Maintaining your sanity during the holiday break
If you are reading this post then there is a fairly good chance you are feeling more than a little bored. Maybe you’re a blogger with no new stories to publish, or perhaps you run an indie label where business has slowed in the days since Christmas. Whatever the case, you still have several days until the industry is back in full swing, if not longer. Some industry businesses do not return to a regular work schedule until the week after New Year’s Day, which for 2018 means January 8.
While we admire and applaud your dedication to the craft we also feel it is our duty to tell you that no one person has to be on top of everything all the time. In fact, sometimes it makes no sense to try and do so. The music business is a demanding place where most professionals, meaning those paid and those working for free alike, put in long hours to help those they believe in getting ahead. The daily grind can be killer on even the most dedicated souls, but for two to three weeks every year, there is a lull that almost everyone has agreed to maintain. It is a safe place where people can exhale and stretch and return calls to the family that they have been putting off since before the leaves began to change. That period is the one we are in right now, and it stretches from the days before Christmas until after the start of the new year.
You can work as much as you want during this time, but unless someone is telling you to complete a certain task (or tasks) we encourage you to disconnect. Yes, the company that exists entirely online and relies on clicks to keep the doors open is encouraging you to disconnect from the very thing that keeps its lights on. Some may say such comments are an exercise in self-destruction, but we tend to disagree. We see how much time people put into their work, both on the label side and on that odd the media, which means we also appreciate how much (most) people need a break. They deserve one, in fact.
Those who find the most success in life often cite their breaks or vacations as one of the reasons they perform so well. These people subscribe to the law of diminishing returns, which states that there is a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested. In simpler terms, just because you work nonstop does not mean your success is also unending. You may succeed for a while, but at some point, you will no longer be able to do whatever it is you do as well as you did when you first started. The reason for this is fairly simple: You are a not a machine. You are not programmed to do one task over and over until you break down and/or are replaced by a superior machine. You are a human in need of food, exercise, and – above all else – rest.
So as you stare at this post and continue clicking over to the tabs containing your various social media feeds we encourage you to consider taking a step back, even if just for one day. Turn off your notifications, leave your inbox unread, and instead spend time doing something solely because it sounds good to you. It can be anything, from time with family and friends, to reading a book, binging a new series on Netflix, or finally learning how to make that pineapple upside down cake you’ve been talking about for months. Choose anything that interests you, just as long as you cannot turn it into work. You want to get music business as far from your mind as possible. Not music, mind you, but the music business. Don’t write content. Don’t draft content. Don’t even think of things as potentially becoming content. Just focus on being present in your individual life and reconnect with the person you are away from the internet. After all, that person – the one you are when existing outside the grind of the industry – is the one who started you on this journey in this business. If you lose that part of you there is no getting it back. As Against Me once sang, “Don’t lose touch.”