If you’re scoffing at the idea of having a separate area just for musical activities, keep in mind that, as a professional musician, you’re going to be spending a lot of your time doing anything but actually creating music, especially in the early stages of your career.
Booking shows, ensuring everything is in order when it comes to copyrights, publishing, and licensing, writing blogs, creating YouTube content, and typing out all things social media will take hours every day, and those are the times when a separate work station will be helpful. If you need a little more motivation, here are a few reasons to create a space just for your music.
1. Increase efficiency
If you have everything you may need frequently for your work in one spot, and it’s all organized, it’s a given that your efficiency will increase, and the more you can get done in the same amount of time, the more successful you’ll be in the end.
There should be a space where your “work things” are. This could be a certain chair and table or perhaps a desk and office chair. You likely already have these spaces, but they might not be work-only spaces... yet.
Do your best to keep "work things" separate from "personal life things," which may mean a drawer, binder, or box dedicated to just music. All of your folders, your files, and any information you’ll need while doing the million-and-one things that musicians need to work on that aren't necessarily just “making music” should be together, not mixed in with anything else.
2. Declutter to destress
Messy workplaces stress people out and don't foster clear thinking or focusing. Some people may thrive in that type of environment, but most of us aren't able to get things done in a huge mess.
While taking the time to clean up your space may seem like an incorrect allocation of your most precious resource (time, of course), you’ll see the payoff after just a short period of time.
Keeping things relatively tidy and clean isn’t just good for keeping down stress levels, it can actually improve your mood, and that’s typically better for ticking items off your to-do list.
3. Limit distractions
As a musician, you’re going to be listening to a lot of other people’s music. It’s what helps you learn what else is out there, and while you would never copy what someone else has done, the important work of other singers, songwriters, and artists influences what you create. Listening to music is always a great thing... unless it’s taking your mind away from doing something that requires your full attention.
Try to have a music-free zone, which is reserved for difficult, complicated work. The same rule applies to things like television, movies, or even other people or pets. All of these things can be incredibly distracting, and that’s not going to get you where you’re trying to go career-wise.
You don't always need total silence, but it can be helpful, and you'll complete more tasks when you aren't being distracted by what's happening on the radio or on TV.
Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog Pop! Bang! Boom! which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.