The most successful people don’t win it.
They have a process, a system that helps them harness their creativity and be more productive.
So if you want to start getting more done as a musician, here are some tips to help you…
Find Your Focus
Before you head out on a road trip, you enter the destination into your maps app.
In the same way, you need to know the direction you’re going as a musician.
Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, calls this your “compass.”
“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing,” he writes in his book Anything You Want. “They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.”
The music industry of today allows for anyone to pursue music, and pursue a niche that fits their personality.
So, before you do anything else, make sure you know which direction you’re going and why.
For example, I’m an introverted singer-songwriter who likes to record music at home. So naturally, I avoid the stage and focus on sync licensing and producing music.
What’s the best music career for you based on your personality and the options available today?
Use a Calendar
Kevin Kruse has interviewed tons of successful people, like billionaires, Olympians, and entrepreneurs.
And he found that none of them use a to-do list. They use their calendars.
A to-do list doesn’t account for time, a calendar does.
A to-do list doesn’t tell you if something is urgent, scheduling a task sooner in your calendar does.
Also, a to-do list just adds to the stress of your day.
“In what’s known in psychology as the Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks contribute to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts,” Kruse writes. “It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night.”
Scrap the to-do list and start scheduling music-related tasks in your calendar. Speaking from my own experience, you’ll get way more done.
Pick Just One Thing To Do Today
If you’ve ever seen the movie What About Bob?, you know what I mean by “baby steps.” In the movie, it’s funny. But there’s an important lesson for musicians here.
Taking extremely small steps toward your destination is manageable and helps you avoid overwhelm.
So instead of trying to record a whole song today, just record the guitar. Then tomorrow, record the piano. And so on.
Just do one thing today for your music career. Then do one thing tomorrow.
You’ll make progress while avoiding overwhelm.
Do a good job every day and you can end up being great.
Start With Just 2 Minutes
Habit expert and best-selling author James Clear talks about The Two-Minute Rule and how it can help you form a new habit.
And if you’re having trouble getting more done as a musician (or getting anything done at all), this method will help.
“When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do,” Clear writes in his book Atomic Habits. “…The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start.”
You can do anything for two minutes.
As a musician, here’s what you can do for two minutes that will further your career:
- Practice your instrument
- Put a music-related task in your calendar
- Record a part of your song
- Watch two minutes of video on mixing music
And as Clear points out, you may end up doing your chosen task for more than two minutes.
Most of the battle is just getting started.
Make Your Tasks Obvious, Attractive, Easy, and Satisfying
According to Atomic Habits, you can form new habits and get more done by making a task…
So if you’re having trouble finding the motivation to get stuff done, focus on these four ideas.
For example, let’s say you want to produce music more often. You can…
- Place your computer mouse next to the TV remote so you’re reminded to make music instead of veg out (make it obvious)
- Drink your favorite beverage or eat your favorite food while producing music (make it attractive)
- Make music for just two minutes at a time (make it easy)
- Keep track of the things you’ve accomplished for your music career (make it satisfying)
Instead of struggling to muster up the motivation, change the way you approach doing things.
You’ll get more done and gradually grow your music career.