I once wanted to do everything that I felt inspired by. I wanted to make music, films, video games, books and anything I could lay my eyes on. But me actually doing everything was a double edged sword because I fulfilled my need to do everything, but I never actually progressed in anything. This process of me trying to do everything went on for about a year before I realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere.
I Took Every Project that Came my Way
I was taking on any work that came my way from all different directions whether it was sound design, music composition, game design, or whatever. In addition to me not getting anywhere, in the midst of balancing all of these projects, I felt unmotivated every time I switched from one project to the next. And not to mention all of the new skills I was trying to learn in the process. Needless to say, I was stressed out, burnt out, and I wasn’t creating anything of quality.
Then I tried Focusing on One thing
So then I decided to try focusing on just one thing at a time. I started with a stretch goal of composing 50 songs in a month. I was a music composer who felt semi-confident in my music when I decided to focus solely on music for a month. I was very doubtful of myself and couldn’t really hear if my music was good. I needed feedback from other people to tell if it was good or not. I started writing the music, and I ended up falling short with 50 songs in 36 days (which is still a LOT of music, I was very happy with the results). Working solely on music for a long period of time did more than I could possibly imagine. I improved in my music composition skills more than I ever have before.
What I learned
When I broke it down, two things happened in that time; I became fully confident in my music composing abilities, and I learned to make high quality music in short periods of time. Focusing on a single skill allowed me to learn with no distractions at all, and that ensured that music was all I thought about in that time.
If I wasn’t writing music then I was thinking about writing music, I wasn’t worried about the deadline for the sound effects that I had to make or the levels I had to design for that game, I was fully focused. By thinking about my music all of the time, I was able to get a ton of experience and make connections among my experiences to become better than I could possibly imagine. And even still since those 36 days, I can write songs faster than I ever could before. The last time a client asked me to write 4 songs for them I finished them in 5 hours.
Start by Minimizing your Todos
When you try to balance multiple skills at a time, you will not progress nearly as well if you focus on your skills one at a time. Even now as I write these articles, I’m taking a break from composing any music so I can get the most out the blog-writing process. As a result I will become more knowledgeable and better at writing, and also learn to become more efficient with it. Obviously it isn’t healthy to just do one thing all of the time, it’s important to exercise, experience the world, and enjoy your life. But what you can do is minimize the amount tasks you are trying to balance. Finding that balance is up to you, experiment and do what makes you happiest.