Artist development

From procrastinator to productive badass!

4 Simple tips for getting things done! 

As an independent songwriter, do you ever feel the weight of your To-Do list come crashing over you like a giant meteorite? Do you ever procrastinate?

If you do, then the following tips might help you turn things around and get your sh…done in less time and with a healthy mindset! I am living proof that this is possible!

Like you, I was a master procrastinator for most of my life!

Being a creative, idea-sparking, scanner type of person, I would always jump from idea to idea, hardly ever finding the willpower and strenght, to take those ideas to the finish line! This led to lots of frustrations and the believe that I just don´t have what it takes!

However, I found that my lack of implementational habits, was really just that! A lack of habits! The good news is, that this is something that can be learned, and it isn´t even as hard as you might think! Here are my top tips, that help me maintain a productive working schedule to help me move forward in my career, both as a songwriter and music coach/blogger.  I´m sure they´ll do the same for you! Let´s go!

“3 Goals of the Day before you can play” rule

To get you into the mode of setting goals and tracking them, I suggest applying this simple rule, of determining 3 goals that are mandatory for you to cross of your list, EVERY SINGLE DAY! Now, before you bounce off, let me clarify! These goals needn´t be major projects that take up 50 % of your day…they can be little tasks, as simple as finally sending out this pitch e-mail you´d been holding back, or watching a 30 min. online course, or re-scheduling your to-Do list!

I do recommend to add in one important goal, that helps you move forward in the relevant projects you have at hand. But make sure, that as long as you get your 3 goals of the day done, you have already succeeded…anything else you get done that day, is an add on!

A lot of times we think, other people get tons of things done in their day…that´s because they always seem busy. But don´t let them fool you! A lot of times these people, just like you and me, are master procrastinators as well and spend their time on social media, watching one too many youtube videos or prolonging phone calls, that they needn´t prolong. At the end of the day, they might only get 2 major things done…so, let´s be smarter than them, shall we?

Go on a ride in your monthly Theme Park 

In order to structure your big goals and make sure you can get to where you want to be, one step at a time, it is recommendable to focus on specific projects at a time and not do everything all at once.

What does that mean?

Let´s say you have larger goals like “releasing a new album”, “landing a sync placement” and “re-modelling your website and social media platforms” etc..”. Now, with all these things on the table, you could easily feel overwhelmed and lost…I recommend taking a month per project. You could take the month of May for example to remodel your web-profiles. Your focus would be solely on polishing that website, coming up with a new social media strategy and the likes.

In June, you would then invest into recording songs for a new album…in July you´d focus on mixing/mastering and preparing campaigns” and so on and so on…Make your projects a monthly goal, or as I like to call them, a themepark…that you can get lost in and really dive deep and come up with dedicated results!

Daily HIT (High Intensity Tasks)

Aside from your monthly projects (that are often specific one time projects), there are certain areas of your artist life, that require daily devotion. This applies basically to all skill-building, practical goals. In other words, skills that you want to build or maintain and that demand a certain amount of practice every day. Such goals could spell out as “improving your guitar play”,  “maintaining your vocal range”, “learning a new language” etc.! You get the idea!

To keep you engaged, I recommend slicing things down into mini sessions. Sometimes as little as 10 min a day of guitar practice is worth more than an hour at the weekend. It is all about consistency with skills. I call these short, but intense, focused sessions HIT (deriving from High Intensity Training in sports of course, but I adjusted the term to High Intensity Tasks). Schedule in 10 min of guitar practise a day and another 15 min of vocal exercises and you are good to go!

Guess what! You could make those commitments one of your three daily goals!  😉 Check!

Let go of your frustrations

One last tip! Staying motivated requires for you to have a good amount of positive energy and a happy mindset! Therefore, do not be too hard on yourself, if you do not always reach your goals! Instead, acknowlegde that you might want too much too soon, or are just not ready to perform as much as you think you should!

Being hard on yourself only creates negative thoughts and will drag you down even more! It is hard to motivate yourself, if you feel like a loser.

Be aware, that you are loveable and perfect as you are, even if you fail at getting things done! It is ok to fail! We all do! It doesn´t mean you are a loser at all! It just means, the tasks on your list are not your top priority, or something is holding you back from chasing your dreams just yet. If you want to change that, make it your priority to establish better mindsets and structures to get you through your day with ease!

I noticed that doubling down on my expectations and planning in less in a day, resulted in me getting more done at the end of the week! This is in my opinion largely due to the positive mindset I maintain and to allowing myself to indulge in recreational time and pleasure a lot!

An extra goodie: Some tools to help you stay on top of things 

In order to implement the tips I just lay out, I recommend planning all your daily and monthly goals either in excel spreadsheets or specific project management tools like Trello or One Note or the like.

I personally use “Meistertask” which allows me to create various taskboards. You can create tags of all kinds (I usually work with tags to show me who far in I am with my to do´s…e.g. 50% done, 75 % done).  I will list my weekly To do´s in one column, and then shift three tasks to the 3 Goals of the day board each morning.

For accountability you can invite a friend to monitor and control your progress and keep you motivated and engaged! 😉 Or you might even assign tasks to them, if you need help with something!

When you plan your tasks, make sure to always schedule in extra time for  recreation / self-reflection / doing sweet nothings or being creative! Watching educational or inspirational videos is not a waste of time, guys! It only is, if you watch one too many! 😉

I personally limited my consumption to only watching one educational video a day and maybe one motivational in addition! Alongside one Yoga with Adriene video that is, because taking care of my body is a priority for me!

Inspiration is the best motivation! It provides you with the right energy to produce and shine! Schedule these kind of things in as mandatory!

Hope these tips help you step up your game and feel good about yourself! Leave us a comment below!

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