By Ryan Powers
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the endless things we feel we need, and have to be doing to stay up with what we want to accomplish. There will be days that I accomplish a lot, and there will be days that I can barely keep up with anything. Days are always unpredictable, and I can literally drive myself crazy with thinking of things I need to do, get started, and finish. Instead of trying to get everything done at once, which is impossible but is an easy trap to fall in to, I try to break down what I need to do, and focus on specific areas on specific days.
For example, Mondays and Wednesdays, are for booking. Monday, I check up on all the venues in my city, see who is playing where, and look for any openings that would work for me. Also, I work on contacting new, out of town venues, and check on places I have played before. Then, giving a day in between for the venue/booker to get the chance to get to my email, on Wednesday, I follow up my emails from Monday, and make follow up emails/calls where necessary.
Tuesdays are for working on generating business contacts. For me, this means looking for booking agencies to submit to, looking for and trying to generate press contacts (for reviews, press, listings), and searching for “music business” people that work with music that falls in line with mine. I’ve always felt that it’s better to contact these people earlier in the week, before events from the upcoming weekend distract them or tie up their time.
Thursdays are for upcoming show promotion and working on artwork for posters/web/etc. This is a broad category day, because it covers everything from posting bulletins, events, writing emails for my mailing list, creating posters to post/advertise, etc. It all depends on how far off some of the shows are as to what needs to be done.
Fridays are my utility day. I usually end up following up on any loose ends, and double check on the shows I will be playing, or going to see, that weekend, and the weekdays of the following week.
My practice schedule floats in and out of there, and definitely takes over when the writing bug hits. In a nutshell, I just try to play/practice/write as much as possible, and unless I am preparing for a show, I keep that schedule pretty loose.
Of course there will be definite bleed over from day to day sometimes, but when my mind is racing with the 220 to 221 things I want/need to get done, I try to fall back on my daily template. Then, I accomplish at least one small thing, and I feel more focused. And then, before I know it, I’m rolling along and things that I’ve needed to do are slowly getting done. It also really helps me when I need to shift gears into writing. All of that other stuff is out of my mind and I can focus more.
Also, on a similar line of thought, I would be remiss if I didn’t share these words that a good friend of mine once told me:
“Do at least one thing a day. One thing. Of course you want to spend all day every day, working on this, your dream, but there will always be days where life happens, and this is not possible. So just commit to doing one thing, every day, that moves you toward your dream. Do this, and then, you will be successful, and in perpetual motion towards your success.”
That advice has stuck with me for a long time now. It also keeps me sane when I feel overwhelmed, and points me in a direction when I am at a loss for what I need to be working on next, to live, and succeed at this.