Most musicians are Lone Rangers. We prefer to trust a chosen few people to be our Tontos, and spend most of our lives toiling in isolation. There's nothing wrong with that, if you happen to be a genius in every area of expertise that it takes to make you a successful musician. Here's my top 7 warning signs that I'm not handing off enough stuff:
7. You have no time to do work that will improve your career long-term. A few weeks ago I asked a grammy-winning drummer in Nashville what his biggest regret was, and he said he wished he’d spent more time developing his career long-term instead of just focusing on what was in front of him. If you don’t have time to work on long term goals, chances are when you get to the next step in your career you won’t be ready. Make time today to do what’s really important, and hand off what isn’t to someone else.
6. You spend most of your energy working on things you don’t do well. If you suck at an area, there’s a good chance that it will cost you less in the long run to hire someone to handle that area than it would to do it yourself. For instance, I’ve always had a professional do my taxes because they’re great at it, and it’s worth the money to know that I’m responsibly handing off this area of my life.
5. You’re constantly making small mistakes. This is my big warning sign that I’m either fighting burn out, or trying to do something I really should hand off because I’m not giving it enough attention.
4. You constantly feel overwhelmed. It’s simple: if you have too much on your plate, you need to start handing stuff of to people that you trust and lighten your workload. No one does great work if they’re constantly fighting burnout.
3. You have no free time. Again, great work doesn’t come from stressed, overworked people. Make sure you schedule downtime into your schedule, and if you can’t find the time, hand something off to make room.
2. You feel like you spend all day putting out fires. We all fight this, but it doesn’t make it right. Don’t let the most stressful thing in your life rule you by focusing on the truly important things first, making decisive decisions that deal with problems, and then handing off the clean up work to others.
1. You are “losing your passion” for music. Often we feel like we’ve lost our passion for something because we’re overworked or working on all the tedious things that aren’t really what we love. Make time to play music, hang with friends, and just enjoy your field by handing off things like billing, scheduling, and other tasks to helpers.