How much can you get done in your studio in one hour? What if I suggested that you could get a lot more accomplished in one hour than you think? In fact, what if I told you that by actually limiting yourself to a finite period of time (like one hour) you could make better music than if you gave yourself a whole weekend? Would you believe me?


TRR148 The One Hour Challenge

Via Daniel Zimmerman Flickr

Limitations = Productivity

If you’ve read my ebook The #1 Rule Of Home Recording then you would know what I think of limitations. I love them! In fact, limitations in the studio are your greatest asset. They actually ignite your creativity and launch you into world of productive recording, mixing, and music making. It’s counter intuitive, but it’s true.

A lot of study and research has gone into what Barry Schwartz has called the paradox of choice. The idea that if presented with more choices, more options, we as humans actually freeze up and have a hard time making decisions. On the flip side, when given only one or two options we make decisions much faster and feel much more confident about our choice. Fascinating.

Why Less Is More

This concept applies to our time as well. If we have a limited amount of time in the studio (say one hour) we don’t have the luxury (or trap) of thinking through every possible technique, mic choice, mic placement, or combination there of. We have to move fast, think big picture, and be focused on what really matters: getting a great sounding recording or mix.

This subtle pressure really brings out the best in most people because it sharpens our focus. Focus is a powerful thing. When you have less on your mental plate, you can knock the one thing in front of you out of the park. This is so evident when it comes to recording and mixing.

Take The One Hour Challenge

So here’s what I want you to do. Just for fun, find some time this week to set aside just one hour in your studio. Commit to one of two things, to either record an entire song completely in that one hour time span or instead to mix a song you’ve already recorded from raw track to final bounce. All within 60 minutes.

In fact, my good buddy Joe Gilder of Home Studio Corner did this very thing on one of his VIP sessions. He actually recorded AND mixed an entire song (5 instruments) in one hour! So why not you? Set a timer, close your door, and get to work. Maybe what comes out of this will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Or maybe it will be the worst. Either way it will stretch you, motivate you, and get you back to what you want to do anyway, make music.