I’ve got a lot to do today. In fact, there’s always a lot to do everyday. I happen to have an amazing collection of to-do lists, a giant white board leaning on the wall, and a nagging voice in the back of my head, not to mention the emails, texts, and phone calls that come in, quickly changing my daily priorities. The writing of this blog has been on several to do lists over a two or three month period, and every time I looked at “Indaba Blog” I would sigh and check my email, or start a new song, or even better, start a new to do list for tomorrow! 

Of course this is absurd, putting off today what can be done tomorrow is a horrible way to live, and the truth is, if I really focused I could bang out my entire to do list in a few hours, but instead I leave these simple tasks for another time. I’m not just talking about office stuff, it happens with music also. Mixing the latest version of a song on my bands new record, or starting up a commercial demo, or even sitting down and practicing piano, things I love to do, are sometimes forced to take a back seat by some weird internal resistance.

So how do I get through this and get myself motivated? One great way, which I didn’t realize I did until yesterday, is simply listening to music. Listening to other people music is inspiring, relaxing, and just plain enjoyable. Usually after listening to a few songs the fire is lit, and I’m ready to go.

Another thing I do, to sort of trick myself, is to start watching a movie. I make sure my keyboard is on, and as I get bored (which takes about 10-15 minutes) I begin to figure out the score, and start playing over the movie, and before I know it the movie is paused, a new Logic session is open, and I’m off to the races.

One last trick, which isn’t really a trick, is something I learned from my yoga teacher (if you don’t do yoga you should, it’s awesome). The task that you’re dreading the most should be the one you tackle first. This works every time. In fact I should have listed it first. I know first hand that if you do this motivation will never be an issue for you. You’ll be like the Terminator. It will be awesome.

Give these a try and let me know what you think, and of course, please list any other techniques and ideas that you think would be helpful to everyone.

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One Response to Motivation

  1. Modium ? says:

    Good to have you back!
    Listening to other people’s work, and even some of my own old stuff, helps remind me why I got into this in the first place, which in turn helps me put up with all the things that put me off.
    But my biggest hold back is my fear of the blank page (or the empty project file for that matter), especially in the context of big or complex projects. I just don’t know where to start. What I usually do is, first, try to work collaboratively. It is so much easier and natural for me to react to someone else. And when I am truely working solo, I break down the project, on paper, into simpler task, and those into yet simpler ones, and then I try to focus on each basic task without letting the other ones inerfere or scare me. “Let’s write a bass line for this chord progression” sounds a lot more welcoming then “let’s write an album / symphony / film score!”. And since everything is on paper, I can come back and deal with each and every basic task in its turn, not forgetting any, and I might even decide to break it down differently along the way, once I get a sense of control over the whole process.

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