By Bree Brouwer
Most career paths, like law or medicine, are defined, paved and clear cut. On the other hand, if you want to be a musician, the path can often feel like wielding a machete through a wild jungle. Forging your own path can be exciting and fun, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming—especially if you are juggling a day job. To stay at the top of your game and produce your best work, it’s important to manage your time wisely. Here are some tips:
Schedule time for music
You schedule time to hang with friends. You schedule meetings. You schedule shows… but do you find yourself stressed finding time to prepare for those shows? Treat your rehearsals, writing sessions or other music-related work like any other activity in your life that you would schedule. Don’t “just squeeze it in.” Prioritize music by blocking time off your calendar. Sites like Calendly make it easy to manage your time and then share your availability with friends and business contacts. That way you can honor your commitments to the people in your life, while also honoring your commitments to yourself.
Save time with smart social media habits
Love music, but get stressed and overwhelmed by the time it takes to promote it? Try a social media management tool. For example, Hootsuite offers a free version that allows you to schedule up to 30 messages in advance across three different social accounts. Set aside an hour out of your day to plan some upcoming weekly content, then sit back and let Hootsuite do the rest. Having a social media calendar can help you feel more organized and you’ll be able to be more focused on the current task at hand without being pulled away to post.
Put your phone down
Did you know that Americans now spend around five hours per day on their mobile devices? You could be amazed at the time you will free up if you simply put your phone down. If you want to see how much time you spend per day on your phone—and therefore how much time you can get back every day—you can download apps like Moment that will track your screen time. As you go about your day—whether practicing, writing, booking gigs, etc.—be mindful to stay focused and resist the temptation to always reach for your phone.
Prevent emails from slipping through the cracks
Have you ever sent an email, didn’t get a response and then forgot to follow up? Have you ever tried booking a tour, and can’t remember who you’ve heard back from and who you haven’t? Have you ever wanted to send an email, but you thought it was too late at night and then you forgot to send it the next morning? If you are a Gmail user, Google can help! Google has created a plug-in called Boomerang that can help you schedule emails and it will automatically send you reminders for emails you haven’t heard back from. It’s like having a virtual assistant!
Find what recharges you
As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” As a musician you are constantly giving of yourself, your music and your time. It’s easy to pour your heart and soul into music because you love it so much, but it’s also easy to burn out. Therefore, it’s important to find the activities that will keep your cup full. Looking for ideas?
- Meditation: Carving out 10-20 minutes out of your busy schedule can reset your day and there have been many studies done on how it may reduce stress and anxiety. New to meditation? Sites like Headspace make it easy to get started.
- Hiking: Take an hour out of your day once a week to go explore a local hiking trail with a friend. The walk will get your blood flowing and being in nature can help replenish your creativity.
- Working out: With its boost of endorphins, exercising is a great stress reliever. It doesn’t matter what kind— dancing, yoga, the treadmill—moving your body can help you work through some stress and anxiety, while also helping you move more freely onstage.
- Reading: Give your body and mind some time to rest by getting lost in a book. Whether it’s fiction to lose yourself in someone else’s story or a self-care book to help you stretch and grow, you can feel better by carving out some time to rest and get inspired.
Hopefully these tips will help you overcome any deadline anxiety you might feel, and give you back power and time to do what you do best — creating music! You can also check out our post about project and team management tools for more ideas on improving your productivity.