Published on July 1st, 2014 | by Dylan Lott0
The Procrasturbation Epidemic – How To Get Shit Done
This article is late. And by late, I mean really late. I found myself needing an idea for content. Like, so many others within the music industry, here I am… The Stanley Cup happened. I have been at my day job. There’s a baseball game on TV. I have plans with a girl. I have writer’s block. I need a cup of coffee before I can start writing.
They’re all excuses. Every last fucking one of those prior sentences, they’re career damaging excuses.
And in chronological order, my procrastination has led me to itemize exactly how to break yourself of your own procrasturbation habits.
(n) To procrastinate and put shit off because it feels good, but after it’s all said and done, you realize you just fucked yourself.
A lot of people will tell you the same thing I am about to tell you: Your musical aspirations are a full time job that does not pay. Think of it like going to college, if you are not getting paid, you are buying in. Every piece of equipment you buy, every tour that fails and every show that gets marked down as a loss – those are all the equivalent of tuition in a world where on the job training is prominent above all else.
Figure it out. You have a smartphone. Plug your entire work schedule in there. Now add your band practice time in to there. No, you are not done yet. Part time work is defined as 20-35 hours a week. I recommend 40 hours a week in to the development of your career.
If you really want to see success, this is something you will take seriously. Your act should be prioritized right at the same level you prioritize your fucking day job and livelihood.
Tell that girl from the bar you have work. You work in the music industry. I promise, it won’t be ill-received.
Build A Work Environment
Working where you play is not just a bad idea, it’s a straight up fucking awful one. At home in my free time, I generally set the laptop on the coffee table so I can have the TV running behind it, or have music running through the sound system in the living room. It’s a great way to relax.
But that’s just it, it’s a great way to relax; it’s not a great way to work.
In identifying the problem, I am placing myself in a working environment.
I have removed myself from that room entirely. My laptop has had all the running processes on it stripped down to what I really need running. I am sitting now, in a well lit room, upright in a chair that I would not generally choose to relax in. I do not have music playing. My phone is only silent, and anyone who is trying to get ahold of me with the exception of the team here at BandHacks and my colleagues with Riverside Events are not getting a reply out of me at all.
Not until my fifteen minute break, that is. I have dedicated 8 hours of my day today to working. I started working on this article at about 2:00 PM. Now this will not consume my whole day, but I do have other things I can be doing to help myself excel throughout the day. At about 4 o clock, it’s time for a 15 minute break. This is crucial. You cannot afford to burn yourself out on working. Around 6:15 to 6:30, it’s time for my lunch break. Following suit, around 8:15, I will take another 15 minute break.
After 10, the work environment gets shut down. It is now time for the other things that I enjoy in life.
Keep your work life and your personal life as the separate entities they should be. This is an incredibly valuable lesson, and I learned it the hard way.
If you don’t have a doctor’s note or a valid reason, do not miss work.
Now, this one goes hand in hand with building a work environment. At the same time, it is deserving of a dedicated topic.
Distractions are everywhere. Working in music is incredibly fun. I’m not going to pretend for even a single pathetic second that it is not.
My phone just rang.
My little sister is watching YouTube videos in the other room and I can hear it.
I need a fucking cigarette.
I wonder what is going on tonight.
I wonder what the show tonight at the District in downtown Rock Island will be like.
Should I go?
When do the Cubs play?
I took a second to think about those distractions, and now, I am effectively distracted.
Stop it. Get back on track. Tell all your friends and family that you are working if you have to.
Eat before you work so you can make it until your lunch break. Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV. Are you messaging people on topics unrelated to work through Facebook? They can wait. There’s gray area here, it’s not very difficult to get caught up in a conversation consisting entirely of dick and fart jokes with Jake [Burnell; The History of Hope]. Learn to identify this problem behavior when it starts, and make a habit of it. Eventually, this will become innate and you will develop strong working habits.
Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew
I’ll get to it eventually…
When you plan out your scheduling, it is imperative that you dedicate time to the other things you enjoy in life. This one is simple. Wanna try your hand at the poker game that is herpes with that girl from the bar? Cool. Plan ahead. Make that happen for yourself. Don’t allow it to interfere with your work hours. It is easy to burn yourself out and make staring at the ceiling seem like an appealing option.
Acknowledge that you have a life beyond music; embrace it and integrate it. Without this separation, everything becomes meshed together and the important moments will lose their luster.
Learn that is important to allow yourself to play video games. Or go fishing. Or risk deadly sexually transmitted diseases.
Love yourself so you can love your music, and other people will learn to love it too.
I cannot stress importance of this enough. Every Friday night, do something for yourself. Go to shows regularly. If a show falls on a day that you have dedicated to working – reschedule, go hand out a few flyers maybe, but after that – let go. Get in that pit and let loose. That is what this is all about.
Rewarding yourself will be different for everyone. Everyone enjoys different shit, son. Maybe you buy yourself a video game every two weeks if you have met your personal and defined expectations for yourself. Maybe it’s a bag of weed.
It’s essential that you do something for yourself. This is the most basic principle of human psychology at work. Reward yourself, you earned it.