Just like with any long creative project, when you’re making an album, one of the main challenges you’ll face is finding the motivation to stick with it through the tough times, and actually get the work done.

Following through on a goal like this can be incredibly challenging, and it’s especially tricky with a lengthy project, as you don’t get the immediate rewards that you do with shorter, simpler tasks. This means it’s incredibly easy to be sidetracked and distracted by other more pressing ideas or concerns.

Consider the number of people who start a novel, or being a new exercise regime, only to quickly forget about it without trace within a few months. There’s a reason we have New Year’s resolutions every year – few people have the willpower to stick to their goals over the long-term.

Creating something like a music album takes dedication and hard work, but also commitment. So how do you see a project through to its completion? Well, one of the best ways to do so, is to work on turning your creativity into a habit. And then to focus on making sure that habit sticks.

This is easier said than done, but the benefits of doing a little, everyday are huge. Slowly but surely, you’ll build up unstoppable momentum, and begin to see real progress in your creative projects.

Managing your time

“I don’t have time.” This is one of the most common responses people come out with when they’re asked why they’ve not managed to meet their creative goals.

In 99% of cases, this is a cop out, you just need to be creative.

Changing your mindset is key to creating a new creative habit that you will actually stick with. You can always find time to do something if it’s important to you, and you really want to.

So whether it’s when you visit the bathroom, while you’re travelling to work on the bus, or whether it’s simply blocking Facebook on your computer and using that time productively, it’s time to make a promise to commit yourself to 15 minutes of creative time each day.

If you want to do more, then by all means do so, but be wary that the bigger the commitment you make, the more likely you are to fall back on it.

Fifteen minutes may not sound like a very long time – and it isn’t – but by working on your project every day, you can break it down into smaller, manageable chunks, which will be beneficial for your motivation and productivity. Our brains simply can’t handle with huge tasks like this, unless we break them up, and take them piece by piece.

The key is to be disciplined, and to stop when you’ve reached your target, basking in the glory of completing each short term goal. It’s simple really. Rather than looking at the long run, and feeling discouraged at how much work you still need to do, you’re recalibrating your brain to focus on easily achievable tasks, that add up to a greater sum over time.

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop once you’ve reached your daily goal of 15 minutes, but if you keep pushing past your goal, your brain will quickly twig that you’re not disciplined with it, and you’ll start to feel demotivated – because you’ll subconsciously feel like you should be doing more every time you sit down at your studio. This will lead to you falling off the wagon.

Cementing your habit

Psychologists say that a new habit needs at least 30 days to bed in, so be ruthless with yourself during this period.

Working in this way also helps you to beat issues like writer’s block and avoid wasting time on projects, or burning yourself out with mammoth undertakings.

We’ve all had that feeling that comes with spending hours on a track, only to listen to it the next day and discover it’s sounding awful to your fresh ears. By working gradually, you’ll avoid this, and ensure you’re creating at a consistent level of quality.

Even more importantly, you won’t judge yourself too harshly, during your work, which is important, as this can be a real productivity and motivation killer.

Remember, just because you’ve added a positive new habit doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy ad-hoc music making too – just make sure you tick off your 15 minutes each day, and you’ll soon find yourself inspired and motivated to create great instrumental music.