Normally here on Indie Artist Lounge, we talk about techniques for recording and producing music.
But unfortunately, as much as we love making music, many of us waste a lot of time in our studios.
For most of us, music is a hobby we do on the side. We are passionate about it, but often we struggle to find the time to spend on it.
And even when we do, often we don’t use that time to its fullest potential.
If you love music and you want to create great music to share with the world, doesn’t it make sense to make the most of the limited time you have?
I certainly think so. And over the years, I’ve discovered a few “hacks” that have helped me to do so. They’ve helped me to get more done in less time, and as a result, feel better about myself and my music.
So without further ado, let’s dive in:
Hack #1: Don’t multitask
Recently, my wife was late getting home and I was cooking supper for her. I work for a web software company, and of course, while I was cooking supper, our production server went down. This meant that all of our customers’ websites were offline.
Needless to say, it was more than just a little bit interesting trying to fry pork chops, boil carrots, and get our websites back online all at the same time.
As proud as I was of my multitasking skills that evening, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it. Especially when cooking…
I love the quote that goes like this:
To do two things at once is to do neither
That’s totally true. At least for me, and I’m guessing it is for you too.
The opposite of multitasking is focus. And focus helps us to get more done in less time. You spend more time on the task at hand, and less time switching gears.
To apply this, next time you have a chunk of time to spend on your music, try only doing one thing. Don’t multitask. See what happens.
To take it a step further, you may even want to try only having one project on the go at a time. This is more difficult, but can bring a whole new level of focus. It forces you to get the project done before moving on.
Hack #2: Set goals
Another aspect of focus is to know what you are working toward.
Maybe it’s an album. Or maybe it’s just a single mix. Or perhaps you just want to write one song.
Whatever your situation, try to verbalize what your goal is. Then you can make a distinction between tasks that are moving you toward that goal, and tasks that are distracting you.
What are some big things you would like to accomplish? Don’t go crazy here, but dream big. If your goal is too big, you can always chunk it up into smaller, less overwhelming goals.
Want to create an album? Maybe your first goal could be to write 15 songs in the next 8 weeks. That would be a great start.
Hack #3: Decide how you want to use your time
There’s a difference between a “goal” and an “action”.
If your to-do list for next Saturday says “Work on album”, that’s not an action. Think about what you’re actually going to do. Perhaps it should say “Record drums for the first song of the new album”. That’s something actionable.
Spend a couple minutes deciding on the next action to move you toward your goal. Make sure it’s actually a concrete action.
You also want make sure it doesn’t depend on another action. For example: “Record drums” is an action. But is it the next action? Maybe the next action should actually be “Set up drum mics”.
Decide how much time you’re going to spend on each action. Having a timer ticking away can really help you stay focused.
Which brings me to…
Hack #4: Remove distractions
I love my iPhone.
But sometimes I also hate it.
It has me trained really well. If it wants to be picked up, all it has to do is buzz and I’ll be right there, right away.
If you’re trying to get something done that’s important to you, get rid of the things that can distract you. Turn off notifications on your phone. Close your web browser. Turn off the TV. Allow yourself to focus on the task at hand.
Hack #5: Set deadlines
My deadline for my current EP is the end of August.
Not only have I set that deadline, but I’ve also told you about it.
I’ve spoken about this before. Having deadlines and accountability can help you to get things done, and not take forever to do so.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Making music isn’t all about “getting stuff done”.
It’s important to have fun creating your art, and eventually share it with the world.
But chances are, you could be doing better at it. You could be spending your time more wisely, and feeling better about your accomplishments. I know I could.
So here’s my challenge to you: pick one of these hacks and try it. See if it helps you create more music in less time. I bet you’ll see a difference as you practice.
Good luck, have fun, and leave a comment!
4 thoughts on “Productivity in the Studio”
Hey, Alex, thanks for all the goodness you bring in the comments on TRR. I’m gonna have to start checking out your website too – I really enjoyed this article. Setting actionable goals is a HUGE help in making progress. Well said.
Have fun making your EP. Take it easy!
No problem at all! Glad to connect with you, and glad you enjoyed the article! Goals, deadlines, and accountability definitely make a big difference.
If you’re interested in staying up to date with Indie Artist Lounge, feel free to hop on the email list. It’s definitely the best way to keep in touch. Plus I’ll send you free stuff 😉
Have a good weekend!
Sorry, I missed this comment last month. Thanks for the response! I’ll definitely sign up for the email list. Take it easy!