As we settle into life under quarantine it’s important to stay busy. With so much going on in the world you need to take some time away from the news and focus on honing your craft if you’re an artist or producer. Although things may look bleak if you can use this time productively some good will come from it. Here are some tips for keeping your head in the game while we wait out this storm.

Practice, Practice, Practice

According to esteemed writer and sociologist Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft like music. Although that’s an intimidating number by itself, if you break it down it’s less scary.

Let’s say you normally practice music for 5 hours a day. If you practice every day, you’ll hit the mastery level after about 5 ½ years.

If you suddenly find yourself stuck indoors for an unknown period of time, nothing is stopping you from doubling your daily commitment and shaving off a considerable chunk that time.

Even if you’re working from home, all the time you normally spend commuting, going out, traveling, etc. can now be spent solely focused on your creative goals. It’s far from ideal, there is less pressure than ever to ignore your passions and it’s better to take advantage than lose the moment.

Organize Your Files

The blessing of so much downtime is that all those nagging tasks you’ve been putting off are now a way to pierce the boredom. Organizing your computer or your DAW is tedious for sure, but it can greatly increase your productivity in the long run.

This means deleting old files and unfinished ideas, making sure everything is properly labeled, backing up your hard drive and keeping your desktop is clean and organized. Whether or not you maintain this pattern into the future is up to you. But doing a little spring cleaning never hurt.

Work on Your Social Media

Right now, the internet is our only connection to one and other…which is scary. But there is a silver living – the amount of people currently watching YouTube or staring at an Instagram feed is higher than it probably ever will be (hopefully). If you’ve been itching to get your music out there now is the time to become a bedroom influencer.

Don’t look at the quarantine as a crutch for content production. Look at it as a creative challenge. If you have something to say now is the best time to say. All the influencers who survive of clout alone are going to have a hard time keeping an audience entertained without a sick backdrop – but if you have a real talent, you’ll be able to cut through.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the set up to create content with high production value. Just set a webcam or start recording on your iPhone and talk about your music or what’s going on in the world. The more we can connect, the shorter this situation will feel and creating content is a great way to start conversations.

Communicate with Fans and Influencers

Another blessing in this crisis is that we now have more time to reach out to each other. Now is a better time than ever to spend an extra hour or two a day communicating with fans on social media. This could mean connecting with longtime listeners or reaching out to new potential fans. Engagement is the best way to build your brand online. Search hashtags related to your genre or area and find some posts you like.

Drop a comment or a like on as many posts as you can without going overboard. The more profiles you hit the more results you’ll likely see. However, it’s best to leave insightful comments, not just random emojis or spam messages. You also want to try to target profiles that will actually comment back, so don’t waste your time commenting on a million pages that are outside your target demographic.

If you get a follow back, don’t hesitate to send a DM. Stay away from trying to sell anything right away – just strike up a conversation and try to cultivate a relationship. The fans that you make a genuine connection with will be the ones who support you long term. So, make the time investment to reach out. It’s free to do and not nearly as awkward as cold calling.

Another good promotional strategy is to reach out to influencers. This may require some digging but if you’re currently following anyone you admire, reach out and see if they’d be willing to collab.

Unless you’re already a superstar, stay away from the account with 1 million followers.

Try to target influencers who have more or less the same number of followers and/or engagement. Larger accounts will most likely not respond or charge you for promotion. If this is something you’re looking for, then go for it. But if you’re independent and have a modest following, micro-influencers are probably better to target. They’re easier to get in touch with and tend to have audiences that are more focused and likely to engage with your content because of a cosign.

Take Care of Yourself

My final piece of advice is to take this time to relax, reflect and maybe eradicate some bad habits. Try to eat healthier, sleep more, meditate or exercise. Especially if you’ve been negatively impacted by the virus on either an economic or health care front. It’s something that is totally out of your control and the only way it’s going to get better is to remain optimistic. If you can use this time to get healthier, more focused and hone your craft, then it will be a blessing in disguise.