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Especially in the infancy of your career, there are probably so many creative ideas and concepts that you can’t wait to materialize!
While being creative is essential, you need to balance the creative with the business side of your career.
You’re starting to pave the way for your future, and there are exciting opportunities ahead!
While this is an exciting time, chances are you might also be feeling a bit overwhelmed about all there is to do and understandable so.
To make life easier on yourself, we highly suggest that you keep organized and learn how to manage your time so you can prepare for anything this journey throws at you.
Below are our Time Management Tips For Busy Musicians With Suggested Tools.
Time Management and Organization
For most people involved in music, the creative aspects are usually the fun part. Putting all your energy into your career’s creative aspects shows that you’re dedicated to your craft.
However, it can also make you lose sight of some other essential activities that could impede your success if neglected over time.
With that said, you’ll need to focus on your ability to manage your time better, which can be a challenge for most of us. Your time is valuable, so take the required steps to get the most out of your day as possible.
First, start by assessing where you’re spending most of your time, as well as the tasks that you may be neglecting. Once you have identified these areas, you can take action and work towards structuring a plan that keeps you on track.
Learning how to manage your time effectively goes hand-in-hand with staying organized. We encourage you to leverage tools like a calendar or keep a journal of all of the tasks that you need to complete. We’ll share some other helpful tools that you can use shortly.
Jotting out all of your priorities for the days, weeks, and even months ahead is an effective way to recognize what needs to be accomplished and how much time it may take to get the job done.
Balance Is Key
It’s crucial to find a balance between all the important areas of your life as you embark upon your journey as an artist. Balance as an artist comes from juggling the business side of things, your creative process, and your personal life as a musician.
After understanding your creative process, you must then strategize how you will focus on marketing and promoting yourself regularly. This could mean looking for ways to keep your audience engaged while making sure you can make ends meet financially.
Your personal life shouldn’t be neglected either and doesn’t just disappear because you’re trying to make it as a professional musician. The bills of life, family, friends, day jobs, etc., all have a place in this entangled web of your life as an artist.
Priorities and obligations will vary depending on the person, but it’s essential to consider how all these things will blend or what sacrifices might need to be made.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming everything will magically sort itself out when you “make it.” Life doesn’t work like that, and issues don’t magically fix themselves. From a mental health standpoint, be kind to yourself, make time for yourself, and make time for those around you who matter even through your hectic schedule.
After considering all of the things you need to get done and make time for, you may feel overwhelmed. If you’re finding it hard to manage everything on your own, it may be time to outsource some talent that fits within your budget.
What is Outsourcing & When to build a team?
There is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes when you’re an artist, and you can’t do it all on your own.
After distinguishing what needs to get done, try identifying the tasks that only you can do to prioritize your responsibilities.
If there are tasks that don’t involve your creative input, you may find it helpful to outsource them. Outsourcing involves transferring specific tasks to other competent people who you trust to complete the work.
In the business world, a company often hires another company or individual to perform services, handle operations, or complete tasks that their employees don’t have time to do. As an artist, I encourage you never to be afraid of looking for help when you need it.
I want this to become second nature for you because your success will rely heavily on your ability to get help and build your team. You can start small or leverage those who are already around you to get started.
If you’re a bit apprehensive or have trust issues like most of us do with our art, don’t worry, as we have some useful tips on how to outsource here. For now, let’s get you more productive and organized first.
Tips For Time Management
Implement the 80/20 rule
The key here is to identify the tasks that matter most and focus more of your energy there. These are the tasks that bring you results and push your career in the right direction.
For other required tasks that are considered tedious and don’t move the needle, we want to monitor and limit how much time we devote to these things.
This doesn’t mean that you neglect them, but you need to be smart about how you allocate your time to them or, better yet, get someone else to do them if you can.
Outsource low-level tasks
If you think you’re spending too much time learning how to do everything yourself, it may make more sense to pay someone to help you.
Although you may not have the budget to hire an assistant or someone full-time, many freelancers get paid per-project. If you do your homework, you can also find diamonds in the rough that don’t break the bank.
However, suppose you have some excellent connections within the music industry already. In that case, those are the people that you should be asking for trusted referrals and recommendations for any help you might need.
Track your time
When planning out your time, you need to have a solid starting point. First, start by tracking what you currently do in a day.
This will give you a good idea of what you need to spend less time doing and where you might need to redirect your energy to align with your goals. This is also important for reflection.
We often get caught up in all the chaos, and the days turn into weeks, which then turn into months, and when we look back, it’s all just a blur.
Without tracking your time, it’s impossible to decipher if you are making real progress and or if adjustments need to be made.
Set up systems and processes
You might think you’re above this or that it’s too much work, but have you ever spent hours researching how to do something simple? Maybe you need to make a very specific edit to your photos but aren’t very design-savvy, so you watch tutorial after tutorial, rummage through Reddit threads, and barely avoid having a mental breakdown from frustration.
You finally figure it out, and after that moment of euphoria, you go on about your day, instantly forgetting everything you’ve just done.
Weeks later you need to do the SAME thing again, and you instantly think, “crap, how did I do that the last time?” and the cycle starts all over again.
Don’t do this! You are wasting precious time.
For tasks that you need to do consistently, especially if you’re meticulous about how it’s done, document the steps for getting it done or bookmark the tutorial links so that you can easily retrace your steps.
This is how you replicate success with everything you do, from your releases right down to how you post on social media. If you do something and it’s successful, make sure you know how to consistently produce that result.
While you may think that this is redundant, the primary purpose behind this is to eventually hand off tasks to other people as your team grows. You get to be confident that you’ll still produce the same results while also freeing yourself up for more important tasks.
This will sound weird but don’t rely on people because people will let you down. That even includes yourself, because, let’s face it, you’re human too. People get tired, quit, lose interest, and make excuses, but your systems won’t. Your systems remain constant and allow things to operate without you.
Better yet, you can easily replace people if you need to and teach your systems to the new person. If your tasks can only be done by you, and you alone, you’ll be spinning your tires trying to get everything done. Create systems, refine them, and outsource when it makes sense.
Plan Now, save time later
Doing anything without a plan means you’ll lack direction and will lead to lost time. There are many directions that your career could go, so the foundation of your plan should cover as much ground as you can.
Visualize where you see your career in the next few years and what resources you may need once you get to a certain point. The fact that you’re reading this guide and putting that plan together is a significant first step in the right direction!
set some goals
You should always set S.M.A.R.T. personal and professional goals that pertain to your music career.
Once you reach those goals, strategize and create even more ambitious ones!
Success may not be linear in the music industry, but your hard work is bound to pay off eventually.
set regular working hours
We don’t want to depress you or insist that you treat music like a 9-5 job. Music is what you love and are passionate about, so let’s avoid the dreaded “J” word.
However, if we’re looking at your music like a business, you should have regular hours of operation, shouldn’t you?
As a musician, you probably get things done at all random hours of the day, which is fine, but you’ll eventually want to introduce some structure to your day to day activity.
This will significantly depend on your schedule and what other responsibilities you have in your life but try to develop a routine.
Maybe your mornings are dedicated to catching up on your emails before you head off to work. You then spend your lunch engaging on social media.
When you get home, you spend a bit of time with the family, and then your evenings are dedicated to being creative and making music.
On Saturday, you devote the majority of the day to getting shit done! However, Sundays, you’re considered closed for business and maybe take time for yourself to relax and decompress.
This is just a rough example, but keep in mind that this isn’t just a reminder for yourself. This also puts people on notice of when to leave you alone to focus on music and respect your time.
It also gets you in the habit of making time for yourself. This will never be perfect, and chances are you’ll still endure some very sporadic hours because, let’s face it, life gets hectic, but at the very least, this will help keep you somewhat sane.
Limit and track your time on “time-wasting” activities
While some people may overwork, others are easily distracted. Treating yourself to a Netflix show is much different than binge-watching a whole series, especially when the day was supposed to be spent strategizing the release of your new single.
Whether you find it useful to use tools or apps to track your time or need to lock your phone away in another room to stay focused — find the best way to balance business and pleasure so you can get your work done.
Time Management Tools For Musicians
Today, there are so many tools that can help you be more productive as an artist. Here are some tools that can help keep you organized when it comes to all of your tasks.
If you’ve ever used sticky notes to remind you of all of the tasks you needed to complete, Trello is the digital version of this. The web-based project management tool is free to use and can be useful if you find yourself collaborating with other musicians or juggling various individual projects.
Many businesses and individuals use Google Suite because all of their tools are integrated, so you can easily stay organized, share files, and create or file documents. You may find it useful to utilize Google Sheets to track your expenses, create a budget, or use Google Calendar in coordination with the calendar on your phone! Sending files over Google Docs is also a great way to collaborate with freelance workers or other musicians if you have an upcoming project you’re working on.
It’s okay; even the best of us make some minor grammatical mistakes now and then. Make too many, however, and you risk looking unprofessional — and we don’t want that now, do we? To stay on the safe side, using tools like Grammarly is an easy way to look over your emails or press releases before clicking send.
If you haven’t found a format that works to track your finances, using a platform like Mint may be an excellent way to go. Mint is an online budget planner that makes it easy to visualize all of your income and expenses. All you have to do is plug in your financial information, and the platform automatically tracks all of your financial activity and gives you easy to understand insights. This is a great platform to have your finances, goals, and budgets all in one place.
Using time management software like Rescue Time could be the answer to stopping unproductivity. For musicians, most of your work may be alone at home — so it’s easy to get sidetracked by doing other things like watching YouTube videos or learning a new TikTok dance. After downloading the Rescue Time app — the software will track where you spend your time on specific apps and layout all of the information in detailed graphs. You may be shocked at how much time you’re wasting throughout the day!
You’ve probably heard about Dropbox before, but if not — similarly to Google Drive, Dropbox is a secure way to share files with people you’re working with. Suppose you’re sending photos back and forth for potential album covers or even passing along demos of a potential song to producers. In that case, Dropbox is a great platform to share those large files securely and reliably.
If you ever lose track of all of your passwords, LastPass puts them all in one place. Having a password manager can be helpful for people who have a ton of different accounts. Not only does the platform help you generate strong passwords, but it stores all of them in a secure place. Hopefully, this will be your answer to never forgetting a password again!
If you don’t like keeping a physical journal or diary, Evernote may be perfect for you. Evernote is an application – that can be accessed from your computer or phone – that is designed to organize your journal entries, take notes, and manage all of your tasks. There is also an option to archive your notes after completing your projects, so you can always go back and refer to them in the future.
Freelance/Outsourcing Services (ex. Fiver, Upwork, etc)
Even though handing off parts of your project can be scary, it can free up some of your valuable time so that you can spend it on creating your music and other things that you have to handle yourself.
While getting a referral is usually the best way to go when outsourcing services, you might not find anyone who can work within your budget or has the time to work with you at the moment.
Thankfully, there are many online resources that you can use to hire people to help you complete any task you can think of.
Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are home to thousands of trusted freelancers that are always looking for work.
Final Thoughts On our Time Management Tips For Busy Musicians
Managing your time and staying organized isn’t easy, so we suggest you leverage tools and outsource tasks when you can to simplify your life.
Hopefully, over time you will see the value in planning for the future and reap the benefits of your increased productivity.
Music With Flavor Staff
Helping You Taste Success In Music