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This idea came to me in a meditation. I am constantly trying to find the magical work/life balance formula particularly when it comes to musicians. I find us to be the most interesting case study because We are all juggling a tremendous amount of tasks, are intensely emotional AND most of us hustling a full time job or multiple streams of income in order to feed ourselves invest in our art. Basically we’re (very tired) superhero- hustlers.

It’s nearly impossible to do everything well at the same time while also maintaining a personal life and a self care practice. That being said, from the outside looking in, I have a few friends who “do life” pretty well and I want to know how they do it so I can share it with YOU!

Case Study: Edward Askew

I chose my friend Edward Askew, who one of the founders of the “Get Summered” audio/visual collective who also happens to be a badass (very consistently booked) DJ with a full time job working with the youth in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. One of the hardest-working, yet even keeled people I’ve met in NYC, I had to ask how he does it. 

Fuckin superhero!

This brief chat I had with Edward is full of honesty and gratitude. I definitely was onto something when I asked him to do this with me!

CC: Hey Edward, What are your slashes?

EA: DJ, Event Producer, Youth Programs Coordinator at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, Cat Daddy to Goliath and Kaiser.

CC: How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

EA: Not enough. I try to get eight but I get up at 7am every day no matter how late I go to sleep.  So most days that’s me being in bed by 11 but on nights where I DJ I’m usually in bed by 5am and up again at 7am.

CC: Where have you had to financially cut corners in order to invest in your career?

EA: I have saved so much money from not drinking it’s pretty insane. Also my rent was super cheap until I moved a week ago. I don’t know if it’s cutting corners but I also DJ weddings which are a good chunk of change. Oh and having a day job with a nice salary and benefits helps too.

CC: What do you think you’ve sacrificed the most in order to make time for your priorities?

EA: Hmmm… Sometimes I feel like my friendships have suffered.  I’ve had to miss out on things with friends because I had a gig so many times that I think a lot of my close friends stopped inviting me to things.  Also, SLEEP.

CC: What takes top spot on your priorities list?

EA: 1. My Cats, 1. My Girlfriend, 1. My Day Job.  2.  Everything related to DJing 3. Everything else.

CC: How do you make decisions based on those priorities?

EA: I just try to do what’s right in the moment.

CC: What’s your definition of self care and what does it look like in your life?

EA: Going to the gym, I try to go six days a week but I took a long break from that for the last few months, it’s been really stressing me out to not have that hour for myself every day of late, but my life has become a little more stable since moving and I’m getting back in the habit.  Other things that help are occasional spa trips, fishing, not drinking or doing drugs (7 months sober) and shout out to my therapist, Rick.

CC: What keeps you up at night?

EA: Thinking about the kids I work with and how targeted they are by the prison industrial complex.

CC: What keeps you from throwing in the towel on this (very challenging!) music career thing?

EA: The kids I work with and thinking about how targeted they are by the prison industrial complex, also with DJing, the act of doing it is sort of a form of self-care in of itself. I look at it like having a hobby that I get paid to practice. That being the case, I don’t ever look at any night as a waste of time when I’m DJing.  If the party is super-packed, great, if it’s dead, I just got paid to practice.  All situations are a win-win.  I have very low expectations, I’m just trying to enjoy myself.

CC: What do you think were some of your biggest time/money/energy wasters from when you were starting out in your career? How do you do things differently now?

EA: Drugs and Alcohol and Cigarettes. I quit smoking in 2014, quit drinking and doing drugs in March of 2017.

CC: What are some of your get-shit-done and stay sane life hacks?

EA: Yerba Mate. Also, don’t worry, you’re doing your best.