Lessons about performing, lesson twenty: Learn time management skills!

This is the twentieth entry! Holy balls! I can’t believe we’ve come this far – or that it has gone this quickly. Click here to read the whole list of rules for performing musicians.

I know, this may come off cheesy, but I really do love the feedback and comments. I didn’t expect it to make more than a few entries on this blog and call it good. I surely didn’t expect to make this list. When I started this list, I expected it’d go to maybe five.

It seems I’m really not good at expectations when it comes to this list.

The ‘net tells me that I’m lucky to get even 1000 visitors a month, that most sites get barely any. Play Guitar has had something like 1,200 visitors in the past 30 days and just keeps growing. Y’all chew through some bandwidth, too. You’ve eaten about a GB, so far this month. It’s all good. I’m probably going to throw ads on here someday.

My point is, that I don’t deserve that. I’m not that great a writer and people say things much better than I do. I’m verbose, sloppy, and hardly ever manage to stay on topic. (Probably weed’s fault, again!)

I’m also not as productive as it looks like. See, WordPress (the software that runs this site) has a delightful feature I just recently learned about. It’s allowing me to schedule stuff. So, I take my free time and write – even if it’s just 20 minute blocks. (That’s the minimum amount of free time I’ll accept.) Then, three of those makes a full hour – or about how long it’ll probably take me to pound out 1,000 words that makes this article.

Which is a hell of a damned good lead, if I do say myself, into this very topic! (I’m getting better at these damned intros!)

Rule #2: Use Your Time Wisely!

Ha! The intro has multiple things to do with the actual article! I’m telling you, I’m figuring this shit out. I’ll be a damned expert, pretty soon!

You, my dear reader, are a time sink. You take a goodly amount of my time.

My family is a time sink. They take a goodly amount of my time.

My guitars are a time sink. They take a goodly amount of my time.

My band is a time sink. They take a goodly amount of my time.

My farm is a time sink. They take a goodly amount of my time.

I can keep listing this shit – for hours. I ain’t scared. Don’t make me do it, ’cause I will. I can enumerate quite well how my time was spent. I’m not always so good at determining how much time a future activity will take.

This blog, it takes a bunch of my time. I didn’t expect that. I’ll learn to estimate better.

By all means, if I didn’t enjoy this – I’d stop. Don’t get me wrong. Nothing takes my time. I give my time to them. So, maybe ‘take’ is a bad choice. I’m able to do pretty much nothing and there’s not much you can do to make me do something. However, I get bored quickly and truly am the worst retiree to ever retiree.

So, I rooted around and found the scheduling features that WordPress comes with and learned to use them. Now, I can just write when I have some free time, while I’m checking other sites every ten minutes or so, and can fit it into my schedule.

Time management is not entirely unlike packing a suitcase, up to and including hiding your drugs!

I crack me up!

When you decided to become a performing musician, you pretty much decided to give yourself away. Everyone is now going to want some time. Your friends want time. Your kids want to see you. Your spouse would like oral. Your fans want to see you. You still have a real job ’cause you’re poor. Your band needs to rehearse. You need to practice. You have to go shopping. You have to improve yourself. You have to stay fit. You have to primp and preen. You have to perform. You have to load in and out.

The list goes on and on. (And on. Like strangers, dancing, in the night!!!)

I really do crack me up!

You have to figure out how to manage this. You have to figure out how to prioritize and meet your obligations. You have to be a responsible adult. Even worse, you’re probably not even sober for this. You’re a fucking mess.

So, how do you do it?

Fucked if I know.

See? I do crack me up!

No, seriously… I don’t know.

I don’t know you well enough to be able to tell you. If I did, I’d probably be your nagging spouse. Instead, I’m just some guy who pounds a keyboard.

Learn little things – like that scheduling feature. Learn to impose limits. Learn to be prompt. Learn to leave promptly. Yes, it’s fun to hang out with your friends, but you have to leave promptly ’cause your spouse wants oral and your instrument isn’t going to learn to play itself.

You also have to budget in time to keep your sanity. Let’s face it, it’s a fuckton (scientific measurement – and, as I’ve been asked, it’s not metric ’cause metric is only for dirty communists) of work and a shitload (also scientific – we aim for precision on this site) of responsibility.

Again, when you made the choice to perform, you made the choice to give yourself away. Your time no longer belongs just to you. You obligated yourself to giving your time, effort, and dedication to other people.

It’s a very noble, and difficult, thing to do – and to maintain. There’s a damned reason (actually many damned reasons) why there aren’t very many professional musicians. There’s a bunch of reasons that there’s even fewer who do it exclusively.

It’s a noble thing we do – or it can be. Do it right. You owe it to them and to yourself. On top of that, it’s pretty much the best route to making this into a career that can actually sustain you at a reasonable income level – while not having to work three jobs.

Thanks again for reading this. I appreciate it. I value the fact that you take time from your busy schedule to listen to what I have to say. It’s amazing that so many non-musicians seem to enjoy these. It’s great that the folks are having fun and maybe learning something new. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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