Simple creative tasks, consistent.

Last week In talked about simplifying my setup and designing a proces to be more consistent. This article is more about the proces and why it works. While I am learning to use my music gear I have also set some small tasks to keep things interesting and work on finishing stuff. I do well when I set goals for myself. My biggest flaw in setting these goals in making them way too big. Where my goals far outstripped my skillset.

So I have decided to simplify my goals, or rather just make tasks out of them. so for each week I have set the following goals. With my simple set-up, I will try and finish these tasks every week. You can’t really call the results tracks maybe, but I will try my best to keep it as interesting as possible. within the parameters I have set for myself.

The main goal is learning to be fluent with my simple setup and be able to work on ideas at a faster pace. Science shows that in order to keep yourself engaged the things you need to do to make progress is to have a difficulty sweet spot. If something is too easy, you will disengage. If it’s too hard, you will also disengage. It’s human nature.  There is a side note to this, more on that later. 

Creating habits is all about doing something consistently and keep doing it. To be better at making music, I need to be making music. Taking into account it should not be too easy or too hard my tasks should be just about doable. 

So I will learn and keep having fun and feel excited. Everyone has big goals, but if it’s way too hard we can’t form the habits necessary for achieving them. Last week an already shared some idea around a set of steps to achieve this. 

Here is my slightly refined taks list.

1. Create a patch on my small eurorack setup
2. Record loops while playing the patch
3. Take a maximum of 8 loops in the Ableton template.
4. Arrange and finish the recordings. 
5. Publish the results.

By sharing them I have also set a nice little reminder for myself to publish things consistently, so people can give me feedback and get over my fear of sharing my musical experiments. 

The side note is that every process has boring parts that are necessary to get better. So this means we also need some tolerance for boredom. So if something gets boring at any stage, we tend to go and look for something exciting and new.

The key difference in being successful in getting better at your skill and creating habits is that you embrace the boredom which ultimately creeps into everything. Some stuff just needs doing. No matter what. It’s all part of the process. People who succeed in showing up when feeling bored, or tired or any state that doesn’t fill you with enthusiasm to go to work, people who still show up, succeed. 

It’s a bit of a balancing act, creating habits and paving the way towards your goal and being able to consistently work on your goals. The mantra “Don’t break the chain” is a simple way to remind yourself to stick to the plan. If you don’t feel like doing music, go to the gym or any other task you planned. Just remind yourself and repeat this mantra a few times to yourself. It will help to reaffirm your commitment to the proces, and the habit you are developing and maintaining. 

Last but not least, we also need to evaluate, learn and make things a bit harder again at some point. So we can work on improvement with some new challenges. 

Consistency has helped me with achieving other goals in life, so now it’s time to make it work for my musical journey.