Written By: Nicholas Di Lorenzo
Having a hard time focusing on your projects? Procrastinating? Here are tips and tricks on how to help you focus better on your work and make the most of your time.
It's 3 pm, you sit down to finish that last mix before you wrap up and head out for dinner, 10 minutes in you look up at the clock, it's 3:10, another 10 minutes go by, it's 3:20 what FEELS like another 10 minutes go by, it's 5:30, you need to be at dinner by six and your last two hours have been a mishap of poor focus, procrastinating and not being clear of mind.
We've all been there, and the real turning point which allowed me to avoid situations like this hasn't been any system inside the studio or how I've gone about my job, regular breaks or any of the regularly prescribed "methods". My remedy for poor focus has happened in everything I do OUTSIDE of the studio.
The ability to focus and be clear of mind directly correlates with our output, the quality of our output and most importantly creating great music.
The ability to focus and be clear of mind directly correlates with our output, the quality of our output and most importantly creating great music. The turning point for me to focus on my focus was when I was grinding hard in the studio, long hours, dozens of projects and felt like a hamster on a wheel. At the time I was reading the book, "The Sell" by Fredrick Eklund, a New York real estate agent and star of one of my favourite reality TV shows (Million Dollar Listing New York).
There was a chapter on training like a prizefighter where he discussed mental ability and focus and the things that effect that. It got me thinking about my lifestyle, my body and how this all affected my mind and focus. People who live and breath the music industry rarely have the luxuries of a sedentary, disciplined and healthy lifestyle, not to mention the issue of mental health in our industry and the catastrophic events that can follow from that. To focus and perform better at the desk, behind the piano or the guitar and be better songwriters, producers and engineers, we need to be better to ourselves!
Charge your batteries. I'm not going to prescribe how much sleep to get I'm not a doctor, but you're not a child that needs your parents to regiment this. Learn what your body needs and be sure you get it, whether that be 4, 6 or 8 hours... SLEEP and do it consistently to ensure your batteries are at 100% when you start your day.
Your brain is 80% water, so make sure you stay hydrated otherwise your cognitive function goes to shit. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found among 100 participants when hydrated, showed improved levels of cognitive function against those who were dehydrated.
You are what you eat. If you fuel your body with sugar kicks, caffeine spikes, and high GI non-nutritious sources, your focus will represent that nourishment. Now I'm not saying to go on a crazed no-carb, only green, high-protein diet. Just know that there is such thing as breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not to dominate that eating regime with meals which come from a packet.
It doesn't matter in what capacity you exercise other than the fact; YOU DO SOME EXERCISE. Whether it be a morning walk with your dog, a yoga class with your best friend, 300kg deadlifts with Bruce the bodybuilder, or become an annoying cyclist on the roads... do it. Physical exercise = improved cognitive function throughout the day.
You know those one hundred apps you scroll through on your phone and burn time on, those old session folders still on your desktop, the notifications from Instagram and Facebook you CAN'T HELP but open up when you see them on your phone.... yeah they don't help you. Clean up your technology so you can focus on one task at a time and move throughout your day without wondering what your Aunt Clara posted on your Facebook timeline, was it another silly meme about Thanksgiving or an embarrassing photo of you when you were four years old?
Having a moment for some sincere introspection, how well do you take care of your body and mind? You deserve to work better, produce better music, write better melodies, mix punchier records, but you're not a robot, you're a human, with a body that feeds its mind and focus.
Take Care of Yourselves,
Nicholas Di Lorenzo