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It’s About Time: Growing As An Audio Professional While Keeping An Eye On The Work/Life Balance

My goal is simply to envision a healthy balance, do the best I can, and let it go if I fall a bit short. I’ve learned that I can’t focus too much on one activity for an entire day and neglect the other stuff...

My goal is simply to envision a healthy work/life balance, do the best I can, and let it go if I fall a bit short. I’ve learned that I can’t focus too much on one activity for an entire day and neglect the other stuff.

I recently prepped for an upcoming tour with an artist I hadn’t worked with before and focused really hard (for weeks) on learning all of the songs by reviewing multitrack recordings of the show (there were many stems of instrumentation coming from playback computers) so I would be intimately familiar with the structure of each song. I don’t regret that intense study time at all, but realize in hindsight that many of the other activities I usually incorporate into my day were getting pushed aside. I had to remind myself daily to get up from my computer and take a nice long walk. The work wasn’t finished, but I had to get some air and stretch my legs.

Hitting The Peak

Whether we’re on tour, in the office, or on show site, the hours in the day can be dictated by our employers so we just have to go with the flow, but when we have some time off or a day to ourselves, it’s important to divide up the hours so all of the aspects of a healthy lifestyle are being respected. Reading a John Grisham book or watching some sports or Netflix can seem like wasted time when there’s a large to-do list screaming for attention, but resting our minds and exercising our bodies is vital to function at peak performance.

When I wrap up a long tour and I finally land at home, I do my best to shut it all off for a day or two and focus entirely on my family. The emails keep coming and there are often details to wrap up at the end of a tour, but I really try to push it all aside for at least a couple of days.

When it’s time to get back to it, I try to address the “to do” lists first thing in the morning and free up the rest of the day. I also use the time when my family is at work or school to work on those educational audio projects I’ve been meaning to get to. There’s so much to learn in our business. New software and gear require hours of research and study to master and there’s not often time on show site to devote to that, so I try to explore new products and refresh myself on gear I haven’t used in a while when I’m at home.

This is also the time I peek ahead at my calendar to see what’s next, and what gear I’ll need to be proficient on for that upcoming tour or show. Practicing on equipment or software when it’s not show critical is wise, so I try to find the gear locally and ask nicely if I can possibly check out my show files and signal flow before I’m in the hot seat.

When that’s done, I remind myself that I’m actually HOME, and that doesn’t happen enough during the year, so work takes a back seat. First priority is spending time with and hugging my family, and hopefully I can also fit in a nice long walk with the puppies.

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