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How You Can Be a Professional Musician and Still Keep Your Day Job

How You Can Be a Professional Musician and Still Keep Your Day Job

As a musician, it’s easy to feel that your passion of making music is at odds with the obligations of your day job (which also happens to pay your bills). You love creating and performing music but you also have a certain lifestyle and responsibilities as well. Can you achieve equilibrium by keeping a steady job to pay the bills and receive benefits while holding/growing a professional music career? How can you give both equal attention so that you don’t end up losing one or the other?

Here’s a list of ideas to help you can make that happen:

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Find a Career with Flexible Work Options: These days, it’s becoming more popular for employees to have the option of telecommuting or working from home. For touring musicians who need the income stability that a job can provide, this is a great option. Even though your current position might not offer telecommuting as an option, it is always possible to sway the opinion of your supervisors. This article offers 5 tips to convince the boss.

If telecommuting can’t work, you could always see if your employer is open to a flexible scheduling option. For example, you might have several regional, weekend tours and may not need to be away for weeks at a time. Perhaps you could request working 4 ten-hour days instead of five 8’s. You might also be able to request a leave of absence for other extended leaves if you don’t have enough vacation time. The most important thing is to be up front and communicate openly – the more advance notice, the better. Most employers will want to accommodate your needs, especially if you do good work and can prove that you’ll still take your responsibilities seriously.

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Create Your Own Day Job: Many musicians have a special skill set that allows them to supplement their music’s income by starting a small business. Whether it is consulting, IT work, or running a small business, sometimes the best boss who understands your rock n’ roll needs is yourself. You could always explore this as an option during your free time. Be sure to also read this article on How to Start a Business for some advice.

Adjust The Music Business: No matter what, you’ll want to set up goals and have some kind of plan on how to reach them. Not all musicians need to tour frequently or live a life on the road. Some have very successful careers without leaving the city. You just need to understand what kind of music business model you are building for yourself: you might want earn a living through licensing rather than the traditional approach of playing gigs every night. Think about how much you want to perform or create, what you would like to see in return for your investment in music (money, influence, fame,?), and what you’ll need in order to accomplish those goals. You might surprise yourself and learn that creating a sustainable music career is quite possible, even with a steady day job.

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Hire musicians: Some touring bands have a rotating cast of performers; some even use a different lead singer when they’re on the road. If you’re unable to join your band for every tour, perhaps you could have a friend or a hired gun fill in for your role on some of the smaller gigs. Carefully think about the music arrangements and see if there’s a way to manage performances in a way that doesn’t require you to be there. It’s becoming more popular than ever for bands to tour as an acoustic duo or have the singer tour solo.

Bottom line: it is not impossible be a professional musician while holding down a day job. Many musicians also supplement their income by running their own businesses as studio engineers, guitar or vocal teachers, booking agents, or food cart owners. Some restrict their performances to weekends and use vacation hours to work. Others take a leave of absence. Just remember that no matter what arrangement works for you, it’s important to achieve balance, have clear and open communication with everyone involved, and that it ultimately reflects your personal life goals.

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Featured photo credit:  beautiful young woman playing the piano via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom

Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

What is Boredom?

We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

1. Get Focused

Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
  • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
  • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

2. Kill Procrastination

Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do some exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Learn something new.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
  • Do a spring cleaning.
  • Wash the car.
  • Renovate the house.
  • Re-arrange the furniture.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Sort out your mail & email.
  • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

3. Enjoy Boredom

If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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