027 – 6 Office Essentials for Music Entrepreneurs

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Podcast

Do you feel organized or frazzled? How are you keeping track of everything you need to do from week to week? Are you prioritizing the right tasks, or are you just working on things as they come?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I look at how to use a paper-based system to manage your workload and stay on top of important tasks. This process has helped me manage my priorities and assignments for the last two years.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – 6 office essentials for music entrepreneurs
  • 00:21 – Electronic system vs. paper-based system
  • 01:30 – #1 – pens
  • 01:45 – #2 – 4×6 index cards
  • 02:30 – #3 – notepad
  • 03:17 – #4 – desk calendar
  • 04:03 – #5 – black book
  • 04:36 – #6 – whiteboards
  • 05:31 – Bonus: note-taking device
  • 06:07 – What tools are you using to stay organized?


Set up your office for optimal productivityHi there. Today I wanted to talk about six office essentials for music entrepreneurs.

Now, if you already have a fully electronic system that you’re happy with, and it helps you manage your to-do lists, calendars, project management, I’m not asking you to radically alter the way you do things, but today I will be talking primarily about a paper-based system.

There is tremendous value in hard-copy backups. Earlier this year, my computer went haywire, so I lost the passwords I had stored in my browser, which meant that I had to go and restore my login information and go through the password recovery process in some cases to be able to log in to some of the apps and social media sites I use. So, that should speak to the value of hard-copy backups.

If you’d like to learn more about paper-based systems – this is primarily what I’ve based mine off – I’d encourage you to have a look at David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. There are a lot of great tips in there, and you don’t even have to apply all of it – he even tells you that in the book. It’s a great read.

So, the first item is something we all need – pens. It doesn’t matter what brand you choose. I like the 12-packs because they’re affordable and they’re going to last me the whole year. Pens are essential.

Number two is index cards. I prefer the 4×6 rather than the 3×5. I’ve been finding the 3×5 cards to be too small for what I was using them for. I’m not going to use up 250 in a year. But I use them for taking notes on the books I read. I read about a book per week, which is 52 books in a year. Every single one has an index card inside, and that’s where my notes are stored. Sometimes I will also use index cards to write down addresses and directions for where I’m going to.

Item number three is a yellow legal pad. Any note-taking device, notebook, or pad of paper will work just fine. This is for making your to-do lists. I used to make my to-do list on my index cards, and that worked for a while, but then my to-do list blew up and I had so many things to, and I couldn’t get it all down on one side of an index card. So, I ended up moving over to the yellow legal pad. You can use whatever works for you. Just remember to write down everything down everything you need to do, because your brain is a horrible storage system. It’s better to write it all down and then you will remember it.

Number four is a desk calendar. This tool is a life-saver. For anyone that has a busy schedule – I do many performances, I write a lot of blog posts for various clients and different companies – there are so many things on the go whether it’s social events or networking events. I put all of it in my calendar so I can see what’s coming up next. It’s easy to miss some of those things with digital calendars, especially if you have them in the weekly view instead of the monthly view. If you can see the full month, that’s fine. If you’re using Google Calendar or another digital calendar, that’s fine, but for me this works better.

Item number five is a black book. It does not have to be a literal black book, but this is where you would store all your sensitive login information for various sites. It’s best to keep it out of the way if people are coming to your office. If you want to put it in a safe, you can do that. In my case I use a Moleskine for my black book.

Finally, I have two whiteboards, one bigger one smaller. I don’t make the most effective use of this business tool, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish with them.  You can write out entire systems and procedure diagrams, take a picture, send them off to your employees or team to view. You can use them for conferences, talking head videos, presentations, brainstorming sessions. You can also use whiteboards to keep goals in front of you.

Those are six office essentials for music entrepreneurs. Another great thing to have is a note-taking device. But Evernote is great, and you can take it with you if you have your smartphone or tablet with you. You can also use a notebook if you prefer.

I hope you enjoyed this, and let me know what you’re using to stay organized.

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