Hi, my name’s Eric, and I’m a work-obsessed musician. Like millions of freelancers around the globe, I find a tremendous amount of fulfillment in my work. In my case, it occasionally turns into an addiction.
For the last four months I’ve been experimenting with fasting, mostly for health reasons. I’ve been trying to fast starting Sunday nights and ending my fast on Tuesday at lunch, and every 3 months I go for a longer 4-5 day fast. As usual, Tim Ferriss turned me on to this in his podcast (click here to listen to it) but I’ve been surprised at some of the benefits for musicians that I didn’t expect. Health benefits aside, here’s my top 5 things fasting does for your music career that nothing else can:
With the launch of www.patchfoundry.com this week, I’ll be shifting the direction of this blog away from MainStage (don’t worry- you can still get your MainStage fix every week here). The question is, which direction?
This is the challenge every artist faces every day. Where do we go from here?What will help people, move people the most?
When I’m trying to find direction this question helps me find clarity: “what moves me the most?”
I got into blogging about MainStage because I loved geeking out over music creation software. I got into music because there’s something inside me that goes nuts every time I hear a song I love. I’ll still be doing that at www.patchfoundry.com/blog, but this blog will be shifting to other areas I’m passionate about.
So what has me excited right now? Here’s a short list:
1. Music Producing. I’m finishing up a recording studio, and I’m getting ready to record my first album project in the new space in late January.
2. Making it work as a freelance musician with a family. I’ve blogged about this for awhile, but with a 7 month old and us being a single-income family (mine) I’m going to continue to be exploring concepts of how to manage time and money to create long-term stability as a career musician.
3. 10x your productivity in everything. Tim Ferriss of the Four-Hour Work Week has always been a huge inspiration, and I’ve been applying many of his efficiency concepts to life as a musician. The techniques I’ve learned have helped me to do some awesome things in a fraction of the time (building a pro grade recording studio in a month, while being gone 4 days a week and launching a new business). I have so much to learn still, but I’ll be sharing my journey with you, dear reader, here on a weekly basis.
4. Healthy, cheap, fast cooking. Over the last two years I have really gotten into cheap, fast, low-carb-high-protein-no-nonsense cooking. I’ve been developing a cooking technique over the last two years that can get an extremely healthy meal for two or three people on a plate in under 15 minutes for less than 3 dollars per person. Musicians could literally save thousands of dollars each year if they could learn to cook for themselves in a way that doesn’t take too much time and is healthy, and I’m hoping to explore this in the blog.
5. Healthy lifestyle. In the last 230 days I’ve been able to drop 60 lbs and get back to my high school weight. I’ve dropped about 10% body fat, and I’m able to run up to two miles cross country and do 200 pushups in under 5 minutes. Crazy thing? I canceled my gym membership over a year ago, and I’ve not worked out more than 15 minutes at a time since then. I’ve been experimenting with micro-workouts (short bursts of activity throughout the day) and they’ve really been working for me.
There will always be more stuff than this, but this is where the focus will start going into 2017 for the blog. I’m excited about the journey, and I hope you’ll come along with me and see where we go. Here’s to 2017!
As most of you know that read this blog faithfully, I took a break for the first time in 4 years from blogging each week to rethink how I’m doing my blog. A lot of you wrote me with words of encouragement, and that means so much to me. I did a lot of thinking, and asked a few of my closest friends for input.
With the arrival of my son Jackson in June and working hard on a number of projects, I’ve been fighting a bad case of burn out. Here’s how I’m managing the extra workload:
1. I’m sleeping a lot.
Thanks to an amazing wife, I’ve been able to get solid sleep every night so that I can work hard during the mornings. By getting enough sleep, I get almost everything I need to do done by around noon, and have the rest of the day to help out around the house.
I don’t handle lack of sleep well (few people do, in my opinion) and I found that taking the extra time to get an extra hour of sleep has drastically improved my mental outlook and productivity.
2. I’m eating really healthy.
Musicians often neglect the most important part of their job: being in good health. If you’re not eating right, you’re going to have a hard time having enough energy to get the job accomplished.
Personally, eating healthy to me has been following a body builder’s diet of around 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fats. I also try to eat a large chunk of raw or steamed veggies every day to get the vitamins my body desperately needs to keep from wearing down under the stress and getting sick.
3. I’m relying heavily on lists.
Even with the foundation I’ve built with #1 and #2, I’m still having problems staying focused. I’ve found the only way for me to stay on task throughout the day is to write down everything I need to do in Wunderlist, and let it be my memory for me.
4. I’m relying on caffeine for “bursts” to get stuff done.
This is the only point that I might not recommend (just trying to keep it honest!) When I’m really struggling to get something done and it’s stressing me out, I may or may not chug a couple cups of coffee and plough through it on a caffeine high.
My nutritionist friends would probably disagree with me, but I feel that as long as I don’t do this to often, it’s not a bad way to get things done that are stressing me out.
5. I’ve been practicing meditation.
I believe that meditation can do amazing things for stressed out people like me. Since I’m a Christian, I’ve been spending about 3-5 minutes every day meditating on a specific verse in the Bible while regulating my breathing patterns. I use the rhythm of the verse to control my focus and inhale/exhale movement, and it’s been amazing how it’s helped with stress.
I spend a lot of time on the road, and the podcast Snap Judgements makes the time go by a lot faster with it’s true stories. These guys tell the most entertaining non-fiction stories about everything from escaping the muslim mafia, to discovering secret boiling rivers in the Amazon.
With the arrival of my son Jackson, I’ve been having to let certain things go. Here’s some of the stuff that I’m realizing I can slack on that doesn’t matter:
I got a very lucrative string of shows a few months ago because I knew (occasionally) how to shut up.
I realized recently that it takes me about an hour to write an okay song. If I bust my butt, I can write a good song in about two hours. If I want to write a great song, it takes between 3-5 hours of concentrated work. To write one of my best songs ever, it takes writing about 10 of my great songs (3-5 hours x 10 songs = 30-50 hours).
This past Saturday we started our Trans Siberian Orchestra tribute tour, and I made some hard decisions about what I really needed to pack to stay happy and productive on the road. Here are 6 ways I simplified: