Get the Balance Right

It took me a while but I finally struck a balance between my day job and my music career. Three week day nights and weekends I am in front of knobs, dials, touch screen, API and Ableton. Weekdays as Director of Operations at ENVEN Energy Services I stare at Windows 7 via Bootcamp, Excel tracking sheets, Quickbooks or I am in the field auditing commercial lighting systems in Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties. Once and a while live performances as The Horrorist steal a Friday away from ENVEN but since I am a partner in the company it’s a perk I am allowed. Mornings before anything starts thirty minutes goes here to Wire to the Ear and these words. I know balance has found it’s equilibrium because my to do list gets cleared and I am not having those “missing class” nightmares. I admit I struggled to make this work and for a while it cost me some music creating time. The key is I pretend I am far more important than I am. I pretend I am a CEO. I wake up early, eat super healthy and spend 45 minutes on the Elliptical trainer each day. I allow myself one or two planned, scheduled fun short late afternoon meet ups with friends and family per week. I know this all sounds pretentious and needlessly stiff. In between all the positivity there is a blackness. I regularly feel like I am missing something somewhere. I have huge doubts and I feel I’ve become a mouse on a wheel. That said, I am doing my life’s plan and I hope in the end people will have noticed.

“There’s more besides joyrides. Little house in the countryside. Understand, learn to demand, Compromise, sometimes lie. You think you’ve got a hold of it all. You haven’t got a hold at all. When you reach the top, get ready to drop. Prepare yourself for the fall, you’re gonna fall. It’s almost predictable.” – Depeche Mode

For more info: Get the Balance Right, Depeche Mode (iTunes link)

photo credit: Colin Harris

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

11 thoughts on “Get the Balance Right”

  1. > I feel I’ve become a mouse on a wheel

    I’ve reached that point on a few occasions and it really is troublesome to get through that. It feels as if the “the point of life” has vanished. I think, however, it’s just the mind playing tricks and try to ignore it and persist. Nice post.

  2. This kinda resonated with me somehow. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to play music for a living. I thought that maybe, if I stayed close to the industry in which I wanted so much to be involved, I would somehow leapfrog from working behind the stage to working on it. But after dropping out of university and getting a job in a music venue to try and achieve my goal, I’m slowly realising that being a professional musician is not going to happen via ‘osmosis’. Too many late nights and being tired from 18-hour shifts all the time are getting in the way of me making music. So I’ve decided to try and get a ‘boring office job’ in the hopes that, when 5 o clock rolls around, I’ll be able to take off my work hat and go home and record or go to a venue and perform. At least that’s the plan……

  3. Time management it’s one of the hardest challenge.
    Especially when you have a Day job.
    Day job, Friends, Family each part has to be in balance.
    If it’s so, you will find creative time for making music in no time.

    This year I chanced my time management and it works great.
    Mo-Fr. I’m max 2 hours in the studio and 8 hours at the Day job (shift). Saturday I’m sometimes more than 4 h in the studio :-) I also found the time and pleasure to going to a fitness studio. Each of us have 100% energy and 24 hours per day, so take care of you.

  4. Yeah, I get that feeling sometimes too. Currently I’m in a state of chaos, doing shows and working as a designer + trying some other “hobbies” on the side and I find myself in need of a change. I think I’ll try to get more organized, maybe not down to minutes daily but at least hourly.

  5. “I pretend I am a CEO”.

    I’ve read the War of Art by Steven Pressfield some weeks ago, following this post: (hope you don’t mind me posting that here).

    I would highly recommend it. It’s striking that one of the tips Pressfield gives creatives is that they should see and treat themselves as professionals. “You Inc.” he calls it.

  6. Great post Oliver. I often feel like I have way too much on my plate and finding the right balance between career, girlfriend, musical interests and general life maintenance can be a challenge. For me, this is the main source of everyday stress. Lately I have been more willing to say “no” to new projects as attractive as they may be. If I do say ‘yes’, then another project comes off the plate. I’m 47 and still learning how to prioritize my time. As I get older I’ve found that preserving the relationships with loved ones and close friends becomes more important. You can always replace a job and all the toys in the studio, but the people you love are irreplaceable.

    And so, a question- how much sleep do get each night? And what’s your secret for dealing with the jetlag from these over-the-weekend trips to Europe?

  7. You continue to impress me Oliver – ever since the 101 days. Your time and life management are inspiring as the others have noted. Keep it up man!

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