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Creative Burnout: Tips for Juggling Music, Work, and Life

Are you about to have a creative burnout because you’re having a hard time keeping up with the demands of your band, your job, and your family? If we only knew adult life is one hell of a riot, we wouldn’t have complained much during those lazy summer days.

Trying to set equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is totally unrealistic. Here’s why: So you decided to divide your day into 4 activities-6 hours for work, 6 hours for sleep, 6 hours for your music, and six hours for family. Sure, you can keep that up for a week but it’s impossible you’ll be able to maintain that schedule for a year. Plus, 6 hours a day of work is considered part-time. And, 6 hours family time a day is too much, don’t you think? Therefore, work-life balance does not pertain to the number of hours.

Work-life balance is achieved if you make it a point to set aside time to cover certain areas of your life aside from work. As long as you’re not all work and no play, as long as you can still find time to enjoy the slow/lazy moments with your kids, as long as there’s a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment after your work week ends, you’re juggling it right.

Here are some of my tips for doing the juggle:

Respect your rest days. If you decide that Sundays are your lazy days (aka time with the family), then you better make sure everybody knows that. If a client insists that you make changes to the project, tell him he can wait one more day because you’re in Bali sipping your piña colada or something. If you’re still at the bottom of the food chain, make an excuse like this (or something less fishy like a stomachahe). If you’re the CEO, tell them whoever disturbs your slumber will be deducted $500. Your world will not crumble if you rest for a day.

Separate work and play. Do you see those work-from-home ads where a mom/dad has a laptop in the kitchen, carries a toddler in one hand and types using the other hand-and he/she is SMILING! Not a forced smile, a really warm smile as if he just had a good sleep.

Set weekly instead of daily work-life balance. You have to consider your goals when it comes to doing the balancing act. The healthy way is to balance and reassess on a weekly basis weekly. If you keep on thinking about your quality time with your family or doing brand practice, you might not be able to focus on your job. Before you start your week, think which needs more of your time and focus. If you have ridiculous deadlines at work, focus on your work during week days without bothering too much of your band time and family time. When the weekend comes, forget work and focus on the other two that you didn’t give much importance this week.

Let go of time-consuming activities that aren’t important. Limit the one-hour after-work chitchat with that annoying colleague. Instead of stalking people on Facebook, use that time to update your band’s website.

Learn to say No. Another party this weekend? But you just went out with the same bunch for two weeks in a row! Say no to the party and use your hours on other productive things like rest.

Hire a Househelp. You wouldn’t believe how peaceful the house is if there’s a househelp. You don’t want to return to your house after a very busy day and see piles of laundry and a dirty kitchen sink. If you think you cannot afford one, hire anyway…and use your free time looking for ways to increase your income.

Delegate tasks. If you want to accomplish more without having a burnout, you should learn how to assign tasks properly and nicely. Give a detailed instruction to your house help and nanny, ask your husband/wife what he can contribute on a regular basis so you won’t have to worry about it anymore. If you have an assistant at work, make sure you train him properly.

Use a to-do list. Some people hate to-do lists because it makes them anxious but it will bring us (or just me) more anxiety if we do not jot down our plans for the day and week. Writing them down is also a must for forgetful people. By writing down your plans, we can worry less because as long as we have our list, we’re good. So we didn’t do a certain task that’s supposed to be done on Monday, so we move it to another day. Always good to have a list.

The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives. These tips for doing the juggle will surely help any juggler keep his sanity.


James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.

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