The discussion of the intersection between independent musician and entrepreneur is not a new one. Time management is the key to balancing these lifestyles.
Both are responsible for shaping their own careers, building their own teams, setting their own goals and working towards the proper milestones that will turn their dreams into reality. Musicians and entrepreneurs also suffer from a similar issue: time management.
And rightfully so! Whether you are a solo artist working on your own or have a band that you can share the responsibilities with, the amount of time it takes to get through the never-ending task-load can very quickly surpass the number of hours in a day, week or year. Time management is the most important skill to have in this industry.
If you want to make a business out of your music, the act of making the music is just one small part of the puzzle.
This VENN Diagram of our Total Tuneup explains all of the moving parts you must be aware of:
But WAIT – there’s more 🙂
- Community Management
- Content Creation
- Email/ Communication
Let’s not forget: just because you are a musician doesn’t mean you don’t have outside obligations that need to be fulfilled:
- Day Job
- Running Errands
Here are 5 tactics that will help you manage your time effectively:
TACTIC #1 – PLAN
Planning is the Key
Mapping out your plan isn’t just essential, it is literally the answer to effective time management. It is the foundation on which the rest of your time management strategies are built, so let’s discuss this one first.
Whether it is at the top of the year, quarter, month, week or day, you should have a plan of attack.
This plan should include:
- Goals and deadlines
- Your Marketing Plan with a comprehensive list of tasks that are required of you on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
- Content schedule for social media content and posts – Instagrams, tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, emails, new music releases, show dates, etc.
TACTIC #2 – PRIORITIZE
Prioritize What You Want First
It’s important to understand that not all of your tasks hold the same weight.
By treating all of your tasks as equally important, you are adding unnecessary stress to your day because while you work on one task, you will naturally feel as though there is something else you need to be doing or checking.
There is an amazing book by Brian Tracy called Eat that Frog! that I re-visit often and that is my favorite book on time management and it’s incredibly eye-opening. The concept is very simple: take a look at all of the tasks you have to do – determine which tasks are most aligned with your goals and do those tasks first.
Whether these are daily tasks that are required of you that you’ll do when you wake up or weekly tasks that you’ll handle as soon as you dive in on Monday morning, by accomplishing the most important tasks first, you remove the stress and resistance of handling other tasks later on because you know you’ve already handled the things that are most critical.
Carve Out Time for Total Focus
One of the best books I have ever read Cal Newport’s DEEP WORK: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World argues that wasting time on our phones on social media and texting and inboxes destroys our ability to focus on activities of high worth. Cal is, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, in computer science, also includes “the shiny tangle of infotainment sites like BuzzFeed and Reddit” in the category of things that disrupt our attention spans and pull us away from the things that truly feed us and allow us to leave our marks.
TACTIC #3 – AUTOMATE
Get An Automation Strategy In Place
There are many small tasks that we have in our daily lives that we simply must do to maintain our vision, presence, brand, schedule, etc. Most of these small tasks, such as sharing your most recent blog post to Facebook and Twitter, are harmless on their own, but when added up together can take a significant amount of time out of your day, and a significant amount of focus away from your prioritized task list.
TACTIC #4 – DELEGATE
Don’t Try To Do It All Yourself
DIY does not have to mean Do It (All) Yourself! You must get some of the many things you need to do off of your plate so that you can have room for long-term planning and creative time. I can not stress this enough: You must learn to delegate and get the stuff that stresses you out (or the stuff that a superfan or a band member can handle) off of your plate.
Two issues are up for you right now that are stopping you from actually delegating
1. You can’t afford to pay someone to help you (that’s what superfans can be amazing at!)
2. You don’t want to give up control.
TACTIC #5 – DO
You Can’t Do Any Of This Till You Stop Procrastinating!
Are you a procrastinator? Many of us are and it’s always a work in progress to overcome. Derek Sivers wrote up a great synopsis of a book called The Now Habit by Neil Fiore that will help you stop procrastinating now.
Get Ready to Build Your Plan…
Now that you have your time under control why not use it to get your Long-Term Planning up to date? Come Download this Checksheet and walk yourself through what you need to do…
Need more advice? Order Ariel’s latest book Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity for more helpful tips!