As an independent creative, freelancer, working artist, etc. you find that you fill that empty space with your favorite tunes. Alot of us, like myself, find Music to be the lifeblood of our work and couldn’t create without it. Only problem is, that for some of us, where Music is one of our favorite things, we can become audibly exhausted. I’ll be at the gym, and find myself irritated and tired of the same playlist or same album. Sometimes I’ve exhausted my music listening capabilities to the point where I can only bear total silence. My mind becomes noisy, anxious and stressed out. It’s that point where my head is filled with repeating choruses and quotes from various bands and soundtracks that become an irritating noise that’s unmuteable and unstoppable. I can guarantee these moments also equal an sleepless night too.
Some tactics that I’ve found to be helpful in avoiding a music burnout and mental exhaustion:
1. Set aside certain albums or music types for when you work verses your gym time, roadtrips, relaxing time, etc. It helps not only to keep yourself mentally focused in your work, but keeps your mind fresh and clear. The same music for everything gets old real fast.
2. Listen to Internet Radio. When you’ve exhausted your playlists or iTunes collection, consider internet radio for new music. Sometimes the best way to learn about new bands or albums is through the radio or friends. Check out apps like Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Last.fm. Great ways and different options for enjoying new music as well as some social aspects that allow you to see what your friends are listening to!
3. Do a musical cleanse by listening to Ambient or Classical music for the day. Sometimes I do this when I’ve exhausted my mental capacity for any sort of rhythym or beat. This totally helps calm my nerves and mind, and “reset” it from the nervous energy that music tends to activate.
4. Play your favorite show, movie or channel instead of music. Sometimes I’ve done this, simply for the fact that I’m always working alone and I need some “company”. Being able to listen to people talking, even if it’s a fictional show on the television, really helps not only to make me feel like I’m working from a dungeon 24/7 but that I’m partially able to enjoy shows while I’m working. Sometimes I’d put on Oprah or a dvd of a favorite movie that has a great script.
5. Listen to digital Books or Talks. TED talks or a good book that you can listen to on your MP3 player or CD player is a great way to “reset” your mind and do some thinking while you create. For some of us, that’s probably going to make creating a bit difficult, but sometimes when we are working on something that is a little more “mindless” or automatic, we can enjoy listening to this kind of content. I’ve also enjoyed listening to comedy radio stations which is amusing to do.