Just Take The Next StepAs I drove to the site of my day job this morning (I run my own residential remodel business)  I have to admit my own personal frustration. Why?, because I had been trying to finish a mix to demonstrate in the new training course (I hope to release this by May) and I simply ran out of time to complete it.

Have you ever been there? Maybe you've set aside a limited amount of time to work on a project that doesn't go as planned. You had hoped to complete a mix that ended up taking twice as long as expected. Now you're frustrated and left feeling like you didn't really accomplish anything at all?

After my own personal moment here over the weekend I came to a clear conclusion. I'm doing the very thing I teach in the new "how to mix music" course to avoid. I fell into the same trap I've seen so many others do over the years. If you can relate then let me share with you a mindset that helps me.

So what did I do wrong? Well, maybe nothing. Sometimes things just happen. My laptop was having issues that took time away from my ability to mix. Once I got the problems solved, it was late into the evening and I was exhausted. On the other hand, maybe I had an unrealistic picture of how much I could truly get done on my mix. Either way I was left feeling a bit angry and like I had failed.

Here is the mindset I've had to talk myself back into. The truth is, the issue with my laptop is now solved. I also now know how to avoid it for the future. In reality I did learn something. I learned what I needed to know in order to take the next step with my project. I often run fifty or more tracks with more than seventy-five effects in my projects. If my laptop loses even a small amount of performance it can literally stop all progress on a mix.

What I really needed and wanted were two different things. I wanted to knock out the entirety of my mix so I could be done with the project. What I needed was to simply take the next step and go from there. I was thinking about taking the next forty steps to finish the mix. This made me feel like a failure by only taking the one step to fix the issue at hand, even though I had still made progress. Truth is..

...you don't really need to know everything about how to mix music in order to create professional recordings. You just need to know how to take the next step.

I've heard this called, "just in time learning". Along with this idea is the mindset that even one small step equals progress. So focus on the progress and not the unrealistic place of perfection we often have in our heads.

What do you need to know today that will help you take the next step in making great recordings? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever been frustrated like I was when something didn't go as planned? Take a second to share your own experience below.

    2 replies to "Just Take The Next Step"

    • Mark

      I experienced some real frustration last night. After a long day spent tweaking this and that I made the mistake of searching for a plugin that might just deliver some kind of magic. I downloaded it …… and then disaster. I still have no idea how it happened. When I installed this plugin’s program, it somehow deleted my VST folder. Result? I had no choice but to stop working. And now I have the job of downloading all the plugins and reinstalling them again (believe it or not I cleared my ‘downloads’ folder about three days ago.

      However, this has made me more focused. It has also made me realise that I don’t need even half the number of plugins that I had before. And, wanting to work more on the project today, I was forced to work with a handful of plugins that I have had the time to download. And I am really pleased with the result. Sometimes we find ourselves searching for that little bit of extra ‘I don’t know what’, when the reality is we had it a while back and then lost it again in the search.

      Time is certainly an issue – we never have enough of it. But we mustn’t waste time beating ourselves up when things go wrong. Better to wait a day and have the result we want than rush and regret.

      As far as progress is concerned, I measure my progress by each project. I’m pleased to say that with your help, each of my projects sounds better than the previous. It’s a great journey.

      • David

        I feel your pain Mark!, been there. Its pretty cool that you were able to turn a bad into a good for sure. Thanks for sharing.

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