7 tips to manage your time as a musician
Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog!
If you are new here I am Ignazio Di Salvo and in this post and I am going to talk about 7 different pieces of advice to manage your time as a musician.
Being a musician, especially a professional one, can be very challenging: it is a creative profession, but with tons of ups and downs, and for this reason we are divided among the time we dedicate to the creative side of the profession, with the time we dedicate to all the activities that create revenues (read: pay the bills).
These activities not always can be considered creative, but are functional to let the creativity go, and they can become crucial to sustaining our career in the long run, whatever would be the direction we are choosing to go through.
Especially if we are making our original music or creating our original content in general, we will always need economic support to sustain our art: this sustain can come from a daily job, from teaching, from studio works, from live gigs, from an online business or whatever other activity that supports us and that gives us the necessary peace of mind to keep on going, until we can be totally able to sustain ourselves entirely with the creative aspect of the music only.
This change will give us the necessary freedom to stay creative and focused on what really counts for us.
Working and being concentrated only on the creative side is probably a true dream for many of us.
But before this happens, there’s a long road to go through, in which focus and most importantly time management, can totally make the difference between a sustainable career and a career that crushes against a wall after a while.
But before going through this lesson, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the notification bell to stay in touch with me and to know when I will release new content.
Let’s start now with the tips!!!
1) Don’t start your day without a program
Starting your day without knowing the direction you are going towards is like navigating without a compass. You are going blindly through your day, and you don’t know exactly where you are going.
So, you need to focus on the goals that you are going to establish for that specific day.
I don’t suggest you focus on too many of them, just a few reachable goals, that you know that you can be able to achieve, and when you understand that is too much, you can simply divide a single goal into different more little goals, and divide them along the next days.
This will give you peace of mind, and will simply take over the stress and let you be more productive in the long run.
Try to understand how many hours you can dedicate to music for that specific day, and then take a piece of paper with different time slots. Then write down exactly which activity you are going to do exactly for the specific time slot. Each time slot can be 30 or 60 minutes.
Me personally, I prefer 60 minutes slots, and I take 5 minutes of pause for each one.
On my Patreon page, you can find an example of how I organize my day in time slots. This helps me a lot to have control over my goals and also keeps me more focused and more aware of the direction I chose.
2) Turn off all notifications
Your phone should be destined only to the persons that really matter to you: your closest friends, your family, your partner (s), everyone is close to you and would need your attention whatever it happens. Same for job-related things that you can’t simply ignore or postpone to another moment.
For all the rest, notifications coming from chats, socials, WhatsApp, or whatever, should be turned off.
This is because it is more important the quality of the time that you dedicate to your study than the single quantity. So if you dedicate 30 minutes really focused, it will give you much more results in the long run than 2 hours spent between studying your instruments and scrolling the feed or answering to chat messages.
The mantra is: everything is not urgent, can be solved in another time slot.
Focus is everything, don’t forget this very simple detail. It will always make the difference.
3) create your calendar: Set your goals clearly, and write them down
Your calendar is your compass, your GPS. While you are navigating, you want to know where you are going, simply because you don’t want to get lost in the dark, lose time, and get into trouble.
You want to know which goals you can achieve in a certain period of time.
I would suggest starting with a monthly calendar: write down all the goals that you want to achieve, and then go week by week.
In each week, for each day, you should have a list of time slots. Fill in the time slots with the activities that you think are functional to reach your goals.
4) Use a diary to monitor your progress
A diary can be a very useful tool to help you to monitor your goals, and it will give you exactly the awareness of where you are at a certain moment and where you are going to.
A diary will definitely make you more introspective, will make you reflect on what you are really doing, so you can be sure you are not drained by circumstances.
You can take note of your specific progress, keep note of the difficulties, write down ideas and sketches that even if they are not useful in that specific moment, can become a true gift afterward.
Also, writing down the issues you face at a certain moment, will give you the necessary momentum to find the right strategies to overcome them, and then when you will look back at what you before considered a problem, that now is solved, you become fully conscious both about your progress and your increasing value.
5) Surround yourself with positive people that motivate you, cut off the naysayers and the toxic ones
People that sustain you emotionally, with their positive presence make all the difference in your life. If you at a certain point of your path are surrounded by friends, family, or partners that drag you down or discourage you or simply break you emotionally, you should seriously ask yourself if they are worth your time.
Keep in mind that the time spent outside the “work zone” is as much important as the time you dedicate to work activities. Your affective life has a huge impact on the quality of your life itself and as a consequence, on the quality of your choices.
Poor choices have a negative impact on you and will make you lose a ton of time, wasted on things that are not functional to your goals. And ultimately they are not functional to your happiness too, as in most cases reaching our goals in music as in life is deeply linked to our sense of happiness and fulfillment.
So keep this in mind the next time you will keep in your life someone that does not support you, or drags you down, or makes you feel inferior for any reason, or tries to discourage you, or tells you that your goals are impossible.
Most of the time, these people don’t really care about you, they want you not to succeed to feel better with themselves. This has nothing to do with you, run if you understand so. And I totally know that is difficult.
Furthermore, these people are usually our close friends, our partners, or family members. It is subtle.
Try and take your distances, focus on what really counts for you, and don’t give your time, energies, and sentiments to those who don’t deserve you.
6) Read the right books to learn time management
Here is a simple list of books you can read to know how to manage your time better:
7) Find time to recharge your batteries: sport, meditation.
We are not machines: to work properly we need time to relax.
So work hard, of course, but don’t forget about having a social and sentimental life.
Likewise, sport can be very functional to a music career, it will keep you in a good shape, and it will make everything sustainable. Playing a musical instrument, or singing is something we do with our bodies. If our body is in a good shape, the quality of our music will be impacted positively.
I also suggest you practice meditation, it helps a lot to find your balance and keep your focus up.
Take care and see you the next time!
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My name is Ignazio Di Salvo, well, Iggy for all my friends as my name is difficult to pronounce for non Italian speakers.
I am an Italian Guitarist, Singer, Composer, and Music Educator living in Belgium.
I am passionate about music production and writing, I publish two articles every new week about music and music production-related topics.
Note about the links: many of the links in this article are affiliate links. It means that if you will buy something after you click on one of them, I will earn a small commission. Nothing will ever change for you, and you won’t be affected in any way.