9 Productivity Hacks for Musicians

As a DIY artist, you need to manage every aspect of your music creation and marketing. At the same time, your audience’s attention span is shortening, so you feel the pressure to be MORE productive than ever.

It can be a grind. So how do you get things done, on time, every time, without burning out? Here are nine productivity tips to keep you on task.

1. Make short-form video content once each month

Set aside one day each month to shoot short-form videos for platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Creating in batches saves time because you’re already set up with your app and lighting, so you don’t need to set it up multiple times a month.

Keep notes on your phone of ideas you think of throughout the month. Then plan to make them that day. One month of planning, one day to create.

2. Record one song at a time

Working on more than one song at once can make you scattered. With multiple songs taking your focus, you don’t feel the pressure to make decisions since you can always jump to another song you’re working on.

When you commit to working on one song, you focus on only that. You stay on task before moving on to the next song.

Advances in home recording technology have made it possible to take all the time you need to perfect each song, rather than the days when you booked a studio and had to write and record many songs at a time. No time or money restraints means you can focus without worrying about studio time running out. It also means you can experiment and try different things with a song.

3. Take video and pictures when you tour

Whether you tour all the time or only once a year, document those experiences. You can then share them throughout the year.

Think ahead and plan before you play your shows. You can even do this when you’re in the studio. Those photos can be great when the recording is done and you’re promoting to tell the story of your album.

Your fans aren’t behind the scenes. Even if you play a few shows, post picture from those. It can give the impression that your playing more than you are. They love seeing that you’re active, and the focus is on the storytelling.

4. Templatize your vibe

Pick a photo filter you like and use it on every post for an entire year or album cycle. This will establish the mood of that era in your career. When that era is over, every document from it will be easily recognizable.

This can also apply to video editing. You don’t have to start from scratch each time. Leave the template in your video editing software so it’s already set and you can use it for each video to make creating them easier.

It simplifies your decisions when creating content. You don’t waste time on basic decisions and can spend time deciding the important things. Build your world!

5. Use a service for organization

Project management tools help you manage your music workload. They help you break creating to smaller components, from “making a video” to the individual steps needed to do that. Let you see the work in front of you and get it done.

Trello, Monday, Asana. There are tons of options for organization.

Helps you do the things that are less exciting and that you may not be inspired to do since it’s out there and you can’t ignore it.

6. Be on only two social platforms

With all the social media platforms available for musicians to use, choose only two (or maybe even one!) and focus on your presence on those.

Don’t stretch yourself thin with being on every social platform. When you do only two thins, you can focus on doing them well. You can also grow and stay in touch with an audience when you commit your time to less platforms.

How do you choose a platform? Look at where your fans are and what platform you love being on. You’re more likely to post and engage more on a platform you enjoy using.

Spending all your time posting on lots of platforms takes away what you should be doing and what you love, which is writing and playing music.

7. Commit to creative limitations for some time

Limitations can be the mother of invention.

Do you have a backlog of compositions or demo recordings that haven’t been given full studio treatment? Record them as stripped down acoustic versions. That way you get songs out there that have been sitting around for years, and you get creative in your approach.

Record an entire album with one guitar, or one effect. That way you really learn that one thing. And it becomes an experiment that you can either let your fans discover on their own, or inform them about it before the release.

8. Say “no” to things

Staying productive means saying “no” to things that might distract you.

Look at what you really want to do and decide if something you’re asked about is a benefit or hindrance for that. Decline things that might put you off your path, like playing lots of shows if you’re trying to focus on writing and recording instead.

9. Stop writing long email newsletters

Don’t overload your readers with information in your marketing emails. They might stop reading and sometimes even stop opening.

Make it simple. Choose one topic and stick to it. Keep it short and get to the point, and if you want them to take action (you should) get to the CTA quickly.

This allows you to send more emails instead of one long one each month. Continue engaging with your audience and staying in contact. They’re more likely to read your emails if they know they’ll be short.

BONUS TIP: Put down your phone!

Stop wasting time on your phone. Eliminate distractions.

Screen time, Netflix and other distractions are all time you could spend creating music.

Learn how to be more productive

Want expert advice on how to make more music than ever before? Listen to our full podcast episode.

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