There is never enough time in the day.

As an independant artist, you have tours to schedule, songs to finish, press releases to prepare, videos to organize, photo shoots to attend, blogs to write and personal relationships with family and friends to attend to. (Most northwest hip hop artists also have a full time job to add into the mix.)

The fact that you are even doing these things gives you an advantage over the majority of artists in the area who believe in a “Build It and They Will Come” philosophy for marketing themselves that DOES NOT WORK, but the next step on the road to dookie ropes and a tour bus is learning to be more efficient with your time.

Here are a few tips.

Make it a habit to set a schedule for yourself every week.

Set aside an hour every Sunday to plan out your path for success that week. This gives you a visual of everything you are going to accomplish and will work as a reminder throughout the week.

It is important to be realistic with the amount of time each task will take. Don’t set yourself up for failure by planning to have 30 hours of work done by noon on Monday.  Also, be as specific as possible. It’s much easier to stick to a plan that focuses on what you ARE going to do than one focused on the opposite. Instead of thinking to yourself, “I’m not going to go to Vanessa’s after work. I’m going to work on promoting my album,” mark your calendar, “5pm-6:30pm: Research 5 PR companies I might be interested in working with. 7pm-8pm: Create content for social media campaign.”

Your schedule will be your best friend, and it’ll be harder to cut yourself short once you’ve taken the time to layout the path ahead of you.

Don’t be afraid of small changes. They can make all the difference.

I’ve been riding my bike consistently for the past couple of months. Every weekend I would go on longer and longer rides. I still have a full-time job, and so my weekend hours are super valuable in getting my side projects off the ground. Going on 150 minute bike rides on Saturdays and Sundays was great exercise, but they were taking up a lot of my time.

Based on the advice of my brother, I started going on shorted bike rides and adding sprints to my workouts. By doing this, I was burning more calories and in a shorter amount of time. (Just recently I began sprinting up hills to get even more ‘bang for my buck’.) Now I ride my bike for 30 minutes – because I enjoy it – and do sprints for about 20. I’m literally gaining three extra hours on my weekends because of a small change in how I exercise.

Create mutually beneficial relationships.

The next time you promote a show, think about how much time and money you put into it – getting in contact with a venue, finding a good soundman, putting together a good lineup, finding a designer for the poster, and getting people in the venue.

If things run smoothly, people have a good time, and everyone gets paid, things will require less effort the next time around because the same people will want to continue working with you. They know there is something in it for them; however, if you do a shit job and short change people you are going to have to start from scratch and build new relationships – this time working against the negative reputation you developed for your self.

Do your best to create solutions that allow everyone to win. Creating new working relationships requires a lot more effort than maintaining old ones.

Stop multitasking.

It is impossible to multitask. You might think you are watching TV, texting Vanessa, checking your Facebook, and writing all at the same time, but you are actually taking turns doing one at a time. Each time you switch from one to another, your brain has to stop what is is doing and switch gears. By doing this, you are losing progress with the task at hand and have to start over each time you switch your attention from one thing to the other. (Brain Rules)

You will do better work in less time by avoiding distractions.

What else can help with being more productive with our time?