Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

The majority of the posts on this blog are dedicated to sharing my advice from experience and from research, and to expose people to bands that I believe in that deserve to be acknowledged for their music. Today, however, I’m going to talk about my life the past couple weeks in a more personal way.

Although I love what I do, I’ve been struggling a little bit lately to keep my head above the stress of the industry, the difficulty in finding people that I can feel close to, and balancing the two without going crazy.

 

I’ve always been of the belief that I can do more, that I shouldn’t be satisfied with merely “good enough” – which is motivating, but it’s also disheartening and overwhelming sometimes.  The past two weeks have been non-stop for me, with managing a band for the first time, working 4 days a week, and writing for this blog as well as The Berklee Groove. I love everything that I do, but there have been times when I’ve thought to myself “What have I gotten into? What if it’s too much?” all while planning the next step.

 

It was especially difficult because, for nearly a year, whenever I was a little too stressed for my own good, I could turn to my significant other for support and perspective. However, things ended badly just before I came to New York and we’re no longer on speaking terms. I lost a best friend and that’s not an easy thing, especially living in a new city.

 

It’s not just affecting me, either. I haven’t been going out with friends nearly as much – and not at all during the week. It’s really been isolating and, without some serious support, makes the stress even worse. I can tell my friends are getting tired of inviting me out and always getting declined. I know it’s a learning process, but fuck if I know what I’m doing.

 

So what am I going to do about it?

 

Well, this past weekend I basically took a complete break – I didn’t work, or stress about something that needed to get done; I went out both nights and helped my friend shop for a birthday gift on Sunday. I danced and flirted and met some amazing people. It was a godsend really.

 

I’ve decided not to commit as many articles to The Berklee Groove, and luckily, because I’ve been working with the band for a couple weeks, the most time-consuming work for them is finished. Now it’s a matter of maintaining and keeping up with their current activities. I’m taking my own advice and learning to take time for myself and to have the ability to say no.

 

There’s no other industry I’d rather be in. I’m constantly amazed with where my life is headed – sometimes I just need a little perspective.

There’s no way around it – if you want to be in the music industry, you’re going to face a lot of stress. You’ll be challenged, questioned, and criticized, and unlike high school, no one’s going to be there to hold your hand along the way. This is, after all, a business, no matter how passionate we are about the art. No matter how much you think you can handle, it’s best to be prepared with some tools to release or reduce some pressure, because that pressure can and will break you if you aren’t careful.

In recent years, I’ve certainly seen my fair share of breakdowns, and been through a few myself. Sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves of a few things…

Learn When To Say No…and Yes

Sometimes shit just builds up, and we’ve been trained from a young age to take advantage of opportunities and do as much as possible ALL THE TIME. Busy means important, busy means dedication. But one person can only take on so much, and you need to learn to distinguish between what will be beneficial to your goals, and what will hold you back and take up time that could be spent more productively. It’s a difficult task, but if you have a clear outline of where you’re going, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to make an informed decision. Anything that isn’t on your path, eradicate from your life as painlessly as possible.

http://www.to-done.com/2005/06/how-to-say-no/
http://lifehacker.com/034642/stop-being-a-yes-man

Time Is On Your Side

With the clock always ticking towards deadlines, it’s easy to think that there isn’t enough of it in a day, a month, a year. However, with some good time management, there’s really a lot more of it than we’ve come to believe. How often are you on Facebook? Checking your email? Texting even? Most of these things can wait, and there have been studies that show that checking Facebook even once* can decrease productivity significantly. Get a journal (or use excel) and write down everything you do in a day – it’s amazing how much the little things add up.

http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/12/5-time-management-tricks/
* http://lifehacker.com/5900796/visiting-facebook-just-once-can-derail-your-productivity

The Mind Is A Muscle

Like a muscle, it needs to take breaks. Constantly flexing your intelligence, concentration, and will power won’t increase their strength, it will deplete it. Of course, it’s imperative that they are used to their full potential, but there should be time every day for a period of rest. Save decisions that require willpower for the decisions that can’t be automatic. Anything that can be automatic – what to eat, when to exercise, any routines – make it that way.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/06/18/eight-ways-goofing-off-can-make-you-more-productive/

Keep The Spark Alive

Never forget that you work in an industry of passion. You’re living your dream (hopefully) – not many people are so lucky. It’s an all-consuming industry, sure, but it’s a liberating consumption, one that we choose and embrace whole-heartedly. If ever you feel overwhelmed, pull out the reason you’re here (song, album, band, instrument) and remind yourself how lucky you are.