Many of us working in the independent music business are freelance, creative entrepreneurs. While we may not have a typical weekday 9-5 like other friends, we set our own schedules, work hard, and get stuff done.
However, due to there not being a rule book of bureaucratic office procedures that dictates “the way things have always been done,” it’s up to us to occasionally take a step back, and audit our own daily freelancer lifestyle to ensure its continued innovation, productivity, and sustainability. This article lists 10 simple tasks / steps to your routine that might clean out the cobwebs, scrub the floors, and open the windows of your mind to let in the sunshine of inspiration you hadn’t realized wasn’t lighting you up to your full potential these days.
1. Make Your Bed In The Morning.
Champions make their bed in the morning. Not only does it start your day with a tiny sense of accomplishment, but arranging the top blanket and pillows perfectly places a mental separation between sleeping time and working time. The night is over, time to get up and start your day – even if the work takes place at your desk in the same room.
2. Get Dressed And Groomed, Even If You’re Not Going Out.
A common trap many beginning freelancers fall into (I know I did!) is thinking “if I’m working from home, why should I need to dress up in office wear? In fact, why not just stay in my PJs…” Until a week goes by where you’ve work the same Pyjamas day and night, and haven’t brushed your hair since the last time you showered…
Now, I’m not saying you need to wear a three piece suit if your only trip outside that day it to take out the recycling bin, but there is a happy middle ground. Dress yourself into what you’d wear for basic errands. Like making your bed, it really helps set your workday in motion
3. Declutter Your Wardrobe.
Open your closet, wardrobe, dresser, and pull everything out. Part of clearing space in your mind means clearing space in your home. There are many ways to weed out your closet’s contents, here is a particularly good flow-chart from Pinterest:
4. Unfollow Negative Social Media Accounts.
So much of our daily mood is influenced by what we see on social media, which after all is where much of our business takes place. Therefore, it’s important that we filter out accounts and pages that consistently put us in a negative headspace.
Whether it be retouched Instagram models peddling diet pills, news pages that only ever dwell bad news, high school acquaintances who start polarizing arguments on Facebook for fun, or a former colleague who only only ever complains about her life, this slowly drags our motivation and hope for the future down over time.
Obviously, you can’t exclusively have sunshine, rainbows, fairies dust and magical unicorns on the internet. Bad things happen in the world, and life isn’t fair. But, if social media is your shop window, it should be decorated with positivity and friendship.
5. Give More Compliments.
On the topic of positivity and friendship, let’s all do our part to make the world a kinder place. Give genuine compliments that make someone’s day. Hold the door open for a family with a stroller. Have a friendly conversation with your grocery store cashier. Thanks the bus driver when you get off at your stop. Trust me, you’ll feel the happiness too.
6. Spend Time With Non-Industry Friends.
Here is a brilliant piece of advice that was once given to me: “make sure you spend time with friends who don’t work in the music industry.”
Every industry has its own bubble. But, if no one ever came and visited, we would be stuck bouncing the same ideas around, with no new insights or inspiration. If you have other friends, may they be creative freelancers too or not, you should keep those relationships going.
7. Absorb Random Information.
To add to the last point, there is so much out there that we would miss if we just kept our heads down and focused on the music world. Even if you can’t immediately tie it into your work, go watch nature documentaries, learn cooking tips, read great work of fiction or special interest magazines. Listen to podcasts and read articles on topics you find fascinating. It is not a fault to be well rounded in conversation.
8. Go For Walks.
Take breaks and step out for some fresh air. It’ll clear your mind and help you focus.
9. Make A Weekly To-Do List.
Write it is out in a paper notebook, so you get that awesome rush when crossing out accomplished tasks. Colour-code things by their priority, mark the due date, and see if you can add symbols that signify how much time it’ll take to get them done.
10. Track Your Accomplishments.
Last but not least, don’t forget to be proud of yourself. You’ll always be “Employee Of The Month” in your solo venture, so make sure you write down your accomplishments each month, small and big. You’ll be amazed looking back at everything you’ve gotten done through your brains, creativity, and work ethic.