To-Do ListRaise your hand if you are a procrastinator. Go ahead…raise it on up.

Do you struggle to finish a recording? Have you been planning an album for years, only to keep continually pushing back the date? What obstacles are you facing? What’s getting in the way of getting things done?

Take me, for example. I have an album in the works. I had hoped to finish it this fall, but a lot of things got in the way. Many of these obstacles were legitimate — moving, a new job, several engineering jobs, launching the HSC Production Club — but I probably could have still finished it by now if I had made it a priority.

Am I beating myself up about this? Nope, but I am re-thinking things, and I’m re-aligning my priorities for the next month or two to hopefully finish things off.

This is something I struggle with constantly. I am very good at coming up with and starting projects, but I am easily distracted, and I have a tendency to leave things unfinished. Does that ring a bell with you?

Since I’m in the “alright-Joe-you-need-to-figure-out-what-you-need-to-do-to-finish-this-album” phase, I thought it would be good to compile several articles I’ve written over the last year that deal with this topic. If you’re in the same boat as me, let’s take a few minutes to read through these, and let’s make some changes!

Productivity Series – I wrote a series of posts earlier this year on productivity in the home studio. Check ‘em out:

The One-Hour Challenge – This is probably one of my favorite articles. I had been thinking about all the time I waste in my studio, so I decided to record an entire song in one hour. It was definitely eye-opening.

Do You Set Deadlines? – Well, do you?

The Many Hats of a Home Studio Owner – Great guest post that dives into the various roles we play as home studio owners and how they can either hinder or help us be more productive.

Don’t blame it on the gear. I’ve got plenty of excuses for why I struggle to put out album after album. The one excuse that holds no weight is that I don’t have the right gear for the job. Here are some articles where I expand on this a bit:

I hope this helps you and I both to get more things done and make more music!

[Photo Credit – ikoka]

  • http://www.bandwebsitetheme.com/ band website theme

    Great tips, If i dont keep a strict schedule and to do list i never get things done! I try and update my lists daily to keep things going smoothly.

  • Jim

    Glad to be apart of this club. Working on the production club material is forcing me do what I keep saying I want to do, and that is… to come up with a finished product. Just before joining the club, I had a baad case of G.A.S. and am finally coming down from it. Its almost anti-climatic. Its like all the ideas I put on hold until I could get the right equipment and to get the right sound have now faded and I’m just feeling blank (is this crazy or what?). I realize, like Sparqee, that I need to strengthen my songwriting. I’m pretty good with rhythm arrangements and all, but there is a point where if you focus to much on that, you may leave no room for effective lyrics and box yourself in to some melody or arrangement that sounded good instrumentally. So now with the support of this club, I am focusing on completing at least one song for this project and am simultaneously studying lyric writing to specifically create lyrics for this project.

  • David

    Great points, Joe. That summed up my situation pretty well…i have a bunch of riffs from years and years ago that i still haven’t turned into songs. I also have a collection of recent (last 12 months) riffs and drum grooves that i can’t seem to do anything with. I’ll get maybe a verse and a half and then it just…stops.

    It’s very easy to blame it on the gear…my current “studio” setup is very minimal and frustrating to navigate, BUT, i’ve made it work in the past, so there’s no reason i couldn’t do the same now.

    If nothing else the Production Club has helped in getting me motivated to finish my back-log of songs…it has made me look at songwriting in a more efficient way, and i’m hoping that i can get at least an EP’s-worth of songs done w/in the next few months thanks to all the tips i’ve picked up from the PC and the HSC site in general.

  • http://musiciansdojo.com G. E. Marrs

    Some very good points here. This ties directly into being a dedicated musician. It’s not just about the ability to practice regularly and writing material, but also being able to come through on what music projects you set up.

    “I’ve got plenty of excuses for why I struggle to put out album after album. The one excuse that holds no weight is that I don’t have the right gear for the job. Here are some articles where I expand on this a bit:”

    Even I have no excuse. I don’t have a homestudio at all at the moment. But I do have a small digital $5 recorder/mp3 player that use to record guitar riffs that I need to remember. I play them back and compose harmonies and the such with them, until I have enough material to archive for future use.

    Great stuff!

  • http://www.podcomplex.com/blog/daniel-foley/ Dan Foley

    Deadlines are a great motivator, but it’s particularly hard to maintain them if you’re working on your own, for yourself – I find it’s good to have a social element to enhance motivation. The RPM challenge at rpmchallenge.com is good for this – basically, you have to compose and complete an album in the month of February. You can’t do this and not be a better musician/producer at the end of it!

  • WILLIAM JONES

    I have to agree with everything here. I’m definitely a major major procrastinator in this arena.My problem is that I decided a long time ago that my recordings “had to sound more like” what I heard on the radio. When in actuality me just being myself was what people wanted to hear from me to begin with even if it kind of turns out “Lo-Fi”. There is always room to improve at your recording technique just make sure that people actually get to hear what your doing on a regular basis and quit worrying about whether it’s good enough. Many people(so I’ve noticed) don’t necessarily have a trained ear for all the sonic details that I’m so worried about anyway.

  • http://fire.firepixie.com Sparqee

    All good info. A while back I decided to prioritize my hats. I had spent 2 years+ learning a lot about recording but at the expense of my writing. I decided that I wanted (needed) to be a writer first and an HRE second. HRE = Home Recording Enthusiast = multi-instrumentalist, arranger, recording engineer & mixer. I stopped trying to imitate major label recordings and now I’m back to having fun making simpler recordings.

    As for Gear Acquisition Syndrome; I finally decided to stop trying to use technology to make my recordings “better”. I now consider my gear “good enough” if it stays out of the way (i.e. no hum, no distracting boxiness, etc.). If I can listen to the recording and stay focused on the music and not get distracted by some sonic element of the recording then I’m happy. After all, it’s the music I want people to notice, not the sound quality. ;)

  • Kato

    This is an awesome post!
    I think that one of the biggest challenges for the home studio owner these days is to acttually finish something!
    Everything is so easy, flexible and affordable… but I always get lost in the process…
    One of the main reasons I joined the Production Club was to structure a timeframe and method for composing, arranging recording songs and mixing… right now I’m behind schedule… but the great thing is that I know I am! And I know what I have to do THIS week to get back on track.
    In three months I’ll have a finished song… one way or another!