Finally! finishing the third bit on this little series.
So, it’s simple, just get some sleep on the road…right? I would beg to disagree. It is MUCH harder than that and usually requires some serious commitment and persistence. You have to build a schedule, a plan, and then stick to it as much as you can. There will always be invites and activities thrown to you as a touring artist. People inviting you to dinner, asking you to come to another gig, saying you need to meet their best friend’s uncle who knew George Strait. Build a system for analyzing what will be “worth it”.
This little tool is not only helpful in business, but in creating a sustainable lifestyle on the road. As invitations come your way, assess you and your band’s fatigue level, what time you have to be awake the next morning, what else you want to accomplish that evening and then what you REALLY stand to gain from the invitation. Some last minute changes are incredibly helpful, but the majority are bogus. If your BENEFIT is less than or equal to your physical, emotional, and temporal costs then use your parachute, the word NO.
There is a gracious way to say something hard like “no”, but in order for it to be effective, it must mean “no” and not be followed with a series of logical excuses. People will understand when you graciously but firmly tell them that you cannot do coffee with them at midnight after the show.
When the promoters and staff are sitting around after the event, discussing the evening’s action, step out. There is no real meaningful conversation that occurs after 12am, and even if you do have a great “connection” with someone, chances are high that neither you nor them will remember the details of that conversation. Therefore, you have wasted your time and paid a high price in losing sleep, that is not sustainable.
Rest, not the same as sleep, but it is much easier to engage and can really supplement sleep. Rest means clearing your mind and sitting still for a moment in silence. Practical applications include giving the iPod a break for an hour in the van, taking a moment while your other band-mates are sound-checking to close your eyes in a quiet place, don’t turn on facebook or the TV in your room after a show, and learn how to know when not to spend your time thinking about your career. To me, this is the cardinal sin, not “turning off”. There is a time and a place to brainstorm about your career or plan another tour, but perspective and clarity come as a result of leaving those things alone for a while. Think about places you have been, a vacation you want to have, a non-business relationship you care about, or even just take yourself to an open field in your mind and relax.
I would love for someone to add or temper what I say here, but if I could state my thesis in a phrase it would be, “You don’t have to be as on top of things as often as you think you do. Be willing to let things go.”