A Solution for Overcoming Chronic Lack of Time

My Smart Productivity for Musicians course contains a lesson about how to overcome stress, procrastination and chronic “lack of time” – while at the same time enabling your brain to focus on what it does best: being creative.

I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic here on the blog too.

During millions of years of evolution our brain has developed into a brilliant tool for being creative. It’s great at making rapid decisions, adapting to new situations, coming up with clever solutions to problems and combining ideas creatively. Those are skills that our survival as species has depended on.

The fast paced society today requires us to manage and remember a lot of tasks. We now live a very different life to our ancestors, but our brain is still the same. It’s never had to become very good at remembering and keeping track of lots of pending tasks.

It is a very new requirement in the scale of human history and our brain simply isn’t a natural talent at that! We adapt, but it is hard work.

This is a major cause of friction in our lives. It causes stress, procrastination and chronic “lack of time”.

Stress

This can be especially challenging for someone looking to make progress in the creative field of work. Anyone in charge of organizing their own work – that includes us music makers. There is so much to do and to remember. The abundant availability of information isn’t always helping either – quite the contrary.

So what’s the solution? We need to offload the stuff that our brain is not so good at into a separate task management system – an external brain if you will.

 

Having a good planning system in place reduces stress and also enables your brain to focus more on what it does best: being creative. It will also give you a clear overview of all your commitments. You can make better informed decisions on what is actually important. You’ll know what are the things you should be working on right now that will give you the biggest leverage and move you forward.

You will still have the same 24 hours in a day, just like everyone else. But because you know you are focusing on the right things and making progress with your goals, and because you won’t have to worry about forgetting something anymore… The stressful feeling of “lack of time” begins to fade.

Here are a few tips for creating and keeping up with your task management system:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Make it flexible.
  • Adjust your system as you go .
  • Don’t plan to do too much in too little time. It won’t work.
  • Leave plenty of unplanned time. We are not machines (yet).
  • Review your system regularly in order to keep up with it.

 

There are many different established task management methods around these days. I’ve tried a few different ones over the years. I’ve eventually ended up combining elements from here and there to create a pretty streamlined system that works great for me. It really comes down to thinking about what works best for your personality and your situation.

I am sharing the inner workings my personal task management system (and much more on the topic) in detail in the related lesson of Smart Productivity for MusiciansGo have a look.

 

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

– David Allen

 

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  • IamSoylent

    The biggest problem I find is not just “making time” though that is certainly always a challenge. It’s giving myself permission to spend productivity time doing something that isn’t earning me an income (because at this stage music is not an income-producing endeavor and I don’t know that it ever really will be). Life where I live (Silicon Valley) is so outrageously expensive just to live in relative comfort, that any time I’m spending my “non leisure time” (i.e. my most productive, fresh-brained time) doing something that isn’t focused on generating income, I feel very uncomfortable with it. And before anyone brings it up, no I’m not going to move to a cheaper part of the country/world or downsize from my house to an apartment or anything like that – this is home, has always been home, will always be home.

    So, I don’t really know what can be done about this. I try to give myself permission – and I have no shortage of support from my partner. But I just can’t let go of all the other things I feel like I “should” be doing when I start to think about doing music during prime time. And when it’s “sub-prime time” I’m not in a mental place to be creative. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

    • ManyFold

      Maybe you should review your priorities . At the end of the day it’s the only thing that matter . What can get you closer from your perfect day ? Ask you this question . Then if having a nice home is your priority it’s ok but then don’t blame you for not taking the time to make music as it’s not your priority instead congratulate yourself to use your time to earn money and have a nice home in the place you want to.

      For me my priority is music , so i don’t care if i don’t have a big house or when my house is a mess or when i get a job i don’t really like but that give my more time for the music . Because i know what my priority is and when it’s time to take action i always ask to myself ” what should i do to get closer to my goal ? ” , so i don’t blame myself for everything else because i made the choice on purpose .

      Cheers