Hello everyone, this blog post is something slightly different as we're going to talk about a book that I've been reading. It's called Hyperfocus - How to Work Less and Achieve More by Chris Bailey. This is a really good book, but what is it all about. As musicians, we like to be productive and get in the zone but our brains really do like to tell us to do other things and this book teaches you how to focus along with tricks and tips on how to actually keep the flow glowing.
The question is therefore how do we do that? In summary, the book suggests that we need to do is choose three important tasks that you want to get done at the beginning of the day. The best time to do that is just as you finish your day in the studio, take time to consider what you think are the three main things you need to get done the next day. It might be along the lines that you need to get that bass line sorted, that drum track you've been working on needs to be brought in time, You may also note that the vocals in your track need to be re-recorded. How to decide on these three items? It's the ones that create the most consequences if they don't get done.
The next day you focus on just completing those three tasks, regardless of what may come up during the day. What this book also suggests is to make a consequential list of other things you need to do. Turning this towards your music career you could brainstorm of what you need to do to progress your career, how to compose and what you need to do to get there. The idea of the list will help you prioritise what tasks you have written down that will advance your career, what you will gain the most from each one and, finally, what do you need to do to achieve that task.
You can look at this way, is it essential to check your Facebook, not really. How about watching all those YouTube videos, again not really. That Netflix series that you want to binge-watch, will it advance your career or help you make more music, again not really. If you want to progress in your music career you're going to have to make sacrifices and unfortunately, Netflix is going to be one of them.
The next thing to address is the problem that we all have. No matter what you do your mind will wander from time to time. The best way to train your mind is to set a timer for every hour. When the alarm/chime goes just think to yourself where am I in this moment? If your mind has wandered, what caused it to wander? The hourly chime just brings you back into the moment, it also helps you to work out what your distraction was and get rid of it.
Sometimes you don't realise that you have gone on autopilot and diverted off to checking your e-mails or looking at that strange cat video on YouTube. Come on, we all look at cat videos at some point.
Aside from Hyperfocus, we can use Scatterfocus to enhance our creativity and productivity. Hang on, what is Scatterfocus? This is when you take the time out to actually think and let your mind wander. It helps you think outside the box and solve problems that you may be struggling with. Just keep the problem loosely in your mind and let it drift in your thoughts for 15 minutes or so. Don't do anything else, just let your mind wander and it's amazing what happens to solve that problem. I have actually tried this a few times and it has really helped me.
I didn't realise how much time I actually spent looking and sorting through my social media, absolutely terrifying. They do say that as a creative, social media is key, but is it really? Spending hours on end drumming up support for your latest track. Just be mindful of what you are actually trying to achieve and what you really, really need to do. It is amazing that if you add all these bits of what you waste your time doing, the amount of free time you gain back for yourself is amazing. You can use this free time to redirect into your music, learning a new skill or towards reading. We'll get on to reading at a later date.
So, I will close by saying go and check out the book Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey and happy composing.