltz, for a particular contribution to the field. I thought to myself, “oh Jerry, you would know what I should do next.”

What happened next, dear friends, I am strongly encouraging you to replicate for yourselves. …

Embrace Looking Like an Idiot: or, Why I Sing in the Car

Embrace Looking Like an Idiot: or, Why I Sing in the Car

A while back, I ran into a girl from high school I hadn’t seen in several years. She and I knew each other from the super intense choir we had both been in, so of course our mutual passion is singing. She marched right up to me at an event we were at, said the usual “hi, how are ya,” then said: “OMG I saw you a couple years ago… you were driving, and you were singing in your car – like, FULL ON. It was AWESOME.” …

The Joy of Learning About Art From Your Couch

The Joy of Learning About Art From Your Couch

After a marvellous lunch with a friend yesterday, I hopped in my car and, as usual, sang along to whatever was on the radio on my way home. This, unfortunately, quickly revealed that a verrry sore throat was a-brewin’. By the time I got home, I was in full groaning-out-loud, complaining-to-the-dog misery, and so (after a brief stop off at the medicine cabinet) straight to the couch I went. …

You – yes, YOU – have “The It Factor”

You – yes, YOU – have “The It Factor”

I had a really, really good high school drama teacher at one point. (I also had the world’s worst drama teacher at another point, and fellow alumni from my high school will definitely know who I’m talking about in both regards. Seriously. The latter only knew plays that were made out of movies – not the other way around – as in, where a movie had been made into a play. UGH, I could rant all day.)

Anyway – the really good teacher. He had his flaws, but he was an expert instructor. My favourite thing I ever learned from him was how to turn on and tap into what TV talent show judges now call the “it factor,” which is very closely related to what other reality TV hosts refer to as being “on.”…