What they really mean is they’re not keeping tabs on what you’re up to online, and it’s likely because they’re leading busy lives themselves, where checking up on you is not at the top of their priority list.
These comments only come from friends or family, so of course they’re not completely out of the loop. They know the kind of person you are as well as the kind of work you engage in. They’re probably not completely up to date with your projects, but they have some idea of what you’re up to from the time they talked with you three years ago.
But blogs, podcasts, videos, social media posts, etc. are not how they communicate. Likely, they are very “analog.” They use the internet, and they’re probably experts at sending texts, but they like to have most of their conversations on the phone or in person. Otherwise, they can’t be bothered.
This isn’t a problem to be solved, per se, but if you want to keep in touch with these friends, you must approach the issue from another angle. More web-based updates are not going to help them get “in the loop.” It’s an exercise in futility, and it can be frustrating for us internet natives.
This is where physical items, like cards, newsletters, or books come in. Besides the “cliché” but nevertheless welcome art of sending birthday and Christmas cards, print newsletters can be a great way to keep your friends in the know – especially if you have many updates to share.
And, if like me, you’re frequently publishing new books, you can find favor with your friends by sending them your new creations.
Whoever said you could “do it all online” got it completely wrong. Some of your best friends and closest family members have no clue what’s going on in your life unless you’re making the effort to let them know. The same goes for some of your prospects and customers.
At the risk of sounding salesy, it’s lovingly strategic to spread your message the old-fashioned way. By sending physical goods to your friends and family, you’ll naturally:
Generate more referrals and business
Tap into word of mouth
Encourage more sharing and participation
Attract collaborators and investors
Yes, there’s a cost to sending postal mail. But in the long run, it benefits you and those around you more than you might assume.
So, the next time someone says, “I’m Not on Facebook,” ask them for their mailing address and promptly send them your pamphlet, magazine article, new CD, or otherwise.
A student of mine recently came to me with a bit of a conundrum.
Her week was starting to fill up fast with various calls and meetings, on top of her regular business duties and work schedule. With the sheer volume of activity, she was now facing, she wasn’t confident she’d be able to maintain her well-being, especially as she was used to taking two days off per week, usually in succession.
I acknowledged the urgency of the situation, but first, I asked her to humor me and share with me what her daily activity was like.
What I started to see was that even with everything she’d taken on, she would still be able to take two days off per week. It just wouldn’t be one after another.
“You can take Tuesdays off,” I offered. And at first, she wasn’t too fond of the idea, because that would mean one day off, one day on, one day off, and four days on. But ultimately, she couldn’t argue with the feasibility or practicality of it. “You’d still be able to take two days off and meet all your weekly commitments,” I explained. And she could see the wisdom in that.
As we seek to nail down our weekly schedules, we certainly can’t ignore our well-being. When we’re pushing too hard and start to feel exhausted, we need to acknowledge that what we’re doing is unsustainable and to begin to look for other ways of meeting our commitments.
Starting with the end in mind can be quite helpful. If you know you want two days off, or even three days off per week, you can often find a way. It might mean moving some meetings around, or making requests of your team, but once you separate the emotion from the practicality of it, you start to see that you can really set up your schedule however you want!
And this isn’t just about your well-being. It’s also about consistency. Consistency is easy when you have a routine. Much harder when you’re all over the map.
You need to be clear on what it is you’re trying to accomplish each week. And if you’re goal oriented, it really is about focusing on the needle movers. Don’t get sucked into the black hole of putting out fires. Put out the fires, yes. But be sure the identify the urgency of the situation before calling a spark a fire.
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.
Our heads fill with ideas that actively excite us. If we could, we’d dive right into working on them today.
Then reality sets in. And we’re cast into our daily responsibilities, chores, errands, and of course, work.
The life of a creative or creator isn’t all that glamorous once you realize that creativity often happens in the margin of life, if at all.
But if we can distinguish productivity from priority, we can unleash the idea machine in a more organized manner.
The Anatomy of a “Productive” Day
Tell me if you’ve had days that have gone something like this:
You wake up, make your bed, and get a few minutes of exercise in before meditating.
You’ve got a few urgent emails to answer, so after breakfast, you process your messages. You also check your phone, answer voicemails, respond to texts, and do your usual rounds on social media.
Afterwards, you’ve got a little bit of work to do, so you hop on your computer, put in your remote hours, have lunch, and finish up for the day.
Now it’s time for a little bit of creative work. Finally. So, you work on a song. Or write a poem. Or read a few Photoshop tips online.
After about an hour of that, you have supper, write a blog post, do another round on social media, update your website, answer emails, and wrap up the day by reaching out to your collaborators.
This all sounds very productive. But is it?
Getting Many Things Done isn’t Productivity
If any part of this sounds judgmental, know that I have had many days that have gone exactly as described.
I did this, that, and the other. I got a lot done. To-do items got checked off. Tasks got completed. Emails got answered.
But I’d still finish the day hyper aware of the projects I’d never gotten around to. The things I’d identified as being closest to my identity. The creative pursuits that would bring the greatest results, joy, or fulfillment.
Somehow, those things just weren’t getting done. They were always relegated to tomorrow.
I’d have the odd day where I’d make big progress on things that mattered to me, but I wasn’t consistent.
The way most people approach productivity is to see how much they can accomplish on a given day, week, month, or year.
And I promise you, it’s possible to get a lot done in a year. I feel like I’ve lived that year over and over since discovering Steve Pavlina’s article, Do It Now – the same post I suggest everyone read if they want a crash course in productivity.
I’ve written 365 songs in a year. I’ve launched two books in a year. And I’m smack dab in the middle of publishing daily blog posts for a full year (today is day 142).
But this is where quotes like the following are thoroughly unhelpful:
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years. – Bill Gates
Do you even have a 10-year vision for what’s possible? I would venture to guess you’re in the top 2 to 3% of the population if you do.
Most of us are in the moment. Worried about whatever we’re worried about. Thinking about how the money is going to come in. And so forth.
It’s okay if you’re not seeing 10 years ahead. Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck(affiliate link) even says we shouldn’t obsess over the extraordinary or try to become like them.
What I’m saying is this:
If getting a lot done is the point, then there’s nothing wrong with this approach. But if the point is to get the right things done, then it’s critical we revise our method.
How to Prioritize Your Priorities
It’s okay if you can’t see 10 years ahead. What you need to identify are the projects that are important but not urgent.