This ‘one for you, one for them’ exercise will change your life

The most common question I am asked by people aspiring to find employment in the entertainment industry is how anyone can ever find the time needed to work on whatever passion project, band, book, record label, etc. they hope to build into a career.

While I hesitate to say there is any answer that can apply to everyone and their individual journeys, there is one approach to chasing dreams that has worked for more people that I know than anything else.

The ‘one for you, one for them’ approach to dream chasing revolves almost entirely around time management. Let’s face it: Most of us do not have the ability to quit our day job and pursue whatever it is we are passionate about full-time. ‘One for you, one for them’ recognizes this fact by embracing your work schedule and demanding you still make time for yourself.

Here’s how it works:

At the start of each week, sit down and write out a list of goals for the days ahead. Be specific, and make sure to categorize each goal as being something you want to accomplish for work, life, or your personal goals. You may never be able to perfectly balance your list and that is perfectly okay. What matters most is that you set clear goals for your personal development at the top of the week so that you may then begin scheduling time to work towards accomplishing those tasks. Maybe you need to get up an hour earlier three days this week to make sure you write X amount of words, or maybe you need to set aside two nights where you stay in and work on your business plan. Maybe you need to cancel your weekend plans because that is the only time when you’ll be able to focus on songwriting without having to worry about the next deadline your have at the office.

Approaching life with a ’one for you, one for them’ outlook reinforces the idea that you are not living solely to help other people profit. You are more than a cog in some corporate machine. You know this and I know this, but until you take steps toward changing your life everything is more or less going to remain exactly the same. You can’t abandon your current responsibilities because that is not how a professional behaves, so instead you must find a way to create the time needed to develop into the person you hope to become. It’s not going to be easy. Even if you could run from all your current commitment the journey that is this business is never simple. The road ahead is tough and you’re going to need people — not to mention finances — to fall back on. Be bold, but smart, and always be asking what more could be done to position you for the life you want to lead.

Is ‘one for you, one for them’ another way to say time management? Yes, but it goes beyond that as well. Being able to make time for your passion projects matters very little unless you actually get to work on said projects. In order for this exercise to become habitual you need to apply it to your life on a regular basis. The only path to success is through continual trial and error that, eventually, gets you to where you want to be.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.