HOW TO Optimize Your Time and Productivity As a Musician

Productivity is the core of a musician’s success, especially if you’re living the dream and you’d like to go full-time in the future. But how can you structure your week to stay productive and make sure that you cover all areas of your career without letting your anxiety get to you?

We usually focus on developing our weekly routine where we focus on 3 aspects per day for 5 days for musicians or bands in the beginner-intermediate phase. One day for performance and one day to rest and recover will complete the week. That will allow you to be able to focus on 15 different elements of being a musician per week.

Each artist’s routine will look different according to their needs, skills, and experience level. And it will change during certain phases, for instance when you are recording, you’ll solely focus on songwriting, performance consistency and studio time.

Let’s look at some of the various components or elements that you’ll need to spend time on during your week.

The Various Elements of Being a Musician

The key to this activity is recognising what needs to be done to be a successful musician. What aspects contribute to you feeling like you’ve paid attention to all the components of being a musician so that when a cycle is completed, you’ll be able to rest out completely on the 7th day with a clear conscience?

This will surely differ between all musicians, so I recommend that you take your time to draft and compile the list of 15 elements that you feel are important to you to pay attention to.

I must also mention that often an element might take the whole day. That is fine since you’ve been productive and tried to take care of it completely and will probably not need to pay attention to it for a while again.

Check out the ones below that I’ve been paying attention to and that also helped my students on their journeys to maximise productivity:

Beaurocracy & Finances

I placed this one first because it’s the most important element to measure your success in, and that is managing your music’s monetisation. Take time each week to focus on your budget and your income. As soon as you see that your expenses outmatches your income, you’ll start to feel demotivated.

Make sure that you stay on the legal path.

The last thing you want is to be busy with something illegal. Double-check your documents if you’re busking and make sure that you are staying on the safe side of things.

Time to spend per week: 30 minutes


You also need to promote yourself on a weekly basis. Send out emails including your press kit to create awareness of your existence and willingness to perform.

Promoting yourself doesn’t stop by emailing and booking pub shows, but by pushing your music to the next level in the form of TV and radio play.

Make an effort to book podcast and radio interviews, or arrange for music videos to be made of your latest singles.

Promotion is an ongoing process that we still have control over.

I wrote a helpful article about Self-Market Your Music which will be worth your time!

Time to spend per week: 1 hour

Fan Interaction

Replying to all your messages and fanmail can sometimes be very time-consuming. This usually occurs via social media and can be done on-the-go or while waiting in a queue.

Interacting with your fans is the basis for building lasting fan relationships. This is especially important for hobby bands or artists that are building their fanbases.

Fans often also have very useful skills and contacts that bands can often benefit from. I have a fan (who became friends) who has volunteered to make a special design for us. It’s very useful to have these little extra add-ons when you are running short on cash, creativity and time.

It takes a community to make dreams come true

De Wet Kruger

Time to spend per week: 1 hour (Best broken up into 15 minutes per day to best optimise your time.)

Song Writing

Writing quality music is the core of being a musician. We all want to write the next hit single and stand out above the rest.

It is quite tough to write a song per week, but not impossible. It’s about setting your goals accurately. With my band, we managed to write a song per day when we knew recording time was around the corner. With dedication and commitment, this is reachable.

The key is to not reinvent the wheel. Take the structure of the modern hits and structure your songs around a concept that the biggest part of the market can relate to.

Another trick that worked tremendously well for my band was to recreate rock versions of pop songs. It is good for new bands to have familiar songs in their repertoire that the audience can relate to, knows well, and can sing along with.

The last cover song we remade found itself at number 3 on the National Rock Charts on Spotify!! Absolutely awesome to experience such exposure!

Time to spend per week: 2 hours

Recording Demos

There are various reasons that we record demos these days. The two reasons that I’d like to point out here are:

  1. Laying down the framework to practice new music for your band.
    • This can help them to prepare for band practices.
    • It gives you the chance to improve on your previous versions.
    • Improve on song arrangement.
  2. Record demos during band practice for your EPK or for the band to work on.
    • Having new material motivates the band members.
    • Most studios and labels would like to hear the new ideas before buying into them.

These mini-recordings shouldn’t be as stressful or time-consuming are it sounds. Once you have a working system, it’ll become a habit.

There will surely also be weeks where it’s not needed to record anything. Perhaps use this time to work through your old projects and recordings and see if there’s any potential left in them.

I often still find snippets or recordings of old songs that have been saved a long time ago. They are either filling up my space, or they end up being a diamond in the rough, ready to be worked on again.

By listening through these raw recordings, I often find inspiration for new songs and setlist ideas.

If you’re interested in reading more about recording demos, I wrote a post called Vital Reasons to Record Your Band Demo for more info.

Time to spend per week: 1 hour

Record your ideas immediately before you forget them (Photo credit: Canva)

Band Practicing

Preparing for gigs is another part of the basis of being a successful musician. Many bands struggle to optimise their band practice times and they chat and joke around for most of the time which ends up being a complete waste of time and money.

Make sure that you spend enough time outside of the band room together, like meeting up at a pub and having social interaction there instead of using it during band practice time.

Having the friendship and social aspect in your band is crucial for building healthy chemistry, but we don’t want the precious practice time to go under the bus.

I wrote a helpful blog article called 7 Tips for Productive Band Practices that will guide you to optimise your practice time more sufficiently.

The time you spend on practises per week really depends on the performance level of your band.

Most settled bands only need one rehearsal to be ready for gig time if there’s no new music to be learned, but they add another hour or an extra session during the week if there’s new music to practice into the setlist.

Time to spend per week: 2-4 hours (How Often to Practice Your Band)

Networking On Ground

This is where you go to venues and band nights and just get to know the people. Just spend time making small talk with the managers of other bands and the sound engineers just to build relationships and bridges.

You can also do this on your own band concert nights. Just mingle with as many people as you can and try to remember one thing about each person so that you can easily connect the conversation when you meet with these people again in the future.

When the tour season arrives and you get to see all these people in action again, they are happy to help you and very often opportunities arise from these relationships. That’s how you get a foot in the door.

Time to spend per week: 2 hours on gig days.

Network Outreach

Try to connect to people over social media or email. There are various ways to approach this:

  • Send your EPK to advertise yourself
  • Connect with other musicians

Time to spend per week: 30 minutes

Learning a New Skill

I motivate all musicians to broaden their skill sets besides their instruments so that they become more independent as bands or musicians. This way you save time and money and you have lots more freedom in what you would like to achieve.

It is so handy to have guys in a band who can design graphics, record and mix music, manage people, organise concerts etc.

Band members with these skill sets are almost making themselves irreplaceable and are very popular to join other bands too.

Each of us has different talents and interests. You just need to find out what is yours.

Check out my 13 Best Side Jobs for Musicians for more ideas and a bigger variety.

Time to spend per week: 1-2 hours (Perhaps 2 x 1 hour sessions)

Managing Your Bookings

If you are managing your band yourself, then follow up on venues to make sure about your hotel stays, tech riders and your bookings in general.

Take the time to really fine-tune your emails so that the needs of your band and audience are reached.

Time to spend per week: 30-90 minutes

Solo Instrument Practicing

Practising your instrument is important for you to also stay in shape. You’ll surely need to prepare for practice and try to improve yourself by practising variations on your pieces.

Use this time to copy the pros in your industry and improve your skill level.

I added an extra 30 minutes to my schedule to go for lessons. This helped me to think outside of the box and be more creative. Some musicians like to go for lessons, especially if they can go hand-in-hand with a bit of mental coaching.

Time to spend per week: 1-2 hours (Perhaps 2 x 1 hour sessions, or 4 x 30 minutes)

Equipment Check

Here’s a checklist to go through on a weekly basis:

  • Make sure all your cables work and are still in decent condition
  • Check that you have enough plectrums, drumsticks etc.
  • Are your guitar/bass/ violin strings still in an acceptable performing condition and are the necks still straight?
  • Cut your nails
  • Check your tuner batteries
  • Mics and Mic stand condition
  • Can you add any more below in the comments, please?

Time to spend per week: 15-30 minutes

Concert Advertising

Making sure that your ticket sales are going according to plan needs plenty of nurturing.

Share your gigs on all the social media platforms, and even run competitions for people to win tickets. If you give away 2 tickets, they might bring a group of 6 people along.

Another trick is to sell 4 tickets at half price, just to get more people to join and come in. Our focus shouldn’t be on the money we lost but on the potential of them bringing even more friends along.

For more info on How to Build a Following and Finally Fill Your Venues, you are welcome!

Time to spend per week: 1 hour

Merchandise Check

In many cases, this is an extra method of monetising your music.

Start off by having 3 main articles, and check what your fans would like to have extra of before you print more. Check that you have a few items when you go for your performances.

Can you throw a few items into the audience?

That was the highlight of my rock shows as a young lad. I was very talented at catching shirts, stickers, CDs and drumsticks.

It adds an extra spice to your performance. I still have fans posting photos of the items they caught 10 years ago in the audience from our performances like the one below!

A signed drumstick from a decade ago

Personal or Family Needs

We all have errands to run or family admin to sort out. It’s part of life. It does not necessarily contribute to your productivity in the music industry, but it does give you the space in your weekly plan to do what is most important in life.

Whether it’s grocery shopping, going to the gym, picking up the kids and taking them for ice cream, all these things keep you and your family happy and contribute to you being a balanced person.

I wrote a helpful article about How to Balance Your Band Commitments With Your Personal Life where you can read more about balancing your busy schedule with quality family time.

Implementing the Elements Into Your Schedule

These are a rough 15 elements that need attention during your week (or a 2-week cycle if you’re taking it easier) if you’d like to stay productive and reach your goals.

This article was written and published by De Wet from on 10.09.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere other than on my website.

A guitarist practising (Photo credit: Canva)

Where Productivity and Motivation Meet

The basis of productivity is knowing what you need to spend time on. Most people don’t know what they need to do, that’s why we need to list our own priorities so that we can put our minds to paper.

By doing this, our minds will be clear to maximise the creativity for our performances. A filled and stressed mind has difficulty with being creative so we need to empty the noise in our minds.

This is where lack of motivation meets productivity. By having a routine of what needs to be worked on, you will automatically know what needs to be done and not lack the motivation to execute your tasks for the day.

Work on your productivity list and change what you feel needs more attention, even if you want to spend a whole day on it.

You should feel relaxed, proud, ambitious and in control of your own fate by the end of each day.

I hope you found what you were looking for!

On to the next one:

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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