We’ve all fallen victim to the procrastination monster. Can you blame us? It’s so easy to do. Sure, it feels great in the moment to avoid all responsibilities, but when all those unfinished projects and pressing deadlines come crashing down on you, the chaos and stress take away all the fun and happiness you get out of making music. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 6 different ways to help you power through procrastination, inspire creativity, and put the fun back into your creative process.
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1. Mix It Up
It’s been said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Apply this mindset and take a closer look at your creative process. Are you doing the same thing every time and not getting the results you want? It’s time to switch it up. Try different approaches and then distinguish what’s working for you and what’s not. Be fearless and listen to your creative impulses instead of forcing yourself to continue a routine that isn’t leading you where you want to be. You can even switch to new scenery. Sometimes creating in the same space over and over again can stunt your creativity and inspiration. Try producing a beat in your backyard or any other space available to you. If you want to achieve something different and new, you’ve got to mix it up.
2. Keep an Action-Oriented Mindset When Approaching Obstacles
A successful artist is an artist that takes action. When you hit a bump in the road, face it head-on instead of shying away from it. Shift your mindset from “I can’t” to “How can I?” Don’t put off solving the issue. Push yourself to come up with a solution you are comfortable and confident with in the moment. If the issue is time management, change “I don’t have the time to complete this” to “How can I make time in my schedule to complete this?” If the issue is inspiration, change “I’m not feeling inspired” to “How can I find inspiration for this?” The quicker you can act on creating a solution, the better momentum and flow your creative process will have.
3. Find Someone To Hold You Accountable
Is there someone in your life that really knows how to get sh*t done? Partner with them to help you stay on track and hold you accountable. Tell them what you need to get done and the timeline of when you need to get it done. This accountability partner should be someone who will check in to make sure you’re following your timeline, meeting deadlines, and give you some much-needed tough love when you start slacking. Having someone hold you accountable and be aware of your project timeline will motivate you to stick to your word and change you from being an “I’ll get around to it” to an “I’m doing it now” type of creator.
4. Give Yourself Mini-Assignments
Often times your biggest enemy as a songwriter, producer, or composer is simply biting off more than you can chew. Putting too much pressure on yourself to complete everything at once can cause performance anxiety. When you think of all the lyrics you have to write, all the tracks you need to mix, or all the bars you need to create, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and want to shut down and avoid it altogether. Instead, try accomplishing little bits of work at any given time. Setting miniature assignments and focusing on bite-sized tasks to complete each day makes finishing a complex project more manageable and enjoyable. Write half a verse today and finish the rest of the verse tomorrow. Produce the first 30 seconds of a beat by lunch and 30 more by dinnertime. The sense of completion and positive momentum you’ll feel from each of these chunks of quantifiable forward progress will snowball into a finished project much faster than trying to force yourself to do everything at once.
5. Get Rid of All Possible Distractions
PUT. THE. PHONE. DOWN! Get off social media and only use your computer to contribute to your workflow. It’s easy to check Twitter, text friends, or get stuck in a YouTube wormhole, so take that temptation away. Put your phone on “do not disturb” or put it somewhere you can’t pick it up easily. Delete apps off of your phone and computer if you have to. Make a written list of all the individual things you need to create or accomplish in order to finish your work, and keep it in front of you. Put everything else that’s not a part of that list well out of reach, so it’s out of sight and out of mind. Creating a prioritized list of exactly what you want to get done is the most methodical way to tackle a big project. You can even give yourself small rewards once each item is complete, and a big reward once you’ve knocked out the entire list! Which leads us to our next and final tip…
6. Set Aside Time to Procrastinate
It’s inevitable – you’re going to have to pause to take a breather and let your mind reset. The human body and brain need it. So instead of fighting it, set aside time in your music-making schedule where you can take little breaks and “procrastinate.” If you try forcing yourself to work long hours with no small breaks in between, you’ll explode into a long period of procrastination because you’ve spent so much energy trying to suppress your natural need to recharge. Allow yourself to step away and free some space in your mind to let creativity flow back in. Knowing you will allow yourself a 10-minute break after an hour of music-making will motivate you to focus and create.
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