Let’s be honest, most musicians out there have a side hustle: a day job that helps them make ends meet and keeps their bills paid and food on the table. Elizabeth Gilbert once said, “You should be childlike in your pursuit of your passion, but not childish.” I adore this quote, because it allows you to look your passion straight in the eye and acknowledge that it will not always support you. And it doesn’t HAVE to. Once you accept that, you will be a lot happier as an artist. You will stop judging your art by it’s current monetary value, and your stress will subside considerably.
This is the truth about art, and I’m gonna lay it right out for you. It is NOT consistent. There are times in music and art where the market is difficult, or it’s “off-season" for you and your calendar is left blank. That doesn’t mean you should give up, it means that you’re gonna need to have another way to bring in some dough while continuing to practice. If you are lucky enough to be a full time musician year round, then kudos to you. For the rest of us, we are still in a place where we have to factor a day job into our performance and practice schedules. We need to find ways to get more done with less time. Sleeping late is a bad habit that can be the death to your productivity. Don’t think so? In this blog I will explain a couple reasons why this habit may be keeping you in a rut.
1. You have limited focus.
We’ve all been there. You’ve just gotten home from work, maybe you still need to make dinner for yourself and all you want to do is sit on the couch and flip through your favorite TV shows or dig into some Netflix. You’re not alone. This is absolutely how everyone else feels after a long day at work too. Most work days, about 5 hours in- I am mentally fried. Later that night I go home and try to work on some memorization or sing through some music and it feels almost impossible to focus or retain information at that point. We only have a few good hours of focus in us per day. Make sure you’re using them wisely! Get up a couple hours before you have to go to work, and start hashing out some art! It’s the best way to truly make progress. Don’t wait until the day is over and you have nothing left to give. Put your passion first.
2. You will feel like you have "stolen hours" without distraction.
When do you receive the most phone calls and texts? Generally after you and everyone else gets home from work. If everyone else is still sleeping or getting ready for work, chances are, you are going to get way fewer distractions. Hearing your phone buzzing or getting endless messages and e-mails can disrupt your practice in no time. Getting up earlier gives you the feeling that you have stolen some extra hours just for yourself. Jump into your day with music FIRST. There will be plenty of time to watch cute cat videos on your phone later.
3. You will feel less guilty.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to let a lot of guilt creep up when I feel like I don’t give much focused attention to my art. I feel like it’s slipping away from me. I feel like I should be getting more done, or be further along in my studies. This is all part of the emotional roller coaster that we artists get to ride for our entire life! Weeeee! If I have already gotten events created, pictures posted, blogs written, songs practiced, and created posters for my next gig by the time I get to work, I come home feeling WAY less guilty. I don’t have to be a zombie attempting to practice after work AND be really sad about it too. Boom goes the dynamite.
4. You will wake up with a purpose.
If you have a solid reason WHY you need to be getting up in the morning, you’ll absolutely do it. I know that I wake up every morning wanting to get ready to make more music. You can either make art now, or make excuses later on. Period.
5. You will get way more done.
It is truly amazing how much you can get done even if you wake up only 1 hour earlier than you did before. Maybe it’s the proximity to my coffee pot, or maybe it’s just that my brain is so fresh, but I can get about two or three times as much done BEFORE work, as I do after a long day.
6. You will have gotten the productivity ball rolling.
Life is a series of tasks. If you hop out of bed in the morning and you get straight to doing the work you were born to do, that creates a ripple affect in entire your day. You will be more present at work and you will have more energy to manage the rest of the items on your daily to-do list. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. So start your day strong and create all the inertia that you can.
Well, what do you think? What’s more important to you? Getting focused work accomplished early on in the day or catching some extra zzz’s? Let me know in a comment below. I totally understand that everyone out there has a different crazy schedule with all kinds of obligations. However, I really challenge you this month to be honest about what you are prioritizing and how you are using your most focused hours in the day! I think it is truly remarkable what we can accomplish as long as we schedule it, give it the time and consideration that it deserves, and put our best foot forward every single day.
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