Power Outages

Power Outages

It’s amazing how little things can break your routine.

Today, while on a video call with my team, I experienced a power outage. Naturally, the internet doesn’t work without power, so I was dropped from the call.

That happened at about 10:45 AM. Something told me the lights would come back on at 11:30 AM.

In the meantime, I fired off a few texts, at which point one of my friends called me and we had a pleasant conversation for about 15 minutes.

I took a moment or two to lay in bed, and wouldn’t you know it, the power came back on at 11:30.

I thought my team had all but dropped off themselves, but the marathon meeting continued until almost 2 PM. It was productive and encouraging.

It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go as expected. When you already have your day planned out, you might even feel like God, or the universe is against you.

But the alternate plan is sometimes better than what you think is your primary plan. So, go with the flow and see what you discover.

How to Set Up Your Music Career Routine

How to Set Up Your Music Career Routine

My business coach, James Schramko, taught me the importance of routine.

Routine requires forethought. And it takes discipline to keep to. But when done correctly, it can be your best productivity tool. I’m a big believer in that.

As I’ve been going through a yearlong leadership program, my routine has been looking quite a big different than it used to. The biggest change is more calls and meetings. Most of these happen at predictable times, some are subject to change, and some only happen once.

To give you a bit of an idea, here’s an overview of this week’s meeting and call schedule:

Monday, 8:00 – 8:45 AM: Program related meeting
Monday, 9:00 – 9:30 AM: Program related breakout meeting
Monday, 10:00 – 10:30 AM: Side business meeting
Tuesday, 9:00 – 9:30 AM: Program related breakout meeting
Tuesday, 4:30 – 5:00 PM: Program related breakout meeting
Tuesday, 6:00 – 9:00 PM: Program related training opportunity
Wednesday, 9:00 – 9:45 AM: Program related team meeting
Wednesday, 7:00 – 7:45 PM: Program related team meeting
Thursday, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Side business meeting
Thursday, 12:30 – 1:00 PM: Program related coaching call
Thursday, 2:00 – 2:30 PM: The Singer-Songwriter Summit presentation
Friday, 10:45 – 11:15 AM: Program related colleague call
Friday, 12:00 – 12:45 PM: Program related team meeting
Friday, 7:00 – 9:45 PM: Program related meeting
Saturday, 8:30 – 9:30 AM: Program related clinic
Saturday, 10:00 – 11:00 AM: Program related team meeting

Sounds kind of intense, right? And that’s because the program I’m taking is intensive.

I would love to say that I always get up at a consistent time or that everything happens at a specific time in my schedule. That’s not how things are working right now. But I have created some order in the chaos to keep me on track. I have certain days reserved for certain activities. And here’s what that looks like:

  • Monday: Work on my book first thing in the morning. Most of Monday is dedicated to setting myself up for success for the rest of the week. That might mean writing multiple blog posts, outlining client blog articles, communicating with team members, preparing for meetings, and the like.
  • Tuesday: Work on my book first thing in the morning. Tuesday morning is dedicated to audio content (podcast, members only audios, etc.). The afternoon is spent developing the client blog articles I was assigned.
  • Wednesday: Work on my book first thing in the morning. Most of the day is spent developing client blog articles, but I also take ad hoc meetings (e.g., podcast interviews) on Wednesdays.
  • Thursday: Work on my book first thing in the morning. Overall, same as Wednesday. I will usually leave Thursday nights open for something fun, like games night with friends.
  • Friday: Work on my book first thing in the morning. Finish odds and ends – blog articles, blog updates, additional content, ad hoc projects, Elite Players: All Access Pass updates, making music, and so on.
  • Saturday: Create weekly digest, publish it, and send it out to email list(s).
  • Sunday: Don’t do anything!

So, even if organized chaos is what you’re facing right now (been there), you can at least create themes for your days. And that helps you make progress in the areas that matter every single week.

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.

With New Eyes

With New Eyes

Having returned to Abbotsford from a two-week trip to Calgary, I am seeing everything with new eyes.

I’m beginning to appreciate my humble basement suite more. And somehow, it looks different to me.

I’ve often stressed the importance of changing your environment and shaking up your routine.

But on this occasion, I’m the one that’s been left pleasantly surprised by the results.

Without context, appreciation can prove a challenge. Sometimes, we need more context. And context can certainly come from a two-week working vacation.

Fried

Fried

Fried.

That’s been the theme of the day.

Several of my classmates have said they feel this way.

And it’s hardly surprising. Our course officially began last weekend, and before we knew it, we were plunged into a long week of calls, meetings, and training. To say nothing of our daily lives, commitments, and work in general.

I feel a bit fried myself. Even though I’ve basically kept to a minimum viable routine. There hasn’t really been time for extras.

Fried meme

But this is what expansion looks like.

And my guess is, by the end of next week, we’ll have found our footing in this new program.

As some of my classmates have said, “it gets better by the day.”

Speaking of training, I have a classroom in about 40 minutes. So, this is what I’ve got for you today.

For more inspiration, be sure to sign up for my email list.

Master This & You Will be a Productivity God

Master This & You Will be a Productivity God

Productivity tricks and hacks are of little worth if you don’t have one thing figured out already – your routine.

Your routine is bar none the best productivity tool at your disposal. If you have yet to recognize it as such, it’s time for closer examination.

Christian singer-songwriter Mike Murdock said:

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

The things you do, as well as the things you don’t do, speak volumes of what you will ultimately accomplish in this lifetime.

The things you do, as well as the things you don’t do, speak volumes of what you will ultimately accomplish in this lifetime. Click To Tweet

What to Include in Your Daily Routine

When it comes to forming an effective daily routine, you must triage mercilessly.

No matter who you are, and no matter what level you operate at, 20% of your effort creates 80% of your results.

This isn’t to say the other 80% is wasted effort, but it certainly pales in comparison to the 20% that’s creating all the results.

What this suggests is that you can assign a value to everything you do. If you aren’t sure what’s driving results, the Effectiveness Diagnostic is a tool worth utilizing, and one you should return to periodically too.

Now, our tendency will always be to think in terms of work and work only.

But who’s to say Thursday night Netflix binges aren’t fueling you up, giving you the energy and inspiration, you need to engage in Friday meetings?

See, productivity isn’t just about getting more done. At least not at a high level. It’s also about optimal performance – being able to bring your best self to everything you do.

Productivity is about optimal performance – bringing your best self to everything you do. Click To Tweet

If a specific activity gives you energy, and it contributes to all other areas of life – physical, relational, spiritual, and so on – then it’s worth keeping in your routine.

Keeping Accountable to Your Routine

If you scheduled in three workouts last week, and you followed through on all of them, then we know you’re making positive progress with regards to your health.

Three workouts aren’t going to change your life. But the results stack over time, and that’s the secret of all daily habits.

For instance, one daily blog post turns into 365 over the course of a year if you’re publishing daily. And that’s 365 new opportunities to connect with your audience you didn’t have before.

Once you have a routine in place, you need to follow through on it. And oftentimes, that is the hardest part.

But you’ve also got to keep in mind that you’re the one making the rules. If your routine isn’t serving you, you’re serving it, and that’s the opposite of what systems are for.

Whenever something doesn’t work, instead of beating yourself up, simply acknowledge what didn’t work and put a new structure in place.

Whenever something doesn’t work, instead of beating yourself up, simply acknowledge what didn’t work and put a new structure in place. Click To Tweet

On some level, we tend to think beating ourselves up harder and better will make the difference this time, when that is – in my observation – never the case. There is no breakthrough in behavioral modification.

The only breakthrough is in discovering what you don’t see right now (your blind spots). And that often requires an outside perspective.

The only breakthrough is in discovering what you don’t see right now. And that often requires an outside perspective. Click To Tweet

Iterating on Your Routine

The best routine is one that’s sustainable for a virtual eternity.

The best routine is one that’s sustainable for a virtual eternity. Click To Tweet

Many people try to do too much, and don’t share in responsibilities or delegate enough.

As result, their schedule is overloaded from the moment they begin. If they were to take on one more project, their life would quickly turn to organized chaos.

First, it’s important to recognize that unscheduled time isn’t a sin. Just as a blank canvas beckons, you can leave space in your life for spontaneity, and even have time available for a project you desire to take on.

Second, you need a mental model to determine what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. If you’re just getting started, then you will deal out your share of yesses, but as your project quiver grows, you’ll need to begin saying “no.”

And, to call it a mental model would be an exaggeration. What you need is a gut instinct. A primal response. “Hell yeah!” or “no.”

Stop saying “yes” to anything you’re less than stoked to take on.

More importantly, keep iterating on your routine. As noted, some routines may not be workable over the long haul. Closely examine whatever you’re giving your time to, and pay attention to whether it adds to your quality of life.

Closely examine whatever you’re giving your time to, and pay attention to whether it adds to your quality of life. Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

Once you have your routine sorted out, you can begin implementing additional productivity hacks. Until then, it’s like trying to solve the entire puzzle when all you need to do is connect the first piece.

Self-mastery isn’t necessarily easy, and it does require discipline. But the benefits are enormous.

If you have a sustainable routine that you’ve been living by for more than a year, I can already guess with a fair bit of accuracy that you have a fulfilling, happy, enjoyable life.

Routine may seem boring at first. But when you experience just how powerful it is, you’ll internalize and appreciate its value as you never have before.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician