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How To Stop Procrastinating And Finish Your Track!

I've yet to meet a producer who doesn't struggle daily with finishing their tracks. Loads of big ideas, less finished music.

We've all been there...

  • Hoovering the bedroom instead of starting the mix down
  • Endlessly tweaking the compressor on your bass before you've even got 30 seconds of audio down
  • Disappearing down a youtube rabbit hole after watching a quick tutorial on how to finish your track 🐰


There's one little trick that will put you in the driving seat, help you avoid distractions and finish that track...


It's all about rewards

Control your reward system

Our reward system has no concept of 'finishing music'.

It just wants more of the good stuff. In fact, it wants almost anything apart from to finish music.

Finishing music sounds like a lot of work and far less fun than many, many other things. Like hoovering πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

When we get lost in making music, our conscious brain switches off and we go into instinct mode. Great for making melodies, less great for finishing anything.

The path of least resistance (and instant rewards) is also the path that leads to procrastination.

In order to get stuff done, we need to know when to engage our lizard brains and when to switch them off.

Here's how to do just that...


Reward yourself consciously

Instead of relying on your lizard brain to dish out rewards, engage your prefrontal cortex and use rewards strategically!

This means being clear about what needs to be done, then setting up little rewards for yourself when you complete certain things... NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

The default behaviour is the opposite - drifting around aimlessly in the endless pursuit of the next quick fix.

Maybe sometimes we do hit the jackpot and get a real shot of dopamine, which feels great! Unfortunately this can create more compulsive behaviour and...less finished tracks.


It pays to plan...

First, jot down a few things that need to be done to complete your track.

Then, write down a little reward for yourself next to each item on the list.

Finally, set aside a small amount of time for each item...emphasis on the small!

  • Do you feel like you need a coffee before you start planning your arrangement? DO IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND! Set yourself a small task of doing 10 minutes to sketch out your arrangement, then reward yourself with a coffee afterwards.
  • Do you love coming up with the initial idea, but get distracted when it comes to developing it? Try spending 15 minutes on developing the idea into a new section, then grab a beer to celebrate the progress you are making 🍻
  • Been layering up tracks for fun, but deep down you know you've got enough? Take a walk, then come back and do a quick mix in 20 minutes ... THEN ORDER PIZZA πŸ• You know it makes sense.

The trick is to set little bitesize goals, that are followed by little rewards. Use your lizard brain for what it's good at, but override it when you know it's leading you down the wrong path.


Music Production

If I'm honest - I drank 2 cups of coffee and walked the dogs before I got round to writing this. What can I say, work in progress πŸ˜„

But I also told myself I'm not having breakfast until it's done (apologies if this comes across h-angry in any way) ... and it really does help.

Next time you're struggling to finish a track, understand what needs to be done then treat yourself for doing it.

Not only will you make more progress, chances are you'll enjoy it more too