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Use The Playlist Method to Optimize Your Week

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Use The Playlist Method to Optimize Your Week


Playlists can help you create better habits and guide you to your most productive week.

“First forget inspiration. Habit is more reliable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.” – Octavia Butler

This quote is just one of many wisdom words that remind us habits are the foundation of success. You will be more creative when you have a daily routine. Yet still, that’s easier said than done.

I don’t know about you, but habits have been a constant struggle in my life. I was inspired by the Power of Habit, Atomic Habits, and 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. They were easy to implement, but they didn’t seem to work. None of the methods aligned with my brain’s actual functioning. 

The Clean With Me podcast was recommended to me. It was amazing, I thought. It took the difficult decision-making out a not-so desirable necessity. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about what and where to clean, I simply hit play and she guides my way.

Then I thought–what if this was more expansive? I thought, what if I only had to hit play in my morning and the rest was decided for me. 

This insight led me to develop The Playlist Method.

How the Playlist Method Guides a Productive Week

It’s a simple concept. 

Create a playlist that’s filled with music you absolutely adore. Then intersperse blocks of  “good habit” activities you want to add to your day. 

Some examples:

  • Daily affirmations
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Deep Work
  • To take a break, you will need to have some cues

After all the hard work you have put in, all that is left to do is press play and let the playlist guide your day. This removes guesswork and the paralyzing effects that can accompany indecisiveness. It also reduces decision fatigue.

An example is the best way to see how it works.

My Monday Playlist

Let me take you through my Monday playlist. 

I use Spotify but don’t let the platform you use limit the possibilities of this method. Use songs and sounds to cue various activities.

Morning Routine 

I keep headphones near my phone so I can quickly put them on when I wake up. 

Right from the start, I’m greeted with one of my favorite songs (“Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO). It’s so happy and upbeat that it alone works wonders to encourage a positive mood to start the day.

This is the first song I use to go to the toilet, brush my teeth, and to give my dogs a chance for a good night’s sleep. As the playlist progresses, I don my shoes and get my dog ready for my morning walk.

The walk is approximately 25 minutes long, so I included enough songs to cover the entire length and buffer time.

At the end, I have a cue song (“Friday Morning” by Khruangbin). This is the spot I use every day to remind myself that there are always more activities.

This song has led me to my morning affirmation. I listen to a bonus episode from Better With Paul, where the host gives an affirmation for positive thinking.

This leads to 10 minutes of morning meditation. Sound Dreamer is an artist who offers a variety of sounds for varying lengths of time. These could be used in a multitude of ways.

Now that I’m relaxed and clear-headed, it’s time for some energy. Tiny Workouts podcast is my favorite. The host takes you through quick, easy workouts. Monday is arms, shoulders and back for me.

Then I listen to another block of my favourite music. I then shower, dress, walk to the local cafe, then feed my dogs. 

Total time: 1hr 40m 03s. The playlist also helps me stay on schedule in the morning.

The Work Day

For a total of six hours of focused work, I use four x 90-minute blocks of Brown Noise. 

Between each block I have 3 – 5 songs that cue me to take a break. I’ll get up and stretch, go for a walk, or grab a cup of coffee. I don’t eat again until after work so snack breaks are essential.

After Work

After the last 90-minute session, there’s an extended block of music which guides me home and into whatever my plans are for the latter part of the day.

This is when I stop the playlist and socialize with my friends, listen to audiobooks, and run, walk, or read a book.

Routine for bedtime

The second crucial decision of the day involves jumping back into the playlist and setting my bedtime. 

When I’ve concluded my evening plans, I check the time to see how long I have until I need to start my bedtime routine.  I divide this by 4, which creates an approximate number of songs I’ll need to cover the time. This is an example:

60 minutes / 4 = 15 songs

4 minutes per song is the closest thing that the math can be done.

I count back as many songs as possible from the end and hit play.

I use another Khruangbin song (“White Gloves”) to cue the start of my bedtime routine, which includes skin care and teeth care and other prep.

Then I have another Tiny Workout–this one for stretching–another Better With Paul affirmation–this one for self-love–and a final 10 minute block of soothing sounds for evening meditation.

The playlist ends at this point, and I am ready to close my phone for the day. I set it and my headphones to charge and spend the rest of the night reading until it’s time to go to sleep.

The Week’s Other Days

I created a new playlist for each week. Each of them can be seen here.

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Each playlist is different to reflect my day. It’s fun to get cutsie with selections like “Stuck in the Middle with You” on Wednesday or “Friday I’m in Love” on Friday.

It is more work to create all these playlists, but it does have some advantages.

  • New music each day so it doesn’t get stale
  • Different workouts for each part of your body
  • Different routines can be used depending on the goals of the day

Make it your own

Each one is unique to me and my goals. You have to put in the work necessary to make this playlist work.

  • Choose music that you absolutely adore so you’ll be excited to hit play.
  • You can base the length of each block on your schedule.
  • Based on your goals you should include the activities that are most important to you.
  • Choose podcast episodes with hosts that you enjoy listening too. 

Better With Paul and Tiny Workouts were the best because of my love for the hosts. I love the sound of their voices, their encouragement, and the background music. They make me feel like a good friend and inspire me to add these activities into my daily life.

It should be set up in a way that makes you feel like you can use it, and not as if you must follow it. This mental distinction will make the method work.

How to simplify the Playlist Method

The whole thing can seem overwhelming. You don’t need to plan out your entire day to make use of this method. 

You can also create a morning playlist that will guide you from bed to work. You can also make an evening playlist to ensure you go to bed on schedule.

This concept is flexible. It can be adapted to meet your specific needs and goals.

Looking to the Future

It’s important to make adjustments regularly. 

  • You can change the songs to keep it new. 
  • Your goals may change if you alter what activities are performed. 
  • Change the order based on what’s working or not working.

If you feel bored with your routine, it is time to change it up.

This has been a transformational method for me. I’m feeling mentally and physically healthier, and I’m getting more done than I ever have before. I hope you will find the same benefits.



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