In today's world, hard work, hustle and entrepreneurship are trendy.
But I believe a lot of people are rolling the dice on their health, relationships and life for want of fame, fortune, or other prospects.
If you're working 16-hour days in front of a computer, failing to exercise and eat well, and not getting enough rest or sleep, then you do not have an effective daily routine. Look, none of us are superhuman, and we will pay the price for a lifestyle like that.
Don't get me wrong – hard work is a part of attaining success in any profession, and you might pull a few 16-hour days on your way to reaching your dreams.
But that's not sustainable over the long haul. Recognize this one simple truth – if you try to outwork everyone else, you won't outlive them.
Here are some thoughts on how to accomplish just as much (if not more) than hustlers, without emulating their crazy lifestyles.
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Have A Routine Of Some Kind
Let's start with the basics. If you don't have a routine, you need one.
Any routine provides a good starting point. I realize that not all musicians will be able to get up at 8 AM every day, and get to sleep at midnight every day. But it is possible to achieve some consistency.
This is exactly what I do – I get up at 8, and I go to bed at 12. Despite my sometimes hectic and unpredictable schedule, I have found that I am able to maintain this same routine on most days.
You can't steer a parked car, so first, create a routine for yourself. It doesn't need to be perfect. Once you have a basic working model in place, you can begin to optimize it. Map it all out in Google Calendar or a similar tool.
Create time blocks for productive activity in your schedule based on what your deadlines, priorities and career goals are.
Sleep 7 To 8 Hours Per Night
If this isn't a non-negotiable in your life yet, it should be. We all need a good night's rest to function properly, and not getting enough sleep could mean getting into a car accident on tour, making bad interpersonal decisions (i.e. angering influential industry people), getting sick at the worst possible moment (i.e. onstage), or worse.
Again, I understand that you probably need some flexibility in this regard. If you've got a full-time job and you're pursuing a music career, you've got your work cut out for you – all the more reason to have a solid sleep schedule.
Block In Some Personal Time Daily
You're missing the point if you think life is all about work and working at your creativity. You need some kind of hobby, some kind of distraction – an opportunity to unwind, release, recharge and do something you enjoy.
You don't need to do this every day, nor do you need to book three hours at a time to do it (you're not going to get much done career-wise if you do that).
But please take the time to get some enjoyment out of life. Career success can be a hollow pursuit if what's driving you isn't deeply connected to your personal identity (i.e. if you're doing it for the recognition or people-pleasing reasons).
Prioritize What Matters And What You As A Musician Should Create A Daily Routing For
Musicians must prioritize creativity. Yes, this may fly in the face of what some experts are saying, but frankly posting to Facebook one more time probably isn't going to move the needle on your career.
Marketing is really important, and I will talk more about that in a moment, but if a good chunk of your time isn't going towards your craft, your creativity will suffer.
You'll write fewer songs, make fewer breakthroughs, and have less music to share with your fans. You'll get stuck in a rut like a lot of performing artists who are playing the same songs in their 40s or 50s they used to play when they were in their 20s.
Whether it's writing a song, working on your stage presence, or obtaining the funding you need for your next recording project, you must prioritize what matters. Keep in mind that this is a moving target, and you will have to adjust your routine from time to time.
Get Some Marketing Time In
There are basically three unhealthy extremes with marketing. You should avoid:
- Not allocating enough time for it, doing it haphazardly, not planning, and ultimately not getting results.
- Spending way too much time on activities that will never do anything to move your music career forward (i.e. wasting time on social media).
- Trying to learn it all to become a music marketing expert.
There's a happy medium, and that would be to spend a healthy amount of time each day interacting with fans, building industry connections, and promoting releases or shows. All of this can be done in one or two hours per day or even every other day.
Then, when you have the budget, the connections, and/or the resources to, start building your team. Find someone that's good at marketing and work with them to make the most of your online and offline presence.
As far as social media and blogging goes, it's best to share something only when you have something to say. If you don't care about what you're posting, why do you think your fans will?
Having a routine is actually freeing, and is far less constraining than you might have been led to believe.
Commitment is the same way. It's easier to commit to building a music career than it is to be indecisive and divide your time among a bunch of different pursuits. If you're committed to your success, you won't have to do mental gymnastics every time you're trying to make choices about what's important to you.
Simplicity is key, and having a routine makes it easier for you do get the right things done consistently. If you want to do it all and not have to work 16-hour days, then just focus on what actually needs to get done and don't get pulled away by empty distractions.