As some of you know my son Johnny just started school.
And weirdly I’ve learned something from that which can solve a problem I hear a lot from musicians.
A problem like this…
“I don’t have much time for my music career and when I do get time, I feel lost, and don’t know what to focus on”
What I noticed at Johnny’s school on the notice board is that they have a weekly focus print out for all the parents to look at…
…which tells us what the kids will be doing that week so we can talk to them about it at home.
So I’ve started to make my own weekly focus for my music and Music Marketing Classroom; the Classroom is the side business where I teach YOU stuff.
I do it on a Sunday afternoon, here is how it goes.
First I ask good questions…
What are my goals? Here they are…
- Be a good dad, and write a bestselling parent class.
- Be the most successful musician of all time with 30 No1 Songs.
- Help 1 million other musicians create freedom from the day job.
- Be happy, healthy and full of energy and write a best selling healthy living class. I will live past 150 and feel great.
Notice how they are all very specific so I’ll know when I have reached them?
They are also massive exciting goals. Which keeps me motivated.
Next I ask this…
“What do I have to do this week to make progress on my goals?”
Let’s take Music Marketing Classroom for an example.
This is the school where I try my best to teach other musicians the plan I use to be a full time musician … and how I did it without being famous yet.
Here are a few of the things I need to focus on for that.
- Get more musicians to the website homepage.
- Collect as many email addresses as I can so that I can email new members all our best lessons.
- Improve teaching skills to create new more powerful lessons for free and paid trainings.
- Work on my salesmanship skills to have people follow and use the free and paid trainings.
What you should see is that my plan for improving the business is similar to the plan for improving my music career.
The plan for the music career looks like this…
- Make better music.
- Work on mind blowing performance skills.
- Get hits to my website.
- Collect contact info from fans.
- Send them good music and videos.
- Work on salesmanship skills to create high value music products.
VERY important: I’m a notes freak, so when I start doing this I could spend all day making a list of 400 action items I would like to complete for that week.
This is NOT a productive use of my time or yours.
The sneaky obsessive part of my brain is shouting something like this…
“what if I have not got a comprehensive list of action items? I might have forgotten something important”
So give yourself an hour max…20 minutes is best.
Then you have to start doing stuff rather than planning to do stuff.
Because you know what?
It’s not about having a comprehensive list of action items…even then you won’t get time for everything.
It’s just about having a general idea of where you’re going…
… like going on tour…if you don’t know where you’re heading you’re going to get lost in the wilderness and eaten by a hungry bear.
Get Some Inspiration?
I always start by trying to come up with the weekly focus from my own brain.
Give yourself more credit, because you really know the things you need to be doing deep down. So trust your gut…
But after a little time looking around my own mind for ideas…I do review a few things:
For instance.. I look at all my recent notes for things i might have forgotten to put on the weekly focus list.
Again…I’m a note taking freak, I have ideas coming into my head all the time, and I collect them in my phone and then try to dig out the gold.
But the amount of notes I have to go through can get overwhelming which is the point I remind myself that…
…notes are nothing…
…only taking action on an idea will do you any good.
Finally I look at last week’s focus list and see if there were important things I did not get to yet. And I’ll throw a few more things on the focus list for this week.
Now You Must Decide What Is Important
Here’s how to do it…
- Paste your weekly focus list into the first column of a spread sheet.
- Go down the list and put an “A” next to the stuff you believe will give you most progress on your goal.
- Then use the sorting tools in the spreadsheet to put all the “A” stuff to the top.
- Now go through the list again and put a “1” next to the stuff that is REALLY REALLY Important.
- Then sort again and scoot all the “1” stuff up top where you can find is quickly.
That way through the week you’ll be able to see at a quick glance your top priority if you only have a few minutes to work on your goal.
Here is a video about sorting a spreadsheet. (Video not by me)
But if you can’t work it out don’t worry. Just go through your weekly focus list and write up the most important things in a new document or piece of paper.
Give Yourself 2 Power Hours
Once you decide your most important next steps, focus on these things for your first two hours each morning.
That way…no matter what emergency might come up during that day you’ll know that you’re always going to make at least a little bit of progress towards your goals.
So now you know the process please set a reminder in your phone right now for Sunday afternoon and create your own weekly focus.
I think if you do this for 3 months it will help you.
It should only take 20 minutes, and an hour maximum.
When working on your weekly focus do this…
Set a timer and only work on your plan until the alarm goes off.
Don’t let anything or anyone distract you from this important work. And definitely don’t check Facebook or text message while you’re in planning mode.
In reality you’ll be lucky to tick off all your most important action items each week…so don’t beat yourself up.
But at least now you know the general direction you’re heading in and can keep changing course when you’re off track to make sure you will arrive at your goals in one piece.
There is something profound in knowing that your goal is going to happen at some point, even if it takes a little while.
Your action steps for right now…
- Practice making your weekly focus.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes.
- Write down your goals.
- Now write down what important things you could do this week to make progress on those goals.
- If you don’t know, then pretend like you do and come up with some ideas.
- If you’re really stuck then you might schedule some time to do research this week on the specific problem that is holding you back from taking the next steps. So you might do Google search for “How do I get gigs consistently” or something.
- Look at any notes you’ve been taking recently that contain ideas about reaching your goals.
- Sort your weekly focus list so the most important actions are at the top.
- Look at your weekly focus in the morning everyday this week.
- Spend the first two hours of the day working on important stuff.
- Set a reminder in your phone to go through the weekly focus process at the same time each week.
That’s it, now please leave a comment and tell me what you’re going to work on first tomorrow.
And then share this with a musician friend who might like it either by emailing them this link : http://musicmarketingclassroom.com/11-simple-steps-to-your-dream-music-career/
And if you’re not a member of Music Marketing Classroom yet, get your butt over to this page and join right now.
Thank you for checking this out and , please keep reading my emails because I’m really passionate about helping other musicians build focus and freedom to make wonderful music.
- Ben Sword (Coach)
NOTE: If you would like me to be your manager please email me here with some music and a few words about your biggest struggles.
P.S Remember… a “to-do” list is useless.
You don’t want to mindlessly tick off everything on the to-do list…
…because then you’re just some kind of obsessive freak scratching an itch.
That used to be me and it was very tiring.
Be clever, look at the list of things you could do and ask yourself,
“what are the few things on this list that are going to help me make progress on my biggest goals?”
If you don’t know, pretend like you do and get to work anyway.
If you have to…do a little bit of research, and then get to work.
But limit this to a very little bit of research.
You’ll soon discover a bunch of things worth spending your time on.
Think about this…
…your time in life is going to get used up anyhow… so you might as well focus and do somewhere useful that gets you more of what you want.
Finally…say this to yourself ten times right now so you don’t forget…
“you don’t learn when you learn, you learn when you try stuff” x10