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4 ways to balance music making with a full-time job

Guitar

It’s not easy being a musician. You have to undergo hours and hours of practice to become accomplished at your art. You then have to find ways to promote your music to the world through unpaid gigs, social media, and word of mouth. It’s incredibly tough to work your way up from a complete unknown to get your name out there.

In the early stages of your music career, there will be very little money in it. You may end up with the odd paid show, but most of the time you will be doing it out of sheer love of music and blind optimism. Most struggling musicians have to find a way to balance their art with a full time job in order to pay the bills.

But this leads to something of a Catch 22. You need a job in order to fund your music career, but when you’re working nine-to-five, you have no time or energy left to focus on your songs. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to let your musical talents lose priority while you settle for a job you’re not emotionally invested in.

But as long as you are committed to your artistic aspirations, it is perfectly possible to be a musician while maintaining a full time job on the side. It doesn’t matter whether you are working in retail, finance, or even UK lift installation, you can make it work.

To get you started on achieving your dreams, here are four ways to balance making music with a full time job.

Get organized

You only have a limited amount of time to focus on your music in the evenings and on weekends, so it’s important you are organized. Create to-do lists and prioritize your tasks so you can optimize your free periods.

Use your downtime

You need to be making the most of your non-working hours to practice your music, compose new songs, and promote yourself. And this doesn’t just mean after work and on your days off. Use every little bit of downtime you can get. Start to write music and look for gigs while on the bus to work. Practice in your lunchtime and any other chunks of leisure you can find.

Keep your energy levels high

When you get home from a long day in the office, you’re usually so tired that all you want to do is eat dinner, sit in front of the TV all evening, and then go to bed. Working hard on your music career is the last thing on your mind. But you need to make an effort to keep your energy up so you can prioritize your talents even when you’re tired. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and avoid late nights out drinking with your colleagues. Make exercise a part of your life and eat a nutritious diet to fuel your body and your mind. I also find that outsourcing some of my tasks actually saves money in the long run.

Don’t procrastinate

There are so many distractions in life that waste valuable time for little reward. Avoid procrastinating by spending time on your phone and social media. Instead use this time to progress in your musical career.

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