3 Tips to Stay Productive as a Music Producer
Being a music producer is a tough gig. You're constantly dealing with deadlines, the pressure of making tracks that are good enough to sell, and trying to find time for your own creative work. There's also the dreaded "creative block" where you just can't seem to get any inspiration or motivation going on what you're doing. This blog post will give you three tips to stay productive as a music producer so you can focus on what matters most: Creating great music!
Tip One: Make a Plan
Time is one of the most valuable assets you have. When you plan out your day, what you're going to do and when, it will help maximize this resource so that both work and personal life are better balanced on the calendar. A good way to start planning is by picking your most important task first. Schedule it in at the start of the day, ideally when you have no distractions so you can get into a state of flow.
Schedule in everything you need to do for the day, including meals. This will help you focus on what is important and show you where you are wasting time. Scheduling in an hour for lunch, do you really need that extra half an hour or could that be used for something more productive? Make sure you schedule in time for breaks too, it's important as a producer to have space to reset to prevent ear fatigue. Use the breaks to do quick production tasks, meditate or get some fresh air.
Tip Two: Mute Distractions
Make sure you turn off your phone or at least set it to Do Not Disturb and put it in the back of a cupboard to avoid any temptation to check it, out of sight, out of mind.
“An interruption, even if short, delays the total time required to complete a task by a significant fraction.”
As Cal Newport mentioned in his acclaimed book Deep Work, even the slightest disruption can set you back hours. You might have just been about to fix that rumbling bass note or those pesky high hats then your phone goes off again... next minute you're in another YouTube rabbit hole watching videos about some crazy synth from the 80s!
Instead of focusing on the task at hand, you'll be distracted from the music and end up getting less done. Clearly being productive in music production requires focus, and that can't happen if we stay connected available to everyone all day long!
Tip Three: Finish
There's no better way to staying productive then actually finishing whatever it is you're working on. Whether that's the bass line, the mix or the whole track itself. We've all been there, the dreaded loop mode. Just jamming away to the same 4 bars can be fun for 20 minutes or so, until your ears start getting tired and you keep adding more and more sounds till it turns into a complete mess.
One way to prevent this is to start with a song map and add your arrangement first. Use another track that you like as a reference, using MIDI or track markers map out it's sections e.g when the bass comes in, when the break happens etc. Once you have you have a rough template then you can start adding a basic arrangement. There's no hard and fast rule, sometimes I'll start with the drums as it's a good backbone to groove to whilst you overlay other elements. Other times I'll find a chord progression to dissect and then build on top of. Then key thing here is move quickly and to build out your arrangement based on your song map. This prevents you getting stuck in a loop and going down the endless sound design worm hole.
The next stage is to start adding in additional sounds/instruments. As the song progresses and you flesh out your arrangement it will begin to sound more full. We'll dig into this process more in future articles so subscribe to our newsletter to get notified when they come out. The main thing to remember though is to finish, finish, finish. This will keep you motivated, stop you getting stuck in a rut and improve your skills as a music producer.
At Mixvisor we're super passionate about helping you get more done as a producer. We build tools that help you manage your music production workflow, inspire you to create and help you release more music. If you'd like early access to what we're making pop in your details below and we'll add you to the list.