It goes without saying that Covid 19 has had an unprecedented affect on just about all of us. In such a short space of time, life itself has changed unimaginably and everyone is starting to feel the side affects. For many music professionals, self isolation is something that we've been practicing and preaching for as long as we can remember. However, if you're struggling to come to terms with these difficult months ahead, hopefully we can provide a shoulder to lean on with some productivity, financial and health based advice!
There's nothing wrong with binging a full Netflix series, or playing your favourite video game back to back. But you should try and use some of your downtime to build your portfolio, and enhance your skillset for when normality resumes. Now is the time to start that side hustle that you've always had on the back burner. Now is the time to build your website that you've never had the time for. Now is the time to learn how to mix better, master better, play guitar better or even network better. The list is simply endless. All the hard work you put in now, will more than likely increase your work and profitability, months or years down the line. We've listed just a few services below that can help you achieve these goals.
- Skill Share - A great place to learn new skills from professional educators, at very affordable prices.
- Portfolio Music Network - Build your brand, website and pickup the free e-book on how to sustain and build a professional career in music.
- Mac Pro Video - A well respected community with a plethora of music production, composition and instrumental courses.
- SoundBetter - Create your own profile for free and collaborate remotely with songwriters, producers and topliners.
- Sample services - Output, Splice & Looploft all offer affordable monthly sample packs, which you can use royalty free in your own productions.
- Plugin Boutique - If now isn't a good time to spend money, Plugin Boutique have an entire page dedicated to free software for Mac and Windows users.
- Trello, Todoist & Slack - These organisational tools are invaluable when it comes to keeping on top of things - and they're all free!
- Financial Support - In the UK there are a number of ways you can seek financial support, if you're struggling to cope during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- HMU - Help Musicians UK currently have a £500 grant that they are providing professional musicians during the lockdown. The form is very straightforward and you'll hear back within 10 days if you've been successful.
- PRS - PRS are also providing a £1000 grant to existing PRS members. This only applies if you're a member of over 3 years and have received more than £1000 in royalties in any of those 3 years.
- Universal Credit - Universal Credit is a government backed initiative which can help individuals who are self employed. Apply on the Government website and you should be able to organise a telephone interview. The benefits vary but you can expect a minimum of £250 each month, as long as you report your income and expenditure to Universal Credit.
Look after yourself
This last one is the most overlooked, but probably the most important. Staying physically and mentally healthy during these difficult times is imperative. You should be trying your best to exercise outdoors (if permitted) or indoors. There are a number of fitness coaches streaming free Instagram live workouts - such as The Body Coach. One form of exercise a day can greatly impact your productivity, and this can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Below are 5 key ways to ensure you look after yourself.
Exercise - At least one form of exercise a day.
- Eat well - Try to retain a balanced diet with plenty of clean & fresh food.
- Sleep properly - If you don't maintain a proper sleeping pattern, your body will suffer and have to work harder to function.
- Take regular breaks - This applies to everyone working from home, take breaks - and don't feel guilty! A 5-10 minute break can increase your productivity.
- Avoid social media and the news - Reading reliable sources of news is fine, but avoid overdosing on social media as it can lead to hours of lost time.
- Remember, we're all in this together and if we follow the government guidelines we can save countless lives. Stay home and stay productive!