AMA: “How can I balance my time between live performances, music production, and other income streams like design work to support my family?” – Ryan

Hi Ryan,

Great question. “Balance” is a tough topic and one I can relate to. For a longtime balancing my roles as an artist, producer, and songwriter was extremely difficult. I realized my success or lack-thereof depended on how organized I was. I’m not naturally organized or efficient with my time.  I got away with those deficits until having kids. So it was a painful process, but I can tell you right now that I am INSANELY organized. And that’s what has helped me the most.

Here’s how I did it. 

How to Get (Insanely) Organized

1. Observe Yourself

For 2-3 weeks, act like you’re shadowing yourself. Carry a notebook and jot down the time, location, and activity for everything you do.


  • 7-8:30 AM: Home: Woke up, breakfast, shower, get kids ready
  • 8:30-9 AM: Home: Discussed day’s plan with Heidi
  • 9-10:30 AM: Studio: Worked on demo, recorded guitars & piano

Here’s what my Moleskine looked like:

2. Identify Your Roles

After collecting this life data, identify the roles for each activity. When you switched locations, you likely switched roles. The main roles are Work and Personal, with sub-roles under each.


  • Personal: Dad, Spouse, Friend, Homeowner
  • Work: Performer, Producer, Designer

Keep it to ~5 roles max per category.

3. Set Specific Goals

Each role takes time, so be intentional with that time. Not every role needs a goal, but have a purpose––no more mindlessly scrolling Instagram while I hang out with your kids.

Goals must be specific: “I will [accomplish X] by [Y date] because [reason Z].

Example: I will record 2 songs per month from Jan 1 – June 30 to improve my production skills.

Break goals into:

  • Quarterly
  • Weekly
  • Daily

Don’t have more than two major work goals at a time or you’ll start to feel like really bad air traffic controller.

4. Time-Block Your Workday

I learned this from Cal Newport. Time-blocking your workday by assigning every 30 mins a task will likely double your productivity due to intense focus.

Use a planner or notebook, drawing columns on the right-hand side and your left-hand side for ideas, tasks, etc.

Here’s mine:

5. Move & Improve

The key is to start. Don’t overthink it. After some time, you’ll notice what works and what doesn’t. Adjust your organization system accordingly.

I’ve been refining mine since 2018, and probably will till the cows come home. In other words, it’s a lifelong pursuit. Go easy on yourself!

Also, don’t stress about organizing personal time––just your workday.

Ok, Ryan. I hope this helps make balancing your revenue streams feel more doable.

Good luck!


P.S. For the past four months I’ve kept all social media and email apps off my phone. I only access through my desktop computer. I can tell you that this move alone has made a massive improvement on balancing my roles, most importantly, the ones outside of work.

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