There are only 24 hours a day here on Earth. Everyone gets the same amount. No more, no less. So when someone says they don’t have time for something, what they are really saying is they have allotted that time to something else. So as musicians, we can have a lot on our plates at times. From working on new material, rehearsing old material, marketing, booking, and so forth, it can be hard to find time to squeeze it all in. If you are working a regular job to support your musical endeavors, then your available time for music is even less. So let’s take a quick look at some time management tricks and open up more time for music.
First Make The Decision To Value Your Time More
Before you can find ways to gain more time for your music, you must first have a way to value that time. Whether you assign a monetary value to your time or just say to yourself that your limited time is valuable, you need a way to commit yourself to holding your time at a higher value. The more expensive a new phone is, the more you will likely be careful when using it. If you treat your time as being sufficiently valuable, you will work harder to protect it.
Second, Decide What You Really Want To Focus On
Once you have begun to value your time better, you need to have something to put your valuable time into. As musicians, we have a lot to deal with. So this is the point where you decide which things you need to be spending more time doing or doing more often. Maybe you need to put more time into your daily practice, or you could need to spend more time over the course of the week doing marketing and booking efforts. Whatever you need to do, you need to figure out what it is and how much time you need to commit to it.
Now Find Some Things You Can Eliminate Or Reduce In Your Day
Now that you value your time more and know what you need to commit that time towards, it is time to find more time to do those things. Of course, since we have only 24 hours in a day, we cannot create “more” time really. Instead, we just reassign time to something else. So to free up time in order to reassign it to music oriented tasks, you must first “unassign” it from other tasks. There are numerous things you can choose to cut back on depending on your daily routine and lifestyle. It can be simple things like cutting down your shower time or checking email/social networks only twice a day. Or you can be more advanced and automate certain things like having your groceries delivered on a schedule.
Craft A Routine For Yourself
An easy way to combine all three things discussed so far is to create a daily or weekly routine. Benjamin Franklin did many things during his lifetime, and it is usually attributed to his daily routine approach that influenced how he accomplished so much.
Now Stick To The Routine
Much like trying to break a bad habit or form a new good habit, you have to stick with the routine to really make it work for you. Being consistent with it will help to cement it into your life better. Then, much like Benjamin Franklin, you’ll begin to accomplish a lot.
Learn To Say No
Sometimes you have things pop up that threaten to disrupt your routine or take away time from your preferred efforts. This can come from unavoidable issues such as personal health, health issues of a family member or close friend, financial concerns, etc…. Other times it can be things that people are asking of you that are not pressing. Maybe someone wants you to help with their gig but can’t pay you. What about fill in gigs? Learning new songs takes time after all. If you don’t see a benefit from the gig that outweighs the cost of the time and other expenses, then maybe you should just say no to it. Once again, if you have assigned a value to your time then you have an easier way to determine if an offer is worth it.
Hack Your Routine; Batch And Automate What You Can
Once you find a good routine, the next step is to make it even better. Look for things that can be grouped together to minimize down time between. Maybe cook food for several meals at one time and just reheat when you’re ready to eat. Doing mailing list send outs? Create a starting template to use and look for a service provider that lets you schedule them. Sign up for a service like Buffer and schedule posts to your social networking sites. Look at services like ArtistData to simplify event posting to the various social sites.
So now you have a method to manage your time better and make more time to work on the music you are passionate about. All that is left is to get going, so why are you still here? Get busy hacking your schedule!