Recently I’ve been having a really hard time trying to find time to compose, run this site, and work a full time job 40hrs a week. At the moment, I’m working on about 3 projects for people – a soundtrack for an oriental animation, a soundtrack for a 10 minute film and an upbeat piano track for a game.
If you don’t have to work 40 hrs a week at another job, that wouldn’t be too bad, but trying to find the time to do large-ish project in your spare time, while having a girlfriend and a job, is quite a strain. It either means a small amount of sleep, and large amount of pressure, or using and managing your time effectively.
I’m sure if I actually focused, I could probably get all of these projects done quite a lot quicker, but I’m still learning about myself, and how my mind works – what makes me work quicker, and what slows me down. However, I’ve picked up a few things which I find beneficial to myself – maybe they’ll be beneficial to you too.
Firstly, I always jot down my goals for the day/week. Something this simple, just can’t be overlooked when you are trying to be productive in any part of your life. Whether you have a huge amount of music to write, or whether you need to clean the house from top to bottom, setting out your goals is the first step. To actually do what needs doing, you have to agree with yourself first of all what it is that actually needs to be done. Your mind might say, oh I need to do clean my room, I need to look on Amazon for something etc. but when you have you goals set out on paper, it helps focus your mind – each time you look at it, you are reminded what is important and what exactly it is that you originally set out to do.
Secondly, I always find that wearing headphones can help – may sound weird, but for me it works. A good set of headphones drown out background noise and make you more aware of what you are doing. I noticed this quite a number of years ago, when I first started college, and used to be on the bus quite a lot. I would put on my headphones on the bus, and all of a sudden, all the background nosie was drowned out, and my mind focused on issues that were in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until I read a blog post by Joel Falconer on producitivity on lifehack.org, then it brought it back to me. If you are in a busy place, and need to get work done, headphones rock. Sometimes, if I’m mixing a piece aswell, I like to have headphones on (for at least some of it) as it helps me focus more – try it – it might work to your advantage in every day situations.
Thirdly – something which I absolutely and totally believe is the only thing you need to succeed – perseverence. “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. If you want to do something, nothing whatsoever can stop you. Without sounding like any of those self help books or videos, you really can do anything if you put your mind to it, and perservere. You only have to look at some popular success stories to see exactly what I mean.
Look at Abraham Lincoln – he truly mastered persistence:
* 1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
* 1818: His mother died.
* 1831: Failed in business.
* 1832: Ran for state legislature – lost.
* 1832: Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
* 1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
* 1834: Ran for state legislature again – won.
* 1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
* 1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
* 1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
* 1840: Sought to become elector – defeated.
* 1843: Ran for Congress – lost.
* 1846: Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
* 1848: Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
* 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
* 1854: Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
* 1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
* 1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
* 1860: Elected president of the United States.
So you see – persistence pays off. The only one thing you need to succeed is persistence.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: The would is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” — Calvin Coolidge”
Fourthly – always laugh – no matter what happens, now matter how stressed you get, just laugh. If you can’t laugh, force yourself to smile. I once read that when your cheeks move to the smiling position, it releases the human bodies equivalent of morphine into your body. Try it – raise your eyebrows, lift up your shoulders, and smile – you’ll find that you can’t physically feel bad unless you move out of that position. Its quite funny – and handy! Always look on the bright side of life when you’re under pressure, and it will always work out
Fifth – excercise. I can’t talk – I’m no fitness guru, but in the last while I’ve found myself going for a quick 15 min jog now and again, and the difference it makes is astounding. When I get back home after going for a jog, my brain is far more active, I feel great, I have more energy, and I’ve forgotten why I was so stressed in the first place. Try it – its great.
I’m sure that theres lots more things to talk about here, but ironically, I don’t have the time right now lol