Creative Quarantine – Productive isolation tips for music makers
Soon lots of people will be working from home, so we’ve put together some productive isolation tips for music makers.
What are the challenges of working in your home studio?
A lot of home studios will be turning into makeshift home offices over the next few months.
Here are some tips for staying productive while working and being creative in isolation.
The Early Bird
It may not be the same for everyone, but I feel much more creative early in the morning.
Maybe it’s the inspiration from dreamland or the lack of stress from a day’s work that gets in the way, but I find it helps to get a head start with a creative session – it may also put you on a good footing for the rest of the day!
For DJs, performers and other nocturnal beings – making the change to your sleeping patterns can be tough.
It helps to plan the next day’s activities before packing it in, and get an early night. Make space for yourself to hit the ground running the following morning.
Zoning your workspace is a simple and effective way to trick your brain into “switching modes” when you need it to.
If you’re confined to your studio desk all day while working from home, spending any more time at the same desk is probably the least likely thing you will want to do.
Zoning specific areas for work and play certainly helps with this.
We don’t all have the luxury of separate rooms, but even using a different chair and different lighting can help to trick the brain.
If you have a laptop, set it up on your kitchen counter and do some work while standing.
Take A Breather
It can be tempting to spend all the extra time you have on music production when I first started working from home – I kid you not, I had a DAW open in the background 24/7.
I quickly worked out that this is not a healthy practice for sparking creativity – more of an excuse to procrastinate every time an idea strikes.
If you’re getting bored or overwhelmed in isolation, take a 5-minute time-out in your garden, balcony or front porch.
Trust me, you’re not going to reinvent the wheel in those 5 minutes anyway – and more often than not, you get back into it with a fresh perspective and set of ideas to apply.
If you’re a smoker, try and schedule your smoke-breaks outside.
If you drink a lot of coffee or tea, do so outside if you can, generally try and spend any non-productive time outside of your productive zones.
A schedule can help you stay focused, whether you schedule every hour of the day or just a few goals to achieve by certain times throughout the day – doing this will help fight procrastination and in some cases speed up the decision making process.
I use a whiteboard and before I finish up for the day, I will write down a bunch of goals for the following day.
Ticking these off one by one creates a sense of momentum and helps you to stay focused on the end goal – an empty whiteboard.
Schedule a start and endpoint, don’t work into the night and be realistic with your goals.
One thing a lot of first-timers working from home forget, is to factor in that hour or two of daily commute and the downtime in the office – you know when you just don’t feel like doing anything.
Working from home can save you several hours of productive downtime, so don’t be afraid to finish up a few hours ahead of when you would usually do so in the office.
This one goes hand-in-hand with time management and taking breathers.
Create a solid schedule and set of goals, and stay focused – you will be amazed how quickly and effectively you can work and stay creative.
The brain muscle…
I like to think of the creative part of the brain like a muscle, exercising it will ultimately help you focus when you need to be creative – however much like a real muscle, over-extending it can exhaust your creative juices.
These productive isolation tips come from my personal experiences of working from home in a creative space. I hope they can help you too.