Until I was 23 years old, I wanted to be excellent at everything – sports, music, school, work, relationships, learning, etc. You can guess that attending college, playing in a professional band, having a 20-hour a week part time job, and maintaining a social life was a challenge. In fact, overextending myself like this made my performance in all of these areas mediocre. The only time my performance was not mediocre was when I would spend much less time on two or three other endeavors in order to prioritize my most important endeavor at the time. For example, I was a state finalist three different times in track and cross country in high school. On the other hand, my opportunities as a musician were less prevalent.
Somehow I pulled it all off and learned many lessons from all of my experiences. I no longer believe ‘pulling it off’ is good enough. I used to believe that doing as much as humanly possible and doing a passable job with everything was great. Today I ruthlessly prioritize my time and strongly discourage myself from getting involved with more than two projects if delegating isn’t an option.
If you have struggled with this dilemma, you can relax. Changing your environment and deciding who to spend your time with outside of your job is a great and simple start. Well, it’s a great start if you decide to spend your time with people who support, uplift, and inspire you! Rather than going to the bars three nights a week, maybe spending relaxing nights with your kids or other family members and friends who inspire you will be the better option.
Thinking of your life as a business is also helpful. If you like money, it makes perfect sense. Life isn’t all about money, but it happens to be what currently gives us freedom in this world. Figure out how much time you are approximately going to spend on a project and do the math. I learned that I was spending at least 25-30 hours a week playing drums and studying music. After I did the math, I realized I was making an average of $3 an hour. This isn’t true for many musicians, but it is often enough. On top of that, the lifestyle of being a musician definitely wasn’t for me. I still love playing music and wish the best for all of you musicians out there, but I would still much rather own a label or start the music festivals where bands are playing and make 30% from them in the process. That sounds much better than overextending myself and playing in a band. But that’s just me. You have to prioritize what’s right for you.