TV shows and textbooks: distractions for everyone

If you were to Google “music and studying” you’re bound to get millions of results on the ongoing struggle to show if it’s bad or good for you. I know that scientific research will generally beat out my own opinion, but does it really matter when it comes down to the logistics of it?

We, as students, employees and people in general, all work in different ways and find our focus in a wide variety of places. While music or TV may be the cause of distraction for one person, it might be the soothing background someone else needs to power through an important project.

For myself, it depends on the day. One moment I can be perfectly capable working in my kitchen with some music blaring and jamming out while I try to write an essay and the next I can be sitting in my living room watching Gilmore Girls with my roommate, typing up an article.

At no point, however, can I do my work in complete silence; it makes me uncomfortable and I clam up. I can’t work properly and I can’t focus because the only thing I can keep my attention on is the deafening silence that rings in my ears.

My roommate, on the other hand, runs off to her bedroom and I don’t see her for hours while she works on seminar papers.

Then again, there are some studies that go on to say that, if you are going to listen to anything while you do work, you should listen to classical or instrumental music – taking out the lyrics to take away any form of potential distraction.

I’m guessing some of you must be thinking, “but why would I want to listen to Beethoven or Mozart? It’s boring.” Your options don’t stop at the stereotypical instrumental symphonies you’d expect. Odesza, Justice, Nero and hundreds of other EDM-type artists exist that are sure to turn your boring study session into a party (or at least make it a little bit more interesting).

You can also try your hand at re-watching one of your favourite shows. Since you already know everything that happens, you don’t really need to pay much attention. Sometimes just having some background noise of voices is good for you and can help stimulate your brain. Netflix has tons of shows with many, many seasons that are perfectly distraction-friendly and offer you the ability to focus on your work while still staying entertained.

So next time you go and sit down to work on an essay or prep for an exam search up some tunes on YouTube, Spotify, or 8tracks and get a good playlist going for yourself or flick on your TV and play some show for its white noise. You know yourself better than any researcher will, so listen to your brain and do what you do best.

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