Professionalism is one of those things that isn’t explicitly taught in the music industry but is expected for you to exercise! I remember one day realizing that there is no H.R. handbook, professional development or orientation for working as a music creative. You’re just kind of expected to “be professional.” That being said, here is my first actionable and practical tip to exercising professionalism and stay booked and working!
Manage Your Time
According to our good friends over at Wikipedia, Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
I remember hearing someone once say this statement with regards to being “on time” and I use it as a rule of thumb. Well, minus the “unacceptable” part because there are circumstances that are out of our control sometimes but you get it!
To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late is unacceptable.
Arriving early gives you the opportunity to set-up, greet everyone, possibly eat a snack, stretch, and be ready-to-work at the start time. You can’t arrive and set-up and start all at the same time for a rehearsal or gig.
Questions to ask yourself...
How long does it take you to prepare for gigs? Time Yourself! Makeup, Hair, Loading gear, Load-out gear, Grooming, picking an outfit that meets the attire requirements. All of these are factors you can plan for and budget into your schedule.
Outside factors are the things that tend to throw a wrench in your plans! Tasks like stopping for gas, put money on your subway card, tolls, car trouble, late relief from a job or child care, fatigue, unpredictables, etc.
Pre-planning is the first step to truly managing your time and being prepared to handle unpredictable variables without making yourself late! Packing your gig bags in advance and getting gas on your way home the night before can be really simple and routine practices to help manage your time!