3 key skills that are needed to be a successful musician

3 keys to success

In today’s World of instant gratification, some of us have lost the ability to slow down and get things done right the first time. It’s a matter of lack of focus and lack of discipline. There are three key skills that are necessary in order to be a successful musician and get your music out there.

1. Will power and perseverance

Motivation is great. It can take you pretty far and propel you toward your goals… however, no one is perpetually motivated. Motivation is not something that you can conjure up when you need it. For those moments where you’re feeling less than motivated, and you just want to veg on the couch and play video games, what do you do to get moving?

This is where will power and perseverance come into play. There are going to be times when you’re not motivated to work. That doesn’t mean that you can just slack off. You’re going to have to motivate yourself. Think about your end goal. Are you trying to be a popular musician? Wanting those streams or wanting to be a household name? Do you think the guys that have these things are sitting around playing video games? They’re not.

How to summon your will power skills

I’ll tell you what I do. I have a 1-5 system. I decide on one big goal that I want to accomplish. In your case, it’s going to be getting your ass in gear and doing something to gain some momentum in your music career…  

I tell myself that I’m going to count to 5. And when I get to 5 I am going to get started. I count…. 

  1. Breathe deep through the nose and slowly exhale through your mouth. 
  1. Imagine how great it is going to feel when you are finished  
  1. Envision yourself reaping the benefits of completing your goal 
  1. Think about how motivated you will feel to complete another task when you’re finished 
  1. Take a deep breath and whip your ass out of bed or off the couch and go do it! 

This works. But you have to WANT IT. You have to want to succeed. No one can teach that power. It comes from inside of you. 

2. Focus

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of us have lost the power to focus for more than 30 seconds. This is mostly due to the instant gratification of short videos on social media. But, there is hope. There are ways to gain your focus back. It will take willpower (see above) and hard work, but it can be done.

If you’re not ready to fully tackle getting your focus back, there are a few techniques that you can use to gain momentary focus.

  • Pomodoro timer – The Pomodoro timer is a great way to gain some steady focus for a few hours. You can download an app (just look up Pomodoro timer) or use the timer on your phone’s timer. What you’re going to do is set the timer for 25 minutes. Then, when you hit start, you focus on ONLY the task at hand for the entire 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, you take a 5 minutes break to smoke, use the bathroom, whatever. Then, you set the timer for 25 minutes and repeat the process 3 times. You will be amazed by the amount of stuff that you get done. Instant productivity!
  • Declare “Me time” – Set yourself up in a quiet space where you will not be distracted. Let your friends and family know that you are working and you need undisrupted time and space. Put your phone away and make sure that it is on silent. And get to work. There are several Google Chrome extensions that will block social media sites and other distracting websites (uh yes porn counts as a distraction). These Chrome extensions work pretty well, but you’re going to have to be vigilant and make sure that you don’t grab your phone and start messing around.
  • Sleep! – It seems like common sense, the better you sleep, the more you will be able to concentrate right? But, how many of us actually get 8 hours of undisturbed sleep? I know that I don’t unless I have a sleep routine. So, develop your own sleep routine. I recommend getting into bed by 11pm and NOT turning on your TV or bringing your phone to bed. This will train your mind to understand that bed time is bed time. Try to get to bed at the same time every night and give yourself enough time to get 6-8 hours of sleep. This is going to really help boost your focus and your productivity!

3. Time Management skills

Time management is the key to being more productive. When you organize your time and use it efficiently, it’s almost like you have more hours in the day. You’re going to have to cut some things out in order to be more productive. I know you don’t want to hear that but it’s true.

  • TV is the time sucking enemy – You can’t spend your time binge watching Netflix and expect to get things done. In the past 10 years, I can count the number of times that I have watched tv (including movies) on my fingers. Giving up tv was one of the best things that I ever did for myself and if you cut back on your time with the boob tube, you will find yourself being more productive and more motivated because motivation comes from seeing results.
  • Actually use your calendar – Your phone has a built in calendar. Use it. You can put in appointments, block out time to work on your music, for example promo time or studio time. You can even color code your calendar so that you can know at a quick glance, what you have going on. You can also use your reminders app on your phone for important tasks or an app like Evernote to keep track or your schedule.
  • Find your time of day. Do you prefer getting up early in the morning and getting stuff done before everyone else wakes up? Or are you the type of person that is most creative and alert at night? Figure out your time of day and schedule your most important tasks around that.

Now get moving!

There you have it, a comprehensive list of key skills/ traits that will help you to be more productive, motivated and focused. Now, try them out and come back and let us know in the comments how it works out.

If you have other methods that you would like to share with us, be sure to post them in the comments!


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