Let me start by saying it didn't LITERALLY change my life. Ok, maybe a little.
Yesterday, Instagram was down for 24 hours and people went into a frenzy. Social media marketers, entrepreneurs, "influencers" (they're the best lol), musicians, music producers, artists and everyone and anyone who relies on Instagram to help their business thrive were affected. I was too. It was amazing and scary at the same time.
Let me keep it 100 with you. Instagram is a huge platform for my business and my brand. I'm a music producer. I create music throughout most of my day. I also have a passion for interacting with other creatives. Sometimes in person. Sometimes online. Lots of times in my Instagram comments. It's a social wonderland to me. I sell digital product and do a ton of online marketing. I love to inspire and tell my truths on Instagram. It's my favorite "social media" platform right now.
There's 2 things I want to dissect here. The first thing is: I don't need Instagram to create music. The second thing is: I need Instagram to build my brand and to create awareness for everything I'm doing (my music, my podcast, my youtube channel, my voice, my ideas). When that sh*t went down, it felt amazing, yet also made me feel sick to my stomach because of how much its absence affected my marketing plans that day (certain posts, etc).
Let me speak to my music creators for a second (or anyone doing creative work). Do you need your phone while in the studio (or creative space)? Do you need to be connected to the internet to create? Do you NEED to have access to instagram while you create? How many times do you look at your phone while creating? Is your phone in your pocket or next to you while you're in a zone being creative? Do you scroll through your Instagram timeline in-between creative "mundane moments" (bouncing a track, loading a session, looping a melody and thinking of drum patterns, during writers block, etc). Those few seconds you have with nothing to do but stare at the wall, or keyboard, or screen, or Supreme sticker on your desk, or J Dilla poster, you pick up your phone because you're bored and the first place you go is Instagram. That sh*t is annoying, man!
I used to do all of those things and I didn't even realize I was doing it. When I noticed how much time I was wasting on Instagram and how much of a distraction it was during my creative time, I stopped doing it. And all I had to do was one thing: put the phone on silent and place it in a different room. That's it. That's all it took and it worked. It worked like a charm. No distractions. No Instagram scrolling being nosy. No phone calls. No texts. Just me + my keyboard + my ideas. Doing the thing I love the most. Doing the very thing that pays my bills. Doing the thing that got me to where I am in the first place. Doing the thing I was meant to do. Create music.
Since I started doing this, my productivity and success SKYROCKETED. I was less stressed. I wasn't looking at other peoples "success" to distract me. I wasn't concerned with answering phone calls or replying to texts immediately. I wasn't checking my email every minute. My overall happiness meter went up significantly. More beats to shop around. More ideas to play with and send to my peers to collaborate with me on, further increasing my chances of getting more placements. More excitement listening back to my creations and feeling a continued sense of purpose, pride, inspiration and excitement.
When I first started going HARD on making beats every day (around 2003) there was no Instagram. There was no "social media" distraction. It was me + my keyboard + my ideas. I literally spent 8-12 hours every day creating music. Those were my training years. That was me punching the bag, getting better at my craft. Yes, back then I was broke but I was happy creating music. I believe that focus WITHOUT social media distractions for 5,6,7 years straight was the training I needed to get to where I am today many years later. 7 Grammy nominations, 1 Grammy win, 20+ platinum plaques, hundreds of placements, making a living doing what I love, inspiring my peers and my fans, respect & gratitude, admiration & sense of purpose. I'm all supremely thankful to NOT have any "social media" distractions back then.
So we must ask ourselves this ultimate question: How can we use social media (Instagram specifically) to our ADVANTAGE without it becoming DETRIMENTAL to our creative careers?
I think a good starting point is to treat Instagram as a way to express our true self and to connect with like-minded people. Post what you love. Post 1-3 times per day and only dedicate a specific block of time to do it (I usually create posts between 9-10AM). It doesn't have to take a long time to create an Instagram post. The problem is that we get into the habit of scrolling through our timelines for hours after we post and we don't realize how much time we've just wasted. Create your post and then put the damn phone AWAY! Give your post some time to gain traction + comments. You can reply to all of your comments later in the day, or the day after. Again, these things don't have to take that much time out of your day. Depending on how many comments you're getting, you can be done replying to everyone in 2-10 minutes. The key is to be MINDFUL of how many minutes/hours you're actually spending on Instagram and if those minutes/hours are HELPING you or HURTING you. (Instagram is a complex animal that's worth doing research on. There's TONS of content you can find regarding helpful Instagram practices like when to post, what to post, how to create quality posts, hashtag culture and more. Take a few moments and do some research.)
If you want to become a successful music producer (or creative in your field) you've got to PRODUCE! Surprise surprise! And you've got to do it often. If you truly love doing it, you won't have any problems making time to do it. It isn't a chore. It shouldn't be a source of stress. It's your getaway. It's your passion and your purpose. It's the thing you love to do the most. So go do it. A lot. I promise your life will change.
What are you going to do as soon as you're finished reading this blog?
Yup, you guessed it.
Put the phone on silent and toss it in the other room.
You won't regret it.
Now go be GREAT!
How has social media affected your productivity? And are you willing to "put the phone down"? Let me know in the COMMENTS BELOW.
Want to meet me? I'm on tour all year visiting different cities booking "private studio sessions" Go HERE to sign up.