What are aesthetics of Have-To-Do tasks? To read my explanation of these terms and why we need to combat them directly to address the root causes of procrastination, read my article here!
Goal of Reframing Aesthetics
The goal of aesthetic-combating strategies is to provide yourself with resources that will help you when you’re feeling unmotivated, anxious, or overwhelmed by feelings of dread from the tasks you’re expected to complete.
With successful adoption, aesthetic-combating strategies will promote these changes in your mental framework:
- Approach tasks with a certain flexibility and calmness
- Combat dread and anxiety, so getting work done feels less daunting
- Experience feelings of optimism with task completion
Because I’ve recently been having some trouble staying focused and getting the tasks on my to-do list done effectively, I’ve tried employing a strategy which would help reorient my mindset so I could face my tasks with less dread and more optimism.
My new tactic involved my sister, as I asked her to make a motivating Spotify playlist for me. I didn’t really provide context for what kind of music I preferred, but she simply put in songs that she found “motivating”
The idea for this strategy was two-layer:
1. Effect of Music on the Brain
It’s no secret that music affects our mood, and can cause us to feel more confident and motivated. Michael Phelps, a world-class American swimmer, listens to motivating music right up to the moments before a race, to give himself a confidence boost. And he’s hardly the only one, as many individuals from casual joggers to professional athletes, will use motivating music to increase confidence and enhance their workout.
And these perceived effects are not just in our heads. One study conducted in 2014 found that music with loud bass levels was positively correlated with confidence within a certain range (for those interested, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” was rated to be one of the more powerful songs) and helped individuals feel more empowered. The researchers hypothesized that the human brain tends to associate loud bass levels with power, and this association actually causes us to feel more confident.
2. The Feeling of Accountability Without Damaging Pressure
The second thing about the personalized playlist is that it reminds me of my sister, who is someone I can always turn to for unconditional support. Different from looking up a Spotify or Youtube playlist for “motivating music”, the songs are personalized and the playlist is made by someone who means a lot to me. I’m reminded that I’m being held accountable for what I do and don’t complete by a real person– not that my sister would be upset if I didn’t finish my essay for my history class or my application to a prospective job, but by creating a playlist she’s offering unconditional support for my efforts.
Pressuring tactics like punishment or conditional reward can make us feel even more stressed and dread the task at hand. These strategies can make completing the task feel even worse, amplifying the consequences to our actions. Unlike these pressuring strategies, the Spotify playlist my sister creates for me is an unconditional resource. When I need to feel accountable, it reminds me that someone is looking out for me, but it doesn’t create feelings of dread that traditional motivation tactics may instill.
In this way, the Spotify playlist my little sister creates offers me motivation, improves my mood, provides accountability, and helps me face my Have-To-Do tasks with greater confidence and calmness. If you feel that this could be a useful tool for you, try messaging someone such as your sibling, parent, or close friend, and ask them to create a motivating playlist for you.
I hope to share other Aesthetic-shaping strategies on my site soon, but in the meantime…
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, advice, or thoughts– email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I respond to every email I get!