One of the things that can really kick start whatever you want to do with your musical life is to learn how to distribute your time. As the gatekeepers disapear getting far in the music business becomes more and more about how much work you can get done for your band. Though that isn’t necessarily the case, what is really important is getting the important work done, not just some work.
It is very easy to sit at home chat on AIM with your friends while making a million Myspace friends. It is easy to go to practice and just rehearse your songs and not write a new one. If you really want your band to go somewhere one of the cheesiest business like things you need to do is identify what work is important to get done not what is easy and fun. After the jump I will show you how I sort my to do list to make sure I get what is important done.
The first thing I sort my to do list with is a list called Life Changing. This is a list of things that could really change my life and are usually the things that are the least fun and easy to do. I make sure these things are one step a way, not things like “Get Signed” – that doesn’t help, what helps is “give demo to ____ friend who is a huge DJ.” Little things help in this department. Keep things here that you know will really help you but you will probably not enjoy doing and are easily done in one to three steps. After you get done with one add the next steps if it is a real life changer. Keeping it under the tag life changing helps keep my motivation up immensely and I get these things done a lot more since I sorted my to-do list like this.
Defensive things are just as important as Life Changing since they can really wreck your life. These are things like paying parking tickets, dealing with taxes and insurance. These things are super important and could destroy your life if you don’t do them. These are just as important as the life changing things if not more. If you read our article on your band having velocity you will realize that keeping your to-do list moving is one the reason to keep this going.
Offensive are thing that aren’t as important as Life Changing but need to get done. You still need to get them done, but they aren’t going to change your whole life. Getting T-shirts made, calling a kid back about a gig, etc. Keeping all of these list prioritized is very important.
David Allen has a great theory that the worst thing you can do is put something you may do in 6 months or a year on your to-do list. I agree now that I stopped doing it myself. I put them on a list called Someday Maybe so I can store the ideas and not forget them but not have them sitting on my to-do list getting in my way.
Do It Now
Another David Allen theory that changed my life is the idea that if you can do it in under 5 minutes do it right then and there. That way you don’t have to think about it and have your mind process it a second time. Since I started doing this it is amazing how life changing it was (even though it never went on the life changing list).
All of this stuff I learned by paying attention to Tim Ferriss and David Allen and everything they write and say if this stuff interests you, read their books, blogs and Twitters. Though David Allen’s book is very Bob From Accounting orientated it is awesome for anyone who wants to get organized. Tim Ferriss drops some of the most interesting and best knowledge near daily on his Twitter and his book Four Hour Work Week . Read up.