When you’re a parent or have a demanding full-time job or both, it’s hard to find time to work on music.
In fact, it’s much easier to forget about music for weeks at a time and only wake up every few months feeling discouraged and defeated because, despite all of our efforts, it looks like we’ve made no progress…
In this post, I’m sharing 4 techniques that helped me stay focused and move forward with my music career WITHOUT affecting my day job negatively.
I used these 4 techniques to write 56 tracks in 6 months while I was traveling and working full-time as a contracts compliance auditor for a Fortune 500 company.
Here’s what I did…
Technique #1 – The Switcheroo
Not sure it’s wise to start with this one because it’s one of the scariest thing I ever did but let’s go for it anyway! If you’re still around for technique #2, I’ll know you’re a true warrior! :)))
First thing you need to know: I consider myself a night owl and a BIG sleeper.
I like to go to bed late (say 2-3am) and I like to sleep A LOT (10-11 hours is far from unusual).
I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been this way since I was a kid.
So when a mentor of mine suggested I try working on music BEFORE going to the office in the morning, I was willing to try but not super confident I could pull it off….
Here’s what made it work….
Well guess what?
Now it wasn’t easy and the first 5-10 minutes after getting out of bed stung! BUT….
♦ after a nice shower and good breakfast, I was ready to go and record music.
♦ by the time I had to head down to the office at 8:30am, I was full of energy!
I can’t even begin to describe the feelings of pride and contentment and accomplishment that I would experience on my way to work.
Now I’m not saying you should wake up at 5am for the rest of your life….
I go in and out of this particular habit. Sometimes it’s just not the right period for me because my family needs me awake at 11pm or I just want to enjoy a lie in.
Technique #2 – The ONE Thing
As you know, being an indie musician can be very lonely and overwhelming.
One book that has helped me IMMENSELY along the way is The ONE Thing, by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller.
It’s one of those rare cases where I think the audiobook may actually be even better than the paperback (although I still purchased the paperback!!!)
I enjoy the audiobook because the message that’s pushed across the book bares repetition and it’s nice to have someone whisper it in your earbuds every now and then!!!
So the core message of the book is fairly straightforward:
“What is the ONE thing that I could do that would make all the other things either EASIER or UNNECESSARY?”
I’ll let you read that sentence a few times before moving on…..
So this is sooooooo obvious!!! Right?
It makes so much sense!
Yes, OF COURSE! I should focus on the ONE thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary!
And yet…. we keep forgetting this.
We start with great intentions but get lost along the way!
Ok so maybe you’re not quite sure why this concept is so powerful and how it applies to you as an indie musician….
Let me give you a few examples.
Technique #3 – Getting an Accountability Partner
This one is both easy and tricky…..
The concept is simple: you team up with someone and check-in with them regularly.
The execution is tricky:
- how do you choose your accountability partner?
- how often do you meet?
- should you meet online or in person?
- should your focus be professional or personal?
There is no right or wrong answer here but, for what it’s worth, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.
Technique #4 – Finding Mentors
If you’ve tried accountability partners before and they haven’t worked out for you, it might be worth reaching out to a mentor.
An accountability partner is someone who is more or less “at your level”. You learn from each other and hold each other accountable.
On the other hand, a mentor is someone who is “ahead of you”.
That doesn’t mean they’re smarter, richer, superior, whatever “-er” you can think of.
It just means that they have or know something you don’t.
Of course, a mentor might end up learning a lot from you too but the premise of the relationship is YOU are reaching out to THEM, looking for inspiration, advice, direction, experience, etc.