Yes, it has been a whole, five days since I last posted. What happened?!?! Yeah, well, I'm a slacker. Actually, I'm really not... Over the last week, I've been trying a new format/method/tactic for getting music work done at home. Obviously (or maybe not, but now you know), I work out of my apartment: booking phone calls, web and graphic design, fan outreach, blogging, recording, and, don't forget, practicing and writing music. Jeez! Who woulda thunkit? A *songwriter* who *writes* and *practices* music?!?!
Writing music and practicing (guitar, voice, and piano) are the two, most important tasks that I have to do on any given day, and as such, I have to place them at the top of my to do list. So here's my new method (and it seems to be working):
Before I turn on the computer - at all - on M, T, W, R, F, or Saturday, I have to spend *2.5 hours* writing and practicing. I start with guitar practice (45 min), then move to writing (30 min), then on to piano (30 min), and voice (30 min). The extra 15 minutes is eaten up by stretching, bathroom, getting coffee, and other stop-gap putzings.
I must note, however, that in order to write this post, I have violated this new work strategy. I couldn't bear not posting for you for an entire week! As soon as I hit "publish post", I will be putting this computer to sleep to hit those priority tasks.
So why am I being so structured about my time? There are two factors:
1. Gary Stanton (a co-writer friend of mine) and Joe Zimmer (my new manager) and I just recently started meeting every month to talk about how to "up our game". It came to the fore that we had no method for keeping each other accountable for putting in XX hours of music-related work each week. We decided to write out our schedules (something we all have to do this week), post them online, and keep tabs on how much work we're all actually doing.
2. As a result of #1 above, I *did* sit down and analyze my workload. I started out by writing down the amount of time I would *like* to spend on music work during any given week. I then totaled those hours. I was surprised to find that the total was well under what most Americans consider a full-time job (40 hours a week, of course). According to my "ideal" schedule, as I first conceived it, I would only be putting in 29 hours a week! At that point, I just started adding chunks of time to bring the total up to 40. This is, after all, my official full-time job.
So there you have it, friends. I have sought, in my own life, to place the things that I think I do well - the things that I love to do and only I can do for myself - at the top of my priority list each day (well, six days a week). (Just FYI, I also write music on Sundays.) For me, the way to make this happen (and I'm still in process on this) was just to say "no computer until I do A, B, and C."
I hope this sort of a thing can help you out, too, and I'd love to hear from you if either there's something in your life that you'd like to apply this to, or if you apply this and have some good news to report back. Thanks for the comments!
On to practicing...