5 Tips To Help You Tackle Work Outside the Studio Walls

Musicians spend a lifetime working on the perfect practice routine and yet…

They rarely have a plan for how they will budget their time outside the studio walls.

The most successful musicians I know have figured out how to strike a balance between their creative practice and the myriad of additional tasks they need to tackle in their day.

Here are five quick tips to help you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by work outside the studio walls:

TIP: Treat time as a currency. Just like setting up a financial budget, your calendar is a great way to examine how you spend your time. At the end of each day, go back and adjust the length of time you spent on each block on your calendar to gain more clarity about where the time goes.

TIP: Set a time on your calendar when you will wrap up your work. This allows you to provide clear lines of communication with your loved ones (I’m leaving work at 5:00pm), and forces you to work more efficiently within your budgeted time (2-hour block to complete project).

TIP: Your work will still be there tomorrow. If there is one thing true in the life of a musician, it is that our work will never be finished. Take a breath, give yourself a break, give yourself permission to leave something unfinished, and pick it up the next day.

TIP: Block out time on your calendar to give yourself space. I used to look at my calendar, see an empty spot, and fill it with work. That has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years. Today, if I want to avoid feeling overwhelmed, I have to place holds on my calendar so that I can give myself the space to take a breath.

TIP: Practice self-compassion. In our world, there are often external pressures to complete work at a specific time. That is unavoidable. What is avoidable is beating yourself up when the creative work you really want to get to isn’t completed in a day because something else more pressing takes priority. If you have to miss a day of creative work to get something else done, go easy on yourself!

It is impossible to do your best work as a musician if your day is so packed that you don’t have a moment to think or take a breath. Take the time now to identify a workflow practice that allows you to find some balance in your life and career.

Thanks for reading and I hope some of these tips will help you avoid feeling overstretched in the future.

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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