Mixing always takes longer than you expect: We lose track of time when we’re enjoying ourselves. So allow for this, and give yourself lots of time to record and mix. For example, don’t put aside a single day and plan on recording and mixing four or five songs. Instead, set more realistic goals, and you’ll be happier with the result. One song, well recorded and evenly mixed, is an admirable achievement for a day’s work.
You can always revisit the song: Have you ever put off finishing a mix because you fear the result won’t sound as perfect as you imagine it? Some folks never manage to finish anything because of this quest for perfection. But sometimes, you just need to call a job done and move on. This is much easier to do when “done” can just as easily mean “to be polished and perfected later.”
Be honest with yourself: And most importantly, be honest about your abilities. Of course, you must stretch your limits to improve, but don’t hold yourself to unreal expectations. Your mix doesn’t sound radio-ready because you haven’t been at it as long as the major label mixers and producers. Skills like theirs, however, will come to you if you put in the time.
Take a break from the mix: There’s nothing like “fresh ears” to bring perspective to a mix. Thanks to habituation, you lose objectivity in your hearing, especially after the hundredth time listening to a song effectively on repeat. Taking breaks is especially important when you mix for a deadline. If time allows, spend a few days away from the track and listen to lots of other music. Reset your ears. But even if you only have a few hours before the deadline, it still helps to step away from the mix. Any change in your listening perspective will help you notice elements of the mix you’ve been unconsciously ignoring.