It’s no secret that a lot of musicians struggle to find time for their music. But time management for musicians is important if you want to accomplish anything. And if you are like most people, bogged down with more distractions and responsibilities than ever, you will have to take deliberate actions to start looking for and making extra time.
This article will show you four different ways to make that extra time for your music.
(There are also 5 bonus time management tips in the printable checklist at the end of this post)
We recently sent out a survey to the thousands of Watch Me Explode email subscribers, and the first question was “What is the single biggest challenge that you are struggling with as an independent musician right now?”
It turns out that making time for making and practicing music was one of the top answers.
“I’ve got 20 minutes before I have to pick up the kids. Do I work on that new song or promote my old one?”
It may seem like an impossible battle, but if you’re struggling with finding the time to write, record, practice, promote, or manage the time around all of your music-career tasks, please don’t give up. You can do it!
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Schedule your tasks on a calendar instead of writing a to-do list.
The reasoning for this is pretty sound. Let’s say you have 5 music related tasks you want to accomplish this week. You can write them on a to-do list so you don’t forget them (which is better than nothing) and then wait for the perfect opportunity to complete a task. But, with this method, you are far less likely to accomplish the task because that “perfect” opportunity, where you’re not doing anything else, may never appear.
If you schedule time for each task on your calendar throughout the week, you can take control of your time, and organize other tasks and activities around your music goals.
Here’s a great article about the benefit of scheduling over writing to-do lists:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3462411/To-lists-waste-time-Expert-claims-people-write-tasks-rarely-finish-causes-added-stress.html
2. Start saying NO!
Want more time for the things YOU want to do. Start saying no to the things that aren’t important. Friends want you to go out every night? Say no. That friend from high school who you haven’t talked to in two years invited you to a “Couples engagement shower.” Say no! Boss pressuring you to work late, pick up extra shifts, or come in early? Try saying no.
Work life balance is important. If your boss is reasonable, try honestly explaining why you are saying no. If your boss is unreasonable, maybe it’s time for a new job. Life is too damn short to be miserable all day.
Start Saying no!
Here are two great articles on the “art of saying no.”
3. Set Micro goals.
The idea of micro goals is pretty simple: Let’s say your goal is simply to practice more. Your micro goal is to practice for one minute a day. Seriously, one minute. If you can’t find one minute each day to practice your instrument, or practice singing, you’ve got bigger problems.
The idea here is that if you can find that one minute, you’ll probably end up practicing for more than one minute. Maybe it ends up being five minutes. Awesome! Maybe it ends up being 20 minutes. Sweet! Maybe you really only practice for one minute. Don’t sweat it. That’s still more than zero and that’s how much you were practicing before your micro goals.
By the way, micro goals can be applied to just about anything you are struggling to incorporate into your daily routine: Exercising, eating vegetables, writing, meditating,…knitting, anything! Try it!
4. Find your reason “Why.”
Why do you want more time for music? What are your goals in your music career? What kind of musician are you aspiring to become?
Distill the answers to these questions down into your “Why.” Your “Why” is your motivation and the driving force behind everything you are doing in your music career.
Write down your “why” in big black marker on a piece of paper and hang it on your bathroom mirror so you see it every morning.
Find your “why“ to stay motivated, and trust me, you’ll make the time for music.