We hear it all the time or say it ourselves, “I’ve just been so busy!” or “I just need more time” but is anyone really that busy and what if we did have more time? Would we really accomplish more or actually get things done?
If Carl Cox and John Digweed have enough time to run a label and radio station and still come out with new music while touring the world and Donald Trump can find time to rant on Twitter and play golf, then maybe you aren’t managing your time effectively. We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in the week. Even if you work 10 hours a day and 7 days a week, you can sleep for 6, work out for an hour, and play basketball for another hour and still have another 8 hours left.
When we are juggling multiple projects and life situations, we tend to spend more time thinking about them than actually doing them. You have to get to the studio, you have to get to the doctor, you have to go get groceries, then you might have to go walk the dog and then call your girlfriend or try to find a girlfriend. When we are overwhelmed with things to do, we spend more time thinking about them and less time actually doing them.
A productivity consultant and expert by the name of David Allen came up with a time management method referred to as GTD or Getting Things Done. This is the idea of taking planned tasks and projects out of one’s mind and then notating them and breaking them down into actions. By doing this, you spend more time getting things done rather thinking about getting them done.
There are many tools that exist to help you better manage your time and get things done. The first step is to get everything you need to do out of your head. This can be done the old fashioned way with pen and paper or by using notepad or you can use a very handy app for organizing notes called OneNote. OneNote allows you to categorize and organize all your notes by colors and then allows you to create sub-tasks as well as collaborate and share your notes with others.
It is best to write down literally everything you have to do for the day or week. Whether it is have lunch with a friend or visit the studio or buy milk or pay a bill, get it all out of your head so that you aren’t trying to remember it all. Then organize it into work and home or even break it down into making music, touring, things to do at home, travel and leisure or however you like. Once you have everything you have to do for the day or week organized into different categories, start breaking it down even further.
It doesn’t matter if it something you have to do right now, a month from now, or years from now. It is best to just get everything out of your head so that you don’t have to think about it or worry about it too much. This also allows you to create both short-term and long-term goals and take actionable steps to achieve these goals. Once you have everything that you can possibly think of that you need to do, start organizing it into separate projects. One project might be an upcoming EP, another might be an upcoming tour, and one might be grocery shopping or a trip to Amsterdam.
One good program and app that can help you organize all your notes is called Todoist. With Todoist, you can set due dates and organize projects into sub-categories and mark each off once they are completed.
Another great project management tool is Asana which also allows you to create separate projects and tasks and organize them into various categories. Asana is great for collaboration between a team and multiple parties such as labels, agencies, managers, and artists. Asana gives you a clear view of what everyone is working on and sends you email reminders for due dates as well as for assignments. With Asana you can also add followers to each task and project as well as files and attachments and even likes and comments.
Although Asana is great for project management and to get things done, it isn’t necessarily going to be used for everyday activities or anything that is not work-related. Therefore it is best to use both Todoist and Asana in order to best manage both your work projects as well as your projects at home. You can then add all your work projects in Todoist along with your home projects and then you and whoever you are collaborating with can add further details to each project in Asana.
Once you have everything jotted down and categorized and organized, start setting due dates for each project and task. This will set deadlines for each task to get done and allow you to track your progress. It is best to look at what you can get done within the next few minutes or that day first and then take care of those tasks first. Why worry about something you have to do a few days from now or weeks from now or next month when you should be worrying about what you can get done now?
Todoist will also remind you of everything you have to do for the day as well as what is due and past due. The first thing you should do however, is make a list of everything you have to do for the week on Sunday and then continuously add projects or tasks as they come. This will allow you to stay organized and get things accomplished much quicker and efficiently. You’ll also be able to see your progress and how far along you are to accomplishing your goals.
Once you’ve gotten through everything you can do now then focus on what you want to be doing in the future. Maybe you want to play in South America this year, maybe you want to release a new album, maybe you want to secure new management. Even if you have goals that may seem far off like starting your own business or securing a multi-million dollar deal, it is good to still jot these down and create tasks and steps necessary to accomplish these goals.
No matter how much or little time you have, it is always best to spend your time taking action rather than sitting around thinking or talking about what you should do or need to do. By clearly laying out and organizing everything you can be doing right now as well as what you want to be doing in the future, you will manage to spend less time thinking about what needs to be done and actually doing it!