Musicians are almost always working on tight deadlines for most projects, and that’s especially true for those of us with competing time commitments outside of music that we have to balance. Here are some of strategies for beating the clock:
1. Pre plan.
Schedule out what you have to do for the entire project, then give yourself margin (note: I’m terrible at the margin part, but I’m learning). By building out a strategy that includes space for unexpected twists in the project, your odds go up of finishing on time.
2. Make a list.
Build a list of all the specific things you need to do in a particular day to get your project done, then use the list as a guide for how to group your work day. the more you can group similar activities, the more efficient you can be.
3. Set a timer.
I like to use my phone or an actual egg timer for 25 minutes. By having the timer there, I tend to stay focused on getting done what I need to get done on time.
4. Every 25 minutes get up and move.
This will “reset” your mental focus, encourage creativity, and keep you from chasing unproductive rabbit trails. I personally like to use my Apple watch to work out for 2-3 minutes, and then get water or a healthy snack in the remaining 2 minutes before I sit back down.
5. When you sit down, reevaluate.
Take under a minute to make sure that you’re on the right track with what you’re working on, and make any adjustments that you need to before proceeding. This will help you stay much more productive and on track for your original goal.