299 – Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook

299 – Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook

So, you probably heard about it. But you may have asked yourself what it’s about and why you should care.

At Music Entrepreneur HQ, we have the “getting it together,” “getting it done,” and “getting it out there” tracks, and this new work covers almost everything you could possibly want to know about “getting it done,” which can contribute greatly to knocking down the dominos of “getting it together” and “getting it out there.”

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, David shares candidly about the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:00 – Consider it a miracle…
  • 01:11 – A 20-year-old that was struggling to organize his mail
  • 02:04 – In the last 14 years…
  • 02:43 – What’s the big deal about getting things done?
  • 03:06 – Questions to ask yourself
  • 04:00 – The magic of “the night before vacation” checklists
  • 05:21 – Who is David to talk about productivity?
  • 06:55 – What can you expect from the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook
  • 07:52 – Testimonials
  • 10:10 – Closing thoughts


  • Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook: The first of its kind – David’s new premium book covering productivity for artists, featuring content from Music Entrepreneur HQ, his personal blog, his many books, and even Start Your Year the Right Way, which is included in its entirety. Be fully unleashed in accomplishing your dreams and desires!


Record labels don’t want you to hear what I have to say. Even other musician coaches don’t want you to know who I am. That’s because I can wake you up, help you take your power back, and help you crush your goals without taking advantage of the traditional music industry system. I am the most suppressed and discredited musician coach out there, even though I have nothing but happy clients and results to show for my work.

Consider it a miracle that you are seeing this now or you’re listening to this now because rest assured there are forces preventing you from being able to access this information, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep this video up, so don’t click away. Now is the time to watch.

The Story of the 20-Year-Old That Struggled with Organizing His Mail

Let me share something with you. I knew a 20-year-old kid who was struggling to open his mail, pay his bills, file everything in a folder, and shut his drawer. He was absolutely convinced that there was no way that he could ever be as organized as the other people that he looked up to. And this reality made him unbelievably emotional.

Now, if you had told him that he could open his mail, create action steps, pay his bills, file everything away into the appropriate folders, and shut his drawer in 10 to 15 minutes, he would not have believed you even for a second.

Well, here’s a little secret. That 20-year-old, it was me. In the last 14 years, I’ve consistently been the guy who people ask, “How the hell do you get it all done?” But you would’ve never expected that from me 10, 20 years ago.

The Power of Going at Your Own Pace

One of the things that changed my life was reading Steve Pavlina’s article, Do It Now. When anyone asks me what the first step is in being more productive and accomplishing their goals in life is it’s reading Do It Now by Steve Pavlina. That was in 2007, and I have been on a consistent personal development routine ever since.

And you might ask yourself, well, what’s the big deal about getting things done? And why in the world would I want to be more productive?

Author Peter Drucker said:

Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.

So, managing your time is crucial to you creating the life you love through music, art, and creativity.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself

So, let me ask you a few questions:

  • Do you have a long list of things to do at the end of the day, and does that stress you out?
  • Does it seem like you never get around to the projects that matter, like making music?
  • Do you feel like there are people around you who always seem to get more done than you do? And does that make you feel worse about yourself?

Trust me when I say you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. But let me guess. You’ve tried a bunch of stuff from the past and it probably didn’t work out for you, am I right?

You’ve got to surrender your experiences and leave them in the past where they belong. We can’t move forward in our lives when we’re held down by a crushing weight of past traumas, failures, challenges, obstacles, and difficulties. And guaranteed, what I’m here to share with you is different.

Using the “Night Before Vacation” Checklist Method to Boost Your Productivity

Now, let me share a quick tip with you because you could have a breakthrough right here, right now in your personal productivity if this isn’t something you’re already doing consistently.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in my productive life was learning how to create and use to-do lists.

Back in the day, I listened to The Science of Self-Confidence by motivational speaker, Brian Tracy, and he talked about how the night before people go on vacation, they make a big checklist of things they need to do before they leave, whether that’s washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or packing their bags.

And he mentioned how even if it seems as though people didn’t really have the time to do those things, somehow miraculously they would get them done if they had a list in front of them and they tackled the items one by one.

So, my to-do lists always help keep me on track. It’s nothing crazy. I use a yellow legal pad to create my to-do lists. But I do use the yellow legal pad in a very specific way, something I reveal in the book we’re talking about today. So, there are some nuances to making this to-do list thing work that you might not currently be aware of.

What has David Andrew Wiebe Accomplished?

But you might still be wondering, like, who am I? Who is this guy to talk about productivity? Unless he’s accomplished a bunch of stuff, can you really call yourself a productivity expert, especially if your work doesn’t bear it out?

Well, we’re not here to talk about me today, but I am going to offer a little bit of an overview of some of the things that I’ve been able to accomplish:

  • I’ve published 44 songs as a solo artist. That doesn’t include projects that I’ve guessed on as a guitarist, and as far as stuff that’s not published goes, I have hundreds of songs in my archives.
  • I’m an award-winning composer.
  • I have self-published seven books, and three have become Amazon or Kobo best-sellers, or both.
  • I’ve published thousands of blog posts, hundreds of videos, and hundreds of podcast episodes.
  • I’ve interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs, executives, professors, and musicians.

Sure, like anyone else, I’ve had the occasional flop. I am human and I still cringe at some of my older material. But by and large, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in the short time I’ve been on this green Earth.

And I haven’t even touched on the artwork I’ve produced or the speaking engagements that I’ve done, or the 10-plus years I’ve spent as a guitar teacher, or the 300 shows I’ve played across Western Canada.

Now I could go on, but you can be the judge of whether I am someone that you want to listen to. There are plenty of people who seem to feel I am a limitless fountain of creativity, but we’re going to get to that just a little later.

What to Expect from the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook

What can you expect from this book?

  • It’s over 70,000 words and over 270 pages. Word count isn’t everything. My goal really is to help you achieve breakthroughs quickly, and as fast as you possibly can, but it’s still nice to know what to expect, isn’t it?
  • There is some brand-new content in this book, but it also features an article compilation as well as excerpts from my many books.
  • And I’m not supposed to tell you this, but it does include excerpts from yet-unpublished books like Flashes of Elation, and The Renegade Musician, both of which are mostly done. Just looking for the right time to share them with you.
  • And because I believe in over-delivering, the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook also comes with the entirety of my fourth book, Start Your Year the Right Way.


But if you’re still asking yourself, “Okay, who is this guy to tell me what I should do?”

Here are a few testimonials, things people have had to say about this book (click here to see the testimonials):

  • Jonathan Ferguson
  • Patrick Zelinski
  • Taylor McPhail

Closing Thoughts

So, wherever you happen to be watching this right now, you should be able to find a link somewhere that tells you more about the book or takes you to the order page.

Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe. Do all the things. I’ll see you again soon.

Leave a rating and review for the show on Apple Music. It’s how we get the podcast out there!

There’s exclusive, premium audio content waiting for you inside Members Only Audios.

5 Productivity Essentials Every Musician Should Know

5 Productivity Essentials Every Musician Should Know

Productivity is the deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals. – Dan S. Kennedy

What follows is five productivity essentials every musician should know. That does not mean they are commonly taught. So, observe well – if any of this seems strange, it might be because only the most uncommon and successful people utilize these methods in their work.

Let’s remember, though, that success is uncommon, and you can’t do what everyone else is doing and hope to achieve a greater level of success than them. As you read, be in discovery of what you could be doing differently.

You can also gain access to unprecedented productivity through my Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

To-Do Lists

There are teachers out there urging us to throw away our to-do lists and to start doing business intuitively. Now, I don’t disagree – I half disagree.

I encourage my students to follow their intuition and make to-do lists.

Now, for to-do lists to be effective, you must be conscious of the items you’re adding (are they important, and do they need to be done?), and be diligent in prioritizing as well.

Otherwise, you get caught up in the vacuous momentum of checking off easy to do items and not engaging in the challenging work that will move your music career forward.

But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s as simple as that. To-do lists offer clarity around what you’re doing.

If you’re wondering whether you’re doing the right things, though, I cover that in the next section.

Takeaway: Your to-do lists make it clear what you’re working on and what must be done.

Documented Goals

A goal, however, is something distinctly different from a wish. It is clear, written, and specific. It can be quickly and easily described to another person. You can measure it, and you know when you have achieved it or not. – Brian Tracy

For as long as I can remember, I have been encouraging musicians to a) set goals, and b) document said goals using pen and paper. I continue to prescribe this regimen even today.

When our goals are unclear, when we’re unsure of the actions we’re taking and whether they’re in alignment with our goals, it’s because we don’t have clear, documented goals that are always visible in the environments we operate in.

Now, it’s okay to do away with SMART goals. I don’t have SMART goals myself. My life is organized in 90-day capsules. That means I take on four main initiatives each year.

I still make my goals as specific and measurable as possible, and I even put a deadline on them, but I’m less concerned with meeting the deadline than I am with being in action.

To reach your goals, What’s required is an environment conducive to commitment and accountability. Without that you will not put my best effort forward.

Whether it’s a coach, a mastermind group, a leadership program, or some other avenue, you will only be effective in reaching your goals (or coming close) to the extent that you have rigorous accountability.

Takeaway: Documented goals make it possible for your to align your actions with your intentions.


There exists an opportunity to create templates in a variety of domains – lyric sheet templates, email templates, Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) templates, and more.

What are templates for? They are time-saving devices for repetitive tasks. Whether it’s outreach (for booking a gig), or writing a blog post, you can have pre-crafted structures that prevent you from reinventing the wheel and empower you to be more efficient overall.

We’re creatives, so we vastly underestimate the value in increased efficiency, and far overvalue creating from scratch.

Here’s the harsh reality – time is all we have, and efficiencies return to us the precious time we need to rest, sleep, connect with family, meditate, work out, and do all the other things we say we don’t have time for.

Creativity can begin with a template, however uncreative that may sound.

Takeaway: Templates help you get started faster and finish earlier.


Like templates, checklists are vital time-saving devices.

Think of things you do repetitively – writing a new song, posting to social media, unloading your gear at a show… what else? Brainstorm. Every one of these things represents a void for a checklist to fill.

It would be accurate to say there are certain conventions you follow every time you engage in certain activities, wouldn’t it? This is “protocol,” where protocol is a fancy term to describe a “certain way of doing things.”

That’s what a checklist is for. It outlines (and sometimes describes) the exact steps involved in completing a specific task with pinpoint precision (such that anyone could follow the same steps and create the same outcomes).

In business, this falls under the category of “operations.” Operations makes the everyday activity of a business streamlined and more efficient – organizing meetings, technology, processes, and more.

Operations often occurs in the background, and people don’t always notice when it’s happening, but they definitely notice when it’s not happening because things start falling through the cracks.

Takeaway: Checklists stop you from having to think about every step involved in a process, increase efficiency, and help reduce unnecessary mistakes.

Swipe Files

… keep messy file folders stuffed with 3×5 notecards and napkins and torn matchbook covers where you’ve scrawled your thoughts. When it comes to nurturing creativity, neatness works against you. – John Carlton

Do you ever come across brilliant chord progressions, awesome song lyrics, or even killer email subject lines? Of course, you do, right?

And does it ever occur to you to capture this inspiration somewhere?

Sure, creating a playlist of your favorite music is not a bad place to start. But whatever we keep in constant view has a way of blending in with the background, never to shine as brightly as the first time we discovered it.

Your swipe file is the perfect place to capture all inspiration as it manifests. Understand well – I am not saying to copy or plagiarize. You don’t want to rip off a lyric and put it in your song.

But for all those times you feel uninspired, wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to turn to for some needed inspiration?

A swipe file is also a great place to store sales messages, stage banter, social media posts, and anything else that worked. Whenever you come across something that works, save it for later and take inspiration from it for new projects.

Takeaway: Capture all your inspiration in swipe files – handwritten scrawls on napkins, compelling sentences from magazine clippings, notes on the back of business cards, all of it. This forms the foundation of everything you create – songs, blog posts, emails, and more.


If you’re an ambitious musician, then you’ve surely had thoughts of being as prolific as artists like Frank Zappa, Tangerine Dream, or Miles Davis at times, haven’t you? I know I have.

So, what’s the pathway? How do you go about getting to where you want to go?

It’s not by sacrificing quality. You should learn to identify “good enough” in your efforts, sure, but the pathway is in setting up productivity processes that support and guide your activity every step of the way. Use the above as inspiration.

The Pareto Principle as Applied to Your Music Career To-Do List

The Pareto Principle as Applied to Your Music Career To-Do List

As I was getting started in personal development, one of the audio programs that made the biggest difference for me was Brian Tracy’s The Science of Self-Confidence.

In it, Tracy talks about how we always make a to-do list the night before leaving on vacation, and how we’re diligent in ticking off every task, ensuring all loose ends are tied up before we leave.

And then he asks, why don’t we do this in our daily lives? If it’s so effective in helping us identify and complete tasks we need to do before a trip, why don’t we make a list of everything we need to do in work and life the night before? If we treated it with the same importance that we treated our pre-vacation to-do list with, wouldn’t we be just as effective in completing errands, in our creativity, in work, and in life?

In his research, Tracy found that we accomplish 80% of what we write down. And in my own experience, this has proven true repeatedly.

This is the Pareto Principle (80/20) at work. I’ve talked about how it applies to your overall effectiveness many times, but if we look closely in other areas of life, we’ll see it at work everywhere.

Now, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of only 80% of your to-do items getting done, here’s what you need to know:

At times, you will achieve more than 80%. But you will often find that 20% of your tasks are unimportant, inconsequential, or simply don’t need to be done. Sometimes your big domino makes smaller ones irrelevant.

One more thing you should know about writing things down:

A few years ago, I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done. There are several productivity practices I’ve applied from that book that have stuck with me to this day.

One thing author Allen explains is that our brains are not great storage devices. With all the information we consume on a daily basis (texts, instant messages, emails, blog articles, podcasts, videos, and more), it’s a wonder our brains aren’t over-full already.

And while I understand that you’ve got a high IQ, good memory, and a rich inner life, you are prone to forgetting as much as anyone else. So, whether it’s goals, errands, or song ideas, I would encourage you to write everything down.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Setting Goals for Your Music Career

Setting Goals for Your Music Career

What if you begin your music career thinking you love music so much; you don’t care whether you get paid…

Only to realize one day you want to start making money from your passion…?

Or, what if you think you’re getting paid great money to do the work you love to do…

Only to realize you’ve got a long way to go to create the career and life of your dreams?

Dreaming Too Small

If there’s any doubt that the scenarios laid out above are made up, let me tell you…

This stuff happens all the time.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

Some musicians are perfectly content being able to make music and play the local bar. I’ve performed with some of those musicians once or twice myself.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. At all!

But there are also many musicians that one day wake up to see that they aren’t where they want to be.

Drummer Matt Starr was one of those musicians and I had a great conversation with him last year on episode 135 of my podcast. You can have a listen here (I DARE you to listen all the way through – it’s powerful):

Again, you can aspire to whatever level makes the most sense to you.

And that journey will be full of challenges and surprises

But I can tell you from experience it SUCKS to wake up one day to discover you’ve been dreaming much too small, because now you have less time to accomplish the things you now know you want to accomplish.

If You’re Going to be Setting Goals Anyway…

I used to listen to Brian Tracy’s The Science of Self-Confidence (affiliate link) religiously in my car.

One of the things he talks about is the fact that if you make to-do lists and use them, you will accomplish 80% of what’s on the list, every single time.

And you know what’s crazy?

I proved this to myself.

Not right away, but over time, I would look back on my to-do lists (generally I would make a new one every single week), to find that I had accomplished 80% of everything I had written down.

That’s right – I could literally go back, look over old to-do lists, and check items off, even if I had forgotten about them, or never got around to them when I originally intended to.

Much to my surprise, goal lists worked almost exactly the same way!

The point is simple.

If you’re going to set goals, set big goals. If you’re going to dream, dream big.

You won’t know what’s possible unless you stretch that dream muscle of yours.

Don’t Concern Yourself with the How or When

In 2011, I was introduced to Kevin Trudeau’s Your Wish is Your Command (affiliate link).

Now, say what you will about Trudeau. I’m not one of his disciples, but I have learned a thing or two from the man. That’s undeniable.

Anyway, as I began learning about the law of attraction, I had a bit of an “aha” moment.

Virtually everyone tells you to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely).

I’m not saying the system is flawed, but it never resonated with me, nor did it lead to desired results.

Trudeau says there are certain questions that let the air right out of your goal balloon. They are:

“How?” and “when?”

When we set big goals, our human tendency is to go to the negative.

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”

“I’m scared.”

“It’s overwhelming.”

That’s because we’re focused on the how. If we had faith in ourselves and the universe, we would know that abundance is everywhere, and all we need to do is focus on the “what” and the “why”.

As for when, as it turns out, we’re not that smart. Goals can be accomplished in a multitude of ways, and we never know what opportunities might cross our path. Goals might take longer or they might not take as long as you think. Rarely do they happen in the exact time frame we set for them.

Key point: How and when are goal killers.

Okay, so it’s Magic?

This is logically where our human brain leads us next.

“Okay, so the process works as if by magic. That means I don’t need to do anything!”

Again, nothing could be further from the truth.

Remember what I said: “your responsibility is the why.”

When you know why you want a certain thing, the motivation to get it naturally increases.

You think about it all the time. You can almost feel it.

You can’t have it go from the head to the heart, or more accurately, from the heart to the head (I’ll talk more about this another time), without it impacting your actions.

Your thoughts affect your feelings. Your feelings turn into actions. Your actions become habits. Your habits produce your reality.

Your thoughts affect your feelings. Your feelings turn into actions. Your actions become habits. Your habits produce your reality. Share on X


You Could Settle for Less

Or you could tap into your unlimited human capacity to dream, imagine, act, and manifest.

No, it doesn’t happen as if by magic.

Setting goals and achieving them is a process.

Meditation, dream boarding, journaling, and so on, are just tools that help us focus on the what and the why rather than the how or when.

And, if you find yourself asking how

A better question you could be asking is “who?”

Remember – we live on a planet of nearly eight billion people. Someone must have the answer, or at least be able to point you in the right direction.

There is a spiritual or philosophical aspect to goal setting.

But undoubtedly, there is a practical side to it too.

That’s why I wrote The Music Entrepreneur Code. You can learn more about it here.