Trigger Warning: This Might Get You Ready to Work

The word ‘trigger’ has been endowed with something of a bad connotation recently, but it’s not always negative. There are good triggers that enact the original definitions of the word: a device that releases a spring or catch and so sets off a mechanism; an event that causes something to happen (Concise OED). In my case, I like to think of the little things I do in the process of waking up as devices that trigger a drive to get to work and face the world.

We all have our little rituals to get things going. Most people start their days with coffee (check), and checking their emails (check), but I have this theory that there is a specific thing in a person’s starting ritual that gets them ready for the day. I’ve already made a long post about my general ritual, but I was just about to get going on my ‘work trigger’ when I thought I would share it with you.

Why I Need My Trigger:

Because I generally work from my little corner of our flat, I don’t have something like a commute or walking into an office to provide that sense of transition. I usually get up, make a cup of coffee and putter about until I feel awake enough to string a sentence together.

My Little Corner of the Flat - Trigger Warning: This Might Get You Ready to Work
My Little Corner of the Flat

This, however, poses the danger of going on for hours, so when I reach a designated time (and this is after a second cup of coffee, sometimes filter coffee), I play a song that is supposed to shift me from ‘amorphous waking blob’ to ‘fiercely working academic’. This song changes every so often, but the elements generally stay the same. It must be engaging, energizing, and have some sort of anthem-y feeling, what I suppose you would call a ‘call-to-action’. It’s something that amps me up and makes me feel like I can and should go take on the world. I also use this a lot when I have to mark essays and, recently, exams. When you’re facing a stack of mind-numbingly repetitive papers that you have to get through, it helps to have some boyant music around that triggers your can-do attitude.

My Trigger:

At the moment, my work trigger is the theme from Black Sails. Although I’ve only recently started watching the series, I really really love the song. It gets my fingers a-tapping and keyboard-ready. I don’t quite have the musical vocabulary to describe exactly what gets me going about this song, but the rousing chorus of ‘nah nah, nanana’ just does it for me. I can imagine the cutlasses, eye-patches, the rotting teeth exposed to the sea-spray as a hundred pirates chant in preparation to storm the Urca de Lima

And this, strangely, makes me want to ‘storm’ my thesis or that pile of essays. How do you get yourself motivated in the mornings, and what kind of music do you listen to when you work?


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