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4 Simple Ways To Be a More Productive Musician


I’m an indie musician, and at times I’ve struggled to get stuff done for my music career. So if you need some simple ways to be a more productive musician, read on.

Here are four things I highly recommend you do to boost your productivity…

Use a Calendar

Switching from a to-do list to a calendar has been game-changing for me.

Instead of having a long list of things I have to do at some point, I find open slots in my schedule for those things.

And it’s not just me. The most productive and successful people use calendars to run their lives.

New York Times best-selling author Kevin Kruse has spent many hours researching time management and productivity.

And he interviewed over 200 successful people, like billionaires and entrepreneurs, about how they get stuff done.

“Ultra-productive people don’t work from a to-do list, but they do live and work from their calendar,” he writes.

And here are his tips for using a calendar:

  • Make the default event duration in your calendar only 15 minutes
  • Time-block the most important things in your life first
  • Schedule everything

So you know all the things you’ve been wanting to do for your music? Put them on your calendar right now. You won’t regret it.

This helps you stay focused on what matters to you.

Do Music Before Going to Work

Kruse says to “time-block the most important things in your life first.” This is smart.

Start your day in the way you want to. Otherwise, the rest of your life will take over, and you’ll never get to it.

So do music first, if possible. This may mean waking up early, but early mornings are like a superpower.

According to time-management expert Laura Vanderkam, there are many benefits to getting out of bed early. Here are a few:

  • You’re less likely to be distracted in the morning: things get busy quickly, so tackle what matters to you (music) before the day gets rolling.
  • You’re more motivated in the morning: first thing in the morning, you haven’t dealt with the stress of the day yet, and no one is asking anything of you. Use this time to get creative before your willpower wanes.
  • You can set the day’s tone in the morning: starting the day the way you want makes the whole day better. Small successes (like not hitting snooze, making your bed, and drinking water) help you start your day in a positive way.

So do something for your music first thing in the morning, even if it’s only 15 minutes.

Put Your Phone Away

One way to start your early morning is to avoid your phone. I turn my phone on airplane mode at night and stay away from it in the morning for as long as possible.

And it turns out this is good for my brain.

Researchers at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin studied this. The name of their study says it all ‒ Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity.

They looked at nearly 800 smartphone users and found some interesting results.

The people who left their phones in another room while performing computerized tests outperformed those who kept their phones nearby.

And it’s not the notifications that are distracting ‒ it’s simply having the phone within reach. Your brain is actively working not to pick up the phone.

I’m not anti-smartphones. But when I take control of my device instead of it ruling me, I’m way more productive.

Plus, your phone may be affecting your sleep. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco found that more screen time leads to worse sleep.

“Longer average screen-time was associated with shorter sleep duration and worse sleep-efficiency,” the authors write.

“Longer average screen times during bedtime and the sleeping period were associated with poor sleep quality, decreased sleep efficiency, and longer sleep onset latency.”

And better sleep means more creative juices for making music.

Sleep!

Speaking of the importance of sleep…

Sleep is like a vacuum for your brain. It’s the only time where your brain can “catch its breath,” as Time points out.

And if you never clean your “house,” you’ll never get anything done. Your music career will come to a halt, and your dreams will have zero chance of coming true.

You may find yourself accidentally nodding off during the day, like nearly 40% of adults.

“…Half of Americans say their uneven sleep makes it harder to concentrate on tasks,” according to Time.

So for the sake of your mental health and your music career, go to bed at a reasonable time. Avoid your phone at night. Maybe do some meditation. Because sleep is important for your productivity.

You’ll only succeed in music if you’re getting things done and moving toward your ideal career. So follow these tips, and you’ll set yourself up for your success.

– – –

Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter/producer in Austin, Tx. His music has been on NBC, NPR, and hundreds of clients have licensed his songs. He also made a free worksheet to help you be more productive.


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At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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