In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey introduces what he calls the “P/PC Balance”.
“P” stands for “Production”, and “PC” stands for “Production Capability”.
As an example to understand this balance, consider a large piece of machinery at a car factory.
(I’m going to tie this back into creating music soon, I promise)
On one hand, the point of the machine is to produce parts. That’s it’s purpose. A day when the machine produces many parts is a good day, right? This is the “P” activity of the machine.
However, if you focus too much on “P”, the machine will eventually break down. You can’t just keep producing non-stop. Eventually, you’ll run it into the ground.
So on occasion, you need to stop producing, and perform some maintenance on the machine. Iron out the kinks, tighten the bolts, and give it some grease. Then you can go back to producing. This is the “PC”, the Production Capacity. If you neglect the PC activities, then you won’t get the P.
However, you can also go too far the other way. You could spend all your time and resources on maintenance, fixing the machine, and making it perform really well (i.e. PC activities). But if you spend all of your time on maintenance, then nothing will ever get produced!
The point Covey makes in his book is that effectiveness in life is defined by maintaining proper balance between P activities and PC activities.
And this is true for the work in the studio, too.
On one hand, you can jump into the studio and get to work. The point of the studio is to produce music, right? So you get in there, slap a microphone up in front of your instrument, and start playing.
This is great, but what about planning? What about mic placement? What about improving your craft? If all you do is “Produce” the same way you always have, you’ll never get any better.
On the other hand, maybe you spend all of your time on the internet, reading articles and watching videos. Learning how to get better at recording and mixing. You increase your production capacity often. But you never actually produce anything.
Effectiveness lies in the balance between Production and increasing your Production Capacity.
Between improving your craft (PC) and actually creating music (P).
Between working hard to get great sounds on your electric guitar (PC) and getting the electric guitar recordings done (P).
Between learning how to mix better (PC) and finishing mixes (P).
Between practicing (PC) and performing (P).
There has to be both in order to be effective in the studio.
So next time you’re working in the studio, be mindful of the P/PC balance. Focus on recognizing P activities and PC activities, and focus on maintaining balance between the two.
That doesn’t mean that you have to do both types of activities every time you’re in the studio. One day you might just sit down and mix (P), and another day you might watch some Dueling Mixes tutorial videos to improve your mixing skills (PC).
But if you focus on the overall P/PC Balance in your studio, you will become more effective, and you will create more and better music.
What do you think of this balance? Are you further on the “P” end, or the “PC” end of things? Let me know in the comments below!