Welcome one and all to another update to my personal blog!
Today I’m discussing a new organisational plan of mine called the Week On/Week Off Method.
How It Happened
The idea came to me while in a time of self-reflection.
I think it’s important to act, get stuff done, and then have a look back at what you managed to complete, and how you might optimise the process.
What I found in my own working style is that I tend to kick into high gear 4 to 6 weeks before my next release is due, work pretty much constantly until I complete everything, release the thing, then collapse.
For the next few weeks I won’t want to touch music at all. Apart from the odd addition to my running ‘Lyric Ideas’ note on my phone, or perhaps singing a melody into my Voice Memos app, I don’t really do anything else besides chilling out, gardening, doing crafts and keeping up with the day to day.
Now, to some extent I suppose this is workable. I’m yet to miss a deadline or feel the dreaded ‘burn out’. However, in the times when I’m going full pelt, I feel like I let some of my responsibilities slide somewhat, and I find myself present in the digital realm much more than the physical (such is the nature of social media marketing).
Conversely, when I’m having my non-music period, I feel unfocused, aimless and kind of guilty. I feel like I should be working on my music every day if I’m really serious about making it as an artist or composer. It’s that nagging feeling that I could be making better use of my time, the call of my numerous and colourful to-do lists from that box file at the corner of my desk…
I decided it was high time to apply a little moderation to the situation. And thus, the Week On/Week Off Method was born!
How It Works
I started, as I often do, with a nice, blank sheet of paper.
I was lucky enough to find a very cheap child’s drawing pad (99p from the Stationery 4 Less) that has this amazing textured paper. I’ve used it in things like junk journals so far, but not yet for my infamous music organisation lists.
I chopped a few sheets into four and began labeling them: week on, week off, week on, week off… etc. I then added the dates that each week would include, making enough to run to midway through September.
Next, I went through my current lists to find things that were due to be completed soonish. This included recording tasks for my August single.
The Week Off
I started this week as an, ‘off week’ so I could get my bearings. I noted any music practices I needed to attend for church, and other necessary preparation. Next, I listed low priority or just-for-fun music tasks, as well as boring housekeeping stuff like backing up video or updating my website.
The Week Off period is less about doing nothing, and more just doing things that aren’t time sensitive. It’s about getting those niggling little annoyances off your mind. If you’re detail oriented like me, you’ll know that uncomfortable, cloudy feeling that comes from having things not quite finished. The more of those annoying tasks I can get through, the better I feel.
The Week On
This is where I get back into my intense, highly focused state, working only on music that will be part of my main release schedule leading up to Loved & Lost.
So far I’ve been able to time the weeks so I have less responsibilities with church and more child-free time than usual. This means I can do things like tracking vocals and live instruments – something I can’t exactly do when the little one is asleep!
At this point I can group recording tasks together. For example, since my lists are detailed, I can see at a glance what needs acoustic guitar, and then record everything I need in one go.
I can leave more processing heavy tasks like editing and mixing for quieter times like the late evening. At this point I’m reminded how thankful I am for my lovely Sennheiser headphones. They’re great for monitoring and, more often than not, if my track sounds good on them, it sounds good on a lot of other systems and devices also.
Well, that’s all for now. I’ll let you know how my new working method goes in a future post perhaps…
In the meantime, listen to my latest mashup.