#1 - Create a DEADline.
I have to admit something to everyone: I'm lazy. I procrastinate. I am bad with time management. I love starting things and suck at finishing them. There, I said it. But you know the one thing that makes these enemies of accomplishment go away? A deadline. Not only do deadlines help you finish your music but I believe they can spark and force inspiration. Waiting to write your music only when inspiration hits will limit the amount of time you spend on your music. Working on the craft of production and song writing is hard work and you have to do it even when you do not feel like it. Creativity lives within you and is available at all times. Deadlines help you kickstart the creation process.
#2 - Create a DEADline that you are accountable to.
At Redemption (the music production studio I work at) I am accountable to people/companies/clients who have hired me to write or produce music, so the accountability is usually pretty effective. Finish the project in time and I will get paid. If I do not meet the deadline then...I won't get paid. Receiving money to pay the bills is a powerful motivator. However there are times that I am creating and producing music for me. Not for clients and no guarantee that I will make money. So what do I do then? A couple ideas:
- Tell a close friend or family member your music goal. ie: "I am wanting to release 2 songs every month for 2014." or "I want to release a 4 song EP by March 15 2014." Then ask them to check in with you weekly on how its going.
- Announce publicly via the social medias about your project or goal. ie: "I will be dropping my new jam "Big ups to the Little Peeps" on Soundcloud January 20 2014. Check my Soundcloud for updates." Public shame is powerful. Use it to your advantage so you follow through and look like you mean business.
- Create some cover art for your EP with the release date in the artwork. Post to your social medias. Create a desktop background with the release date on it. Write it down in your journal and paste it onto your fridge at home.
- Team up with another producer and set similar goals. Hold each other accountable every week when you get together. Show each other what you are working on and commit to meeting weekly until your project is finished.
#3 - Create a DEADline that you can meet.
Similar to goals, creating a deadline needs to stretch you but should not be ridiculous. Setting a goal to make 5 beats everyday for a year is lofty and should be respected, however not realistic. You will eventually fail and abandon the deadline/goal completely. Set a date for your project and work backwards. Does it give you room to miss a day or two every couple weeks? Use a calendar and plan it out. There are some great apps that you can set a deadline for and it will countdown the days, hours and minutes till its due. Start off small and set a deadline for on finished track. Give yourself one week. This deadline is totally do able but at the same time will push you.
#4 - Create a DEADline that has deadlines.
If you set a deadline to finish an EP by March, then you should also set deadlines for each track. Breakdown your overall project into parts. Place them onto a calendar and work backwards. Set milestones for your project and color code them in your calendar program. Having a plan is so important. Spending time on planning your days and what you will attempt to work everyday will help combat time sucks like YouTube and social media sites. When you wake up, you will already know what you need to do that day. If you spend a few hours planning out and breaking your project down, you will stay focused and stay on task to complete your tracks.
As you can see this really was one big tip with a bunch of sub points, but I have really benefited in my music career and other parts of my life by having deadlines. It's great for people lazy like me. I would love to hear your deadlines you have set and how you are going to make them. Comment below.
Mitch Lee is an award winning producer and composer at Redemption in Calgary AB Canada, an Ableton certified trainer and is a course developer at Beat Drop. Check out his Mr Elastic project Push Beats on the youtubes.