How Singers are Getting Super Productive!Nov 13, 2023
Let's get stuff done. A few weeks ago I asked what the singers in our Singers Success Path Mastermind needed help with the most, and I was really surprised to hear that the biggest issue people have is actually just executing on ideas and getting things done. So productivity, accountability, taking action, and finishing things, let's go.
It’s maybe second least sexy topic next to Search Engine Optimization, but it’s almost the most important topic because if we’re not productive, if we don’t produce, we don’t see a return. So here goes productivity tips for vocalists.
One of the big secrets behind productivity is making sure you have gas in your tank to fuel that drive! So, kind of counterintuitive, but the best way to show up and get the work done is to make sure you’re not showing up too much. Taking breaks is essential.
I’m a mega idea factory and I get really excited to do all the things. I’m like a little kid on a sugar high running up the walls and then I absolutely crash! So yesterday I went to the beach, and as I'm sitting there, high on ideas and overthinking, an Osprey, just like an asteroid, bombs it into the water, somewhat struggles to flap its big wings to escape the waves with a nice big fish.
What was I talking about? Exactly. Suddenly I realize the thoughts are gone, the ideas have filed themselves away, and nothing in the world matters but this moment of beauty watching a seahawk living it’s beautiful little life. And I’m back. I’m back in my body, returned from the ethers of busy-ness, lists, and stress. Breaks ready us to do our work from a focused and intentional energy. Otherwise we can be a bit haywire, rushed, and in the weeds.
But we do still need to return to our work once break is over. Until you hold yourself accountable to clock into work and execute on your goals, you’re just a hobbyist, not a business owner. You absolutely can be a business owner. It’s amazing how easy launching our singing business is compared to something like opening a restaurant. We barely have any overhead, and with a home studio, you get to write off part of your rent or mortgage as office space on your taxes.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, and it occurred to me, I’m kind of a slow reader. so check this out, I said to myself, “well then just read faster.” Uhh, ok… so i just did. Seriously try to read faster, and you just will. Just do it, like Nike.
My brother had one of those Wii video game systems, and did a yoga class on it. He told me he can’t touch his toes from a standing position. Well, he was standing on the yoga mat, reaching down, almost all the way but not quite, and the stupid Wii thing says, “reach further.” And it blew his mind that he could! He just reached further, and there he was touching his toes.
I could own being a slow reader. He could own not being able to touch his toes. Or, we just do the thing. It’s so funny. So, if you want to do anything… you can just do it.
First step is deciding that you are going to do something. Then you create your Master Plan. List every task that lies between step one and end goal, prioritize the list chronologically in order of importance, and then just focus on the next step, only.
When I’m beginning a new project, I have a very intentional brain storm session where I create this Master Plan, and then once my order of operations is created, I hide it from myself. I only pull it out when I’m scheduling my week. I plan my week by putting the next few tasks on my schedule, so depending on how large the tasks are, I only assign a reasonable amount of work per day. It’s even nice to subdivide tasks so you get to enjoy more dopamine hits the more things you get to cross off the list!
Having a Master Plan for a project makes me feel at ease. It definitely relieves stress, and releases that scattered feeling. So i’m going to give you a rapid fire list of productivity tips to help you when you’re actually doing the work! Here they are:
- Monthly focus: When i was doing so many projects at once, like sync albums, splice sample packs, acapellas, an ebook… etc. I found it easier to have one focus per month- that also gave me a deadline. I needed the one project to be done by the end of the month.
- Deadlines: Give yourself deadlines, but set realistic ones. If you get in the habit of pushing your deadlines, it’s basically like they don’t exist.
- 54321: I even use this to get myself out of bed cuz i could wake up and then just daydream for an hour and not get up. When it’s time to begin, when you’re staring at the screen, or getting distracted and procrastinating “starting,” try counting down from 5 and then start.
- Time logging: Write down what time you start working and on what, and then write when you stop that task. It feels good to see how quickly we can actually get things done when we measure it.
- Tomorrow's plan: Writing tomorrows plan the night before is a really big one, it really helps to start your day just ready to go and not in that weird figuring it out mode. It’s a solid energy, you can begin the day with conviction.
- Delete tasks: Oooo this is massive. When you’re staring at that Master Plan, ask yourself what can you remove. What’s really unnecessary? If you don’t like this idea cuz you think everything is really that important, if you’re doing this on a website like Monday.com, Trello, or Asana, you can always move “potentially deletable tasks” to a separate section labeled, “Someday,”.. Priority level: low. You can refer back to it later, or it might become your task graveyard. There are always extra tasks that are just not necessary right now. Copyrighting is one of them, you only need to copyright a song if you feel like sometime in the future you will have to sue someone for stealing your song. Copyrighting just gives you extra proof you own it. I recently deleted putting a chat bot on my website, it’s just not that important to do right now compared to the other things on my list. I think about the Pareto principle with this as well, also known as the 80/20 rule, 80% of results come from 20% of the causes. That might mean that only 20% of what’s on your to-do list is really that impactful to your big goal, so focus on executing tasks by order of importance rather than by what you could just get done quickly.
- The two-minute rule: if a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, do it immediately and don’t even put it on your list.
- Eat the frog: This concept by Brian Tracy tells us to tackle the most unpleasant or most difficult task first thing in the morning. I actually saw a boutique gym named Eat the Frog, that’s kinda funny. If we don’t eat the frog, it means we’re possibly focusing on the less important tasks. Always double check that you have your priorities right.
- Inventory meeting: Stacy Tuschl's Well Oiled Operations book helped me greatly with this. I have an inventory meeting with myself every so often to check in with how work is going. Asking myself things like what is working, what is not working, where am I placing most of my attention - this was an eye opener for me because I realized I was focusing too heavily on marketing, and less on profitability. I saw that I actually make more money when I release new acapella licenses more often as opposed to when I send out more newsletter emails. So this is kind of like your analytics meeting. This is where you can decide on things to delete. I was making cute before and after videos of songs I did with clients, and while people loved them at first, they got bored of them and i got less engagement after a while, so I stopped making those videos. This is also where you can get real with yourself and call yourself out on what you’re avoiding. What tasks have been sitting on your list the longest? Why do you think that is? Should you delete them or should they be the first thing you do tomorrow morning?
- Hide the phone: Put the phone in the other room when you’re starting. Close any programs on your computer you’re not using for this task.
- Removing social media: Ouch this is a weird one. Especially if you use social media to promote your business. I do often delete instagram from my phone only to reinstall it later that week cuz something doesn’t work on the website. But I try to delete social media from my phone and then have an intentionally scheduled time to go online and respond to DMs and comments. I do use a scheduler called Metricool that has the ability to see all my inboxes in one place, so for the most part I don’t even need to go to the social media websites themselves.
- Pomodoro technique: This concept has you time block only 25 minutes to a task then take a break. Working in short bursts can improve focus. I also read about the something called the Zeigarnick effect which is tasks that get interrupted, you actually remember those tasks better, so when you return to work you may also be more efficient. This isn't my fav, I don’t know, I personally feel like starting is the hardest part, so if I’ve got the ball rolling I don’t want to stop it while it’s rolling, so I just finish it all the way to the end.
These are all suggestions, right? We are all motivated differently, so it's ok that some of these things are not for everyone. My boyfriend likes to work by sitting in a relatively uncomfortable chair, he says it keeps him focused. I like to be comfy while I work. To each is own.
So that’s a pretty good batch of tips, but if we go into too many tips we might even be procrastinating at some point. Hah! Procrastination is sneaky. Busy-ness can be procrastination disguised as productivity, so be careful and really ask yourself, “am I really being productive, or am I just being busy?”
Now, what can you get done by the end of today? What can you get done by the end of the week? Get to it! And feel free to join the next SSP Live Mastermind call first Fridays of the month by signing up at singerssuccesspath.com. See you soon!
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