Productivity is only for business… isn’t it? Does it matter when it comes to music? In this post, our Founder & Editor David Andrew Wiebe shows you how being more productive will transform your music career.
This post originally appeared on David Andrew Wiebe. There are no alterations except to enhance clarity, cite more resources, or offer more up-to-date information.
“Productivity” feels like such a technical term… Especially when we’re talking about something as creative as music.
We could just as easily say “getting more done in less time” or “making the best use of our time.”
But that still feels a little aimless to me.
If the goal is to “get a lot done” then the above is more than adequate. And I can tell you from experience that if you’re determined to get a lot done, you will.
Getting the right things done is what matters, and the sooner you can admit that Facebook isn’t going to increase the quality of your life (nor are you going to regret not spending more time on social media on your deathbed), the better.
Why Productivity in Music?
Imagine being able to write, record, and release more music.
If you did that, could you create more opportunities, increase your fan base, and generate more revenue?
Imagine having a greater impact on your fans, lifting broken spirits, helping people out of depression, saving lives…
Do you feel like that would be a life well lived?
Imagine dying with the best song out of you.
If you could “die empty” as author Todd Henry so eloquently said, do you think greater joy and fulfillment would be available?
That’s what’s possible when we focus on the right things rather than doing a lot of things. There is a difference, and it does matter.
What Everybody Really Wants is Effectiveness
As a recovering productivity fiend, I can tell you honestly, productivity isn’t what you want.As a recovering productivity fiend, I can tell you honestly, productivity isn’t what you want. Click To Tweet
I understand that you want to accomplish more.
Maybe you want to achieve the things I just talked about (releasing more music, changing your fans’ lives, leaving this world having squeezed every bit of creativity out of yourself…).
Or maybe like me, you want to travel/tour the world, grow into the best version of yourself, inspire and serve people everywhere you go with everything you do.
Consider what your ultimate goal is – the thing you don’t want to leave this world without having achieved – and more importantly, what you would consider your “why”.
Can you see it in your mind’s eye now?
Well, unless you prioritize, I guarantee you’re never going to get there.
It’s heartbreaking. It’s sad. It’s frustrating. But it’s true.
So, productivity isn’t going to get you there. It’s only going to overload your system with adrenaline, leading to bouts with anxiety and depression, something we artistic types are already prone to.
What you want is effectiveness. And effectiveness is working smart, not just working hard.
I recently published A Level Above Productivity & Time Management podcast episode.
You can listen to it here:
It’s a rant, but the point is that it’s not about the hustle and grind.
Sometimes you might need to sacrifice sleep, work long hours, or take a red-eye flight.
When I’m in “launch” mode, I always make some sacrifices.
But the way to get your best work done is…
- To be 100% clear on what you want to achieve before leaving this world (this is your why)
- Working only on those things (knocking over the big domino means knocking over all the small dominoes)
- Being mindful of your energy (admit it – you suck at what you do when you’re exhausted, tired, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, etc.)
- Work at your peak hours (hint: it’s not all day long!)
Between 10 AM and 2 PM are my absolute best hours. I guard them with my life. I don’t allow anyone or anything to snatch my dreams out of my hands.
The Airplane List
You can read this story in detail if you wish. Here I’m only going to be touching on the key details…
You’ve probably heard of Warren Buffet. He’s one of the wealthiest investors alive.
Mike Flint was Buffet’s personal airplane pilot. He did this for 10 years, so as you can imagine, he got to know Buffet.
Flint wanted absolute clarity on how he could achieve more. Buffet gave him an exercise.
The first step was to write down his top 25 career goals.
The next step was to find and circle his top five goals.
The top five goals became the A list, while the remaining 20 goals became the B list.
As you can imagine, all 25 goals were incredibly important to Flint. He even told Buffet he would spend most of his time on his top five goals while working on the other 20 goals here and there when he had time.
But Buffet told Flint to focus all his time, energy, and resources on his top five goals and to ignore the other 20. Buffet added emphasis by saying the B list was to be avoided at all costs until he had achieved his top five!
Again, that process is:
- Identify your top 25 career goals
- Circle your top five goals
- Make your top five goals your A list and the other 20 goals your B list
- Work only on your A list goals, ignoring your B list goals until you achieve all your A list goals
What do You Want to Achieve?
I recently completed a personal development course.
On day one, I was asked a series of questions to help me gain clarity on my purpose.
This question, specifically, helped me identify my priorities with exacting precision:
What dreams would I have left unfulfilled if I died today?
These were my answers:
- Back on Solid Ground (it was supposed to be my second solo album and it still isn’t done)
- Flashes of Elation (the book I’ve been promising for years)
- Getting married and having children
- Buying a car for my mom
- Seeing Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Singapore
Those are my top five goals. I didn’t even know until I went through this exercise!
All other goals might be important but aren’t as important as these. And I admit I’m still making that switch from the whole list to just the A list. But at least I know what my A list is.
Productivity is of No Use to You…
- You don’t know the difference between productivity and effectiveness.
- You don’t know what your purpose is (you will summon inner resources you never knew you had when you’re on the right path).
- You haven’t narrowed your 25 (or more) goals down to just the top five most important goals.
- You aren’t focusing on your top five goals.
But if you want to…
- Release more music
- Change the lives of your adoring fans
- Squeeze every drip of creativity out of yourself before you pass
- Travel the world
- Become the best version of yourself
- Inspire others to live to their fullest
- Or some combination thereof…
Then you also need a structure. I can’t downplay the importance of tactics in getting things done.
The structure is what allows you to remain focused, stay on track, and get the right things done instead of wasting time you’ll never get back.
That’s why I wrote The Music Entrepreneur Code, and a large chunk of that book is dedicated to productivity.
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