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It’s the middle of the week and you’re stuck at work. You’re very close to branding your wrist with a hot paper clip just to break up the monotony. Why not make keylists on your iTunes?–"What the hell’s that?" A keylist is what I call a keyword-based playlist. "But why not just throw it on shuffle?" You’re interrupting again. It’s impolite to interrupt. The reason is that the convenient automation of Shuffle_2

deprives you of the type of time-wasting distraction that you so desperately need, and you’ll be forced to go back to GTD. Simply type in any string of letters into the search bar and hit play. The distraction comes from those, "…interesting…" moments you’ll have when you see which tracks are word-related, listening to that handful of songs and then coming up with more. The periodic keywording will help break up your day by measuring it into spoonfuls of time, thereby tricking your brain. Aha! Take that, brain! Also, being able to quickly spot-check the list and revise it will help prevent those times when iTunes inevitably goes on a bad shuffle run when left to its own algorithms. Aha! Take that, randomness! Finally, because it doesn’t waste too much continuous time (like hand-picking a playlist), you  can actually get some work done. Aha! Take that, David Allen!

I put up a screen shot from a list I got with the word, "can’t," as in, "I can’t believe I love Hall & Oates un-ironically." As you can see, it’s quite a disparate grouping of music. Perfect for a distracting keylist!

This is something I’m sure we’ve all done at one time or another but perhaps you just hadn’t thought of it as "a thing." Or you had and I’m a jerk.

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  1. Michelle says:

    I discovered this method when I noticed my library had 18 songs (!!!) with titles that start with Mr. – when I incorporated songs that include keyword Mister, my “Mister Playlist” grew to 26 tracks!
    Been building fun playlists ever since.
    Your blog is so much fun!

  2. Giggleloop says:

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving Hall & Oates unironically. My parents had the following albums in the big hi-fi stereo record cabinet thing in the living room – Hall & Oates (might have been a hits record, not sure), Genesis (the one with the yellow shapes on the front), Steve Martin’s “King Tut”, and the Muppets/John Denver Christmas album. So yeah, I listened to a LOT of Hall & Oates. (Oh, and I also borrowed Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses” from my uncle and wore it out.)