Spend less time on your music for more creative output

If you are anything like me you have gone through (or are going through) some creative struggles. You simply aren’t carving out the time you need to get any real music done. Does the idea of starting a new project seem like a waste, since you feel you never have the time to dive in deep enough to get anything accomplished?
I know exactly how you feel.
About 6 months back I made a 30 day commitment to myself to work on music 2 hours a day, everyday. It didn’t matter what I was doing as long as I was creating. I figured this type of discipline would be exactly what I needed to start purging through all of my unfinished ideas.

This went well for the first 5 days and I was pretty motivated the first 3 days of them. Then “life” happened and something kept me from meeting my day’s goal. From there I felt much less committed to my goal of 30 days. I had a couple spurts of creative action,  but felt like I had already failed on my committment. From there, I really dropped the ball for most of the month.

Although I would consider revisiting this goal perhaps later in the year, I feel this original goal just wasn’t very realistic for me (I say “for me” because some of you may feel this is pretty reasonable. If that is the case, go for it!).
This year I have a different approach for pretty much any goal.

Think of it like exercise. The idea is to set a habit first instead of thinking about maximum production and output. My new idea is to set a goal simple enough that it would be ridiculous to not be able to accomplish it everyday. The key here is EVERYDAY, not 5 days a week, not every other day..EVERYDAY. This is so important in habit forming.

When I decided I wanted to get in better shape, I decided that I would commit to 20 push ups and 50 situps. Nothing less, nothing more. This was pretty easy to accomplish and only took up a few minutes of my time everyday. Although I wasn’t noticing much if any difference in my strength, the strength of my daily habit was quite noticeable.
As the habit became a no brainer, I decided to start challenging myself to do more situps and push up, and then added a fairly easy weight routine. Soon enough I was not only noticing a difference, I couldn’t even think of skipping a day.
The point here is creating the habit first, and once that is in place, Then slowly build your resistance in small enough increments that it is challenging, but not so challenging that you would be tempted to skip a day…..
So back to music making..
My proposal to you is to devote yourself to just 15 minutes a day, everyday,  to music making. It doesn’t matter what it is you do, but make sure you are creating in some way.

If you are away from your computer or away from home, perhaps you can pick up a friends acoustic guitar, write some lyrics or hum a melody into a portable recorder. Whatever the situation, wherever you are.. no more excuses…. 15 minutes. that’s all.

As you build up the habit and you start to look forward to the process a few things will likely happen.

* Your mind will start tuning into being creative and more ideas will start popping in your head.
* You will actually become more productive in 15 minutes than most people are in an hour… this is the benefit of habits. Habits lead to greater efficiency.
* You may find yourself going way past your 15 minute goal more and more often, but don’t let yourself slide on the 15 minutes you have to spend tomorrow.

I’m certain that if you follow this habit forming technique in your musical life as well as other aspects of your life, you’ll find yourself with many more accomplishments than you likely thought possible for you!
Here’s a Slightly different creative approach you can feel free to try
Once you have your habit in place, you may want to create more urgency in your creativity. This can be done by putting a limit on your creativity each day. Yes, I said to limit your time.

“I will only allow myself 30 minutes of music making today”.
This is a good way to keep your analytical left brain from second guessing everything you do and create enough urgency to accomplish much more in less time.

Isn’t THAT why death was created in the first place? If there was no death, very few of us would do much of anything because there would always be tomorrow.

Don’t wait until tomorrow, get started today and everyday. Start small to form a habit, then build resistance once you have the habit in place. Best of luck!
happy music making
Jason

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