Goals for 2011


Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t.

I set goals.

You may ask What’s the difference, dummy; they’re the same thing. Well, maybe. But I think there’s a difference.

In my mind a New Year’s resolution is what makes the YMCA super-packed for the first few weeks in January…then back to normal. It seems to represent good intentions, and that’s it.

New Years Resolution: I’m gonna lose weight this year.

Goal: I’m going to commit to doing X workout routine at least 3 times per week in order to lose 30 pounds this year, or 2.5 pounds per month.

Call it semantics if you will, but I’d rather have goals than resolutions. A goal isn’t a goal unless it contains an action plan. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds, that’s not a 1-step process. You don’t do just one thing and then BAM you’ve lost 30 pounds. It requires a lot of work, lots of repetition, and a step-by-step plan.

Also, a goal isn’t a goal unless it has a deadline. Someone much smarter than me wrote that in a book or article I read once. It’s absolutely true.

I wrote about this one year ago, and this article is almost identical. (It’s kinda funny, actually, how similar they are.) Why write about it twice? Because you and I both need a kick in the pants regularly to remind us to set goals.

So…here’s the big question:

What are your studio goals for 2011?

Is it simply to get better at using EQ and compression? That’s great, but it’s not a goal. Maybe you can commit to spending 1 hour every two weeks simply practicing EQ and compression. That’s reasonable right? And it’s an actual goal.

Maybe you want to finish an album? Get paid to record someone for the first time? Gain 20 new clients? Whatever the goal is, tell us about it by leaving a comment below. Tell us what your goal is and how you’re going to achieve it.

Goals are much more effective if someone else knows about it. There’s something about announcing goals publicly that makes them more real.

Alright, let’s hear it. How are you gonna rock out in 2011? Answer below.

[Photo by Bob Jagendorf]

A Drowning iPhone – Thoughts on Removing Distractions

Two weeks ago I wrote about some thoughts on vacation. I wrote that post from the beach with my iPhone.

The very next day, I decided to go into the water…with my iPhone…in my pocket.

Bye-bye iPhone.

It’s like ten thousands spoons…

Here’s the ironic part. That day I had started reading a book about productivity and…get this…eliminating distractions. I think I subconsciously took that section to heart and promptly drowned my iPhone a few minutes later.

What now? I have no internet in my pocket wherever I go! I can’t access my email every 3 minutes! I don’t have GPS! I can’t get on Facebook and Twitter!! I can’t run my business!!!!

Umm…false. It’s been two weeks. I still don’t have an iPhone, and I’m still alive.

In fact, I’m really enjoying this new-found freedom. I used to think of the iPhone as this awesome way to stay connected to everything and everyone at all times. At the same time I killed my iPhone, I started limiting my email usage by only checking it twice a day.

I discovered something.


Thoughts from Vacation

I’m typing this on my iPhone…from the beach… 🙂

See, a good blogger would have prepared several posts ahead of time and scheduled them to go live on the site while he was away on vacation. Not me, apparently.

I didn’t want to leave you completely stranded, though. So i thought I’d at LEAST post once and let you know I haven’t disappeared or anything.

First off, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who joined OneHourChallenges.com last week. It’s exciting to see so many people getting fired up about getting things done in their studios.


I’m obviously on vacation. But I was thinking about how it applies to us home studio folks.

Why do we take vacations? For a change of scenery, a change of routine…to mix things up.

Do you do this in your studio? Chances are you’re just struggling to find TIME to record, but are you feeling stuck in a rut? Perhaps a change of scenery is in order.

Here are some suggestions:

Try a one-hour challenge. You don’t have to be a member of my latest course to do a one-hour challenge. Pick a task. Set a timer. Get it done in an hour.

Record something you’ve never recorded before. Maybe you only record rock music. Try recording a classical tune. Maybe you’re a country guy, try producing a hip-hop track.

Work with someone new. Whether it’s an artist you haven’t worked with before, or an engineer you haven’t collaborated with, try mixing it up.

Changing up the way you do things can really help get the creative juices flowing. You’ll face new challenges, an you’ll be forcing yourself to think outside of your little box.

Share your ideas by leaving a comment. I’m off to go play in the waves.

Is “Productivity” a Dirty Word?

Happy Monday! How have you been? I only posted once last week, because I’ve been busy with my latest project, OneHourChallenges.com.

If you haven’t checked it out, I’ve posted three free videos to that site. These are much more in-depth videos than the videos I post here on HSC. My normal free videos are around 7-10 minutes. These One-Hour Challenge videos are over 80 minutes combined. The 3 videos are:

  • “Give me just a little more TIME”
  • 10 Biggest Studio Time-Wasters
  • How to Complete a 1-Hour Challenge

If you’re interested in free training from me on how to get more done in your home studio, then check out those videos TODAY. I’m taking them down Wednesday, July 14th.

So…is productivity a dirty word?

I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity lately. A year ago I was working for Sweetwater Sound as a sales engineer. Being in sales, I was always trying to be more productive and make a better use of my time. Better productivity = more sales.

But what about in a home studio? If recording is your hobby, should you really care if you’re not being productive? After all, it’s a hobby. Who cares if you spend a lot of time in your studio with nothing to show for it…right?

Well…maybe not.

You see, if you spend hours upon hours working on your music, but you never finish anything, you end up becoming disillusioned with the whole process. We’re music producers. We are producing something. But if we never actually have a finished product, then we feel like something’s missing.

This may not apply to you, but I’ve found that the more home studio owners I talk to, the more stories I hear of people who are passionate about music but are frustrated with how they spend their time in their studios.

That resonated with me, hence the free videos over at OneHourChallenges.com. There will be a paid course available later this week. Even if you don’t join, I’d encourage you to check out those videos and decide for yourself if you think you could be more productive in your studio.

Don’t forget, the videos are only available to the public for two more days.

P.S. Thanks for being a Home Studio Corner reader. 🙂

Something New: OneHourChallenges.com

If you’ve been reading Home Studio Corner for a while, you may remember something I did last summer. I called it a One-Hour Challenge. I challenged myself to record and mix an entire song in one hour. I didn’t think I’d come close, but you know what? It turned out surprisingly well!

I actually used the guitar parts I recorded during that session on my album!

Fast Forward

Lately I’ve been talking a LOT with my customers, people who have either bought Understanding Pro Tools or have gone through either of my training courses Mix With Us or the HSC Production Club.

I’ve been asking them what issues they’re facing in their studios and what areas they need the most help. While some people want to focus on mastering and others on mixing or editing, I found one major common thread among all of their responses – they need to make better use of their time.

Like all of us, they’re struggling to actually APPLY the things their learning…to actually GET THINGS DONE.

That got me thinking, and I’m starting a new project. I’ve been planning it for a while, and it kicks off this week with some FREE videos from me. I won’t be posting much this week on HSC, because I want to make sure you have time to check out these videos.

I have a hunch that this new project is going to build an awesome community of home studio owners who are ready to kick some butt and get…things…done.

The first free video just went live. You can check it out over at



The Magic of Finishing

A couple days ago I shared 3 ways to become a better engineer. In that video, I talked about the importance of finishing what you start.

My wife has a psychology degree, so she probably knows all those personality “letters,” but I don’t. I seem to remember taking some sort of personality test in high school, and I want to say the letter I landed on was “I“. I could be totally wrong.

Anyway, one of the descriptions for an I was “great at starting tasks, but poor at finishing them.”


Why Doing Everything Yourself Might Be Lame

You know what they say, just because you CAN do something doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD.

There’s a common thread I see in the home studio world. A lot of home studio owners are musicians themselves. They record their own music. Sound familiar?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a bunch of different hats in your home studio. That’s what I do on a daily basis. One second I’m belting out a lead vocal track, the next I’m comping, editing, and mixing the song.

And I’ll admit, I’ve got this idea in my head that people will be REALLY impressed with my music if I perform every single part. All the guitars, all the vocals, bass, drums, etc.

Is it impressive to be the “one-man band”? I suppose it is to a degree. But is it best for the music? Probably not.

The reason? I’m not a bass player. I’m not a drummer. I’m not a female vocalist. I’m not a lead guitarist.


The “Fix it in the Mix” Mentality

As many of you know, I’m in the process of mixing my album, and members of Mix With Us are mixing it right along with me.

We’re learning a ton about how to mix and how to overcome all sorts of obstacles for mixing in a home studio. However, one source of difficulty (and also embarrassment for me) is the quality of some of my recordings.

Productivity IS Important

I’ve written about productivity a lot here on Home Studio Corner. In Roadmap to Finishing Your Album (one of my free eBooks), I made the point that you really shouldn’t take forever to finish an album, that you should focus on getting things done, scheduling your time wisely, and learn how to accomplish more in your home studio.