Work-life balance in the music industry: yes, you can!
Having work-life balance when you work in music? You must be joking!
No, I’m not. And no, it’s not incompatible with making it in the industry. Yes, it’s possible to achieve it - and dare I say, it’s not only desirable, but necessary.
Now that I’ve cleared this up, let’s explore what ‘work-life balance’ actually means, and what are some of the things you can do to improve it.
A typical week in the life of a music exec: working late to get everything done, going to events and shows on evenings and weekends (it may be fun but it’s still work), and doing it all over again the following week. Add to that frequent business travel and checking up on work emails while on holiday. The music exec is a very busy species that rarely switches off.
I totally get it. You love your job, you want to be successful and get the recognition you deserve.
The music industry is a passionate but jealous lover:
It demands all of your time and energy, and doesn’t want you to do other activities or see other people behind its back. It’s a bit like an intense love affair, and like all love stories of this kind it can become a bit poisonous (you start to feel crap physically, emotionally and mentally) and it might well have an ugly ending too (you have a burnout).
In order to keep the love flowing and make this relationship last, you also need to have a life outside it, right? Like they say: Never get so busy making a living you forget to make a life.
Life is to be enjoyed now: there’s no point in spending years making huge sacrifices for that ‘special time in the future’ where you’ll have it all sorted out and you’ll finally be able to relax. The time when everything will be perfect - and stay that way - will never come. You’ll always want more, or circumstances will change, because life is anything but predictable. No one ever sat on their deathbed wishing they had worked more.
Life is also meant to be enjoyed tomorrow: living solely for instant gratification and immediate pleasure will not get you very far. Not pursuing your dreams due to the hard work involved will only leave you frustrated and regretful.
Life is meant to be lived in balance.
Some important things to remember when it comes to work-life balance:
- Life is continuously moving and evolving - it can’t ever settle in a state of ‘perfect balance’. Rather, its main elements are always fluctuating, depending on current priorities and circumstances. It’s like mixing a song: you can turn the levels of each element up or down, depending on your current life situation, your feelings or goals.
- Believing that you have to choose between one important aspect of your life and another is just that: a belief. That belief is limiting you and stopping you from making changes. Personally, having an interesting job I was passionate about, having freedom, and enjoying a good quality of life were always top of my list. I made some choices that reflected these priorities and this has been my life for the most part (and I was in the music business for 15 years). No one gave anything to me, I made these things happen, and so can you. Go back to what’s truly important to you and make those the main elements of your mix.
Here’s a short exercise to help you increase your work-life balance:
- Rate your level of satisfaction, out of 10, in each of your life areas: Career, Family & Friends, Love, Fun & Relaxation, Health, Money, Physical Environment, Personal Growth. You can change, add or remove any category as is relevant to you.
- Pick 1 or 2 categories that you would like to improve on.
- Imagine, in as much detail as possible, what it’s like to have a 10 in this category. Don’t censor yourself and envisage it as positively as you can.
- Think of one thing you can do now to get closer to that 10.
- Go do that thing.
To maximise work-life balance, you also need to learn how to say no, work smarter rather than harder, and be confident in yourself and the future so you make the right choices instead of letting fear take over. When you enrol in my Thrive program you’ll work on all this and much more.
Having good work-life balance, far from being incompatible with having a career, will help you stay passionate, creative and productive. It will contribute to your long-term success AND make you happier in the meantime - win-win!