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Monday, May 12, 2008 

Managing Your Time More Efficiently

I'm always talking about my motto, working smarter not harder. You may have heard me talk about it at a music conference or teleseminar call or really just about anywhere I can throw it into a conversation. Why? Because we kill ourselves working so hard and not always doing it in the most efficient manner.

What can we do as DIY (do-it-yourself) indie musicians to better manage our time? Lots of things! Here are 4 that i think will help you manage your time more efficiently.

1. Daily To-Do List
I'm a big fan of daily to-do lists. It's so easy to have all the things you want to do up in your head but once you write it down on paper it can really help you focus. So take a moment at the start of your day and think about what you need to accomplish and write it down. Some people need to write it all out on an entire sheet of paper. If your list is too long, start with what Jim Meisenheimer, author of 57 Ways to Take Control of Your Time and Your Life, calls the six-pack. Basically prioritize the six most important items on your list. What works for me is a 3x3 post it note that sits next to my laptop all day. It has my six-pack listed and it helps so much. Do this however it works best for you. But the key is to have it near you so you will see it throughout the day.

2. Turning Off Your Email
I know this is not an easy one! If you are like me and use Outlook it's too easy to get distracted every time an email jumps into your inbox. You get the little pop-up notification and so you drop what you are doing to read it. This is a huge way to get unproductive! Last year I read a really great book called The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. He also put out an awesome report, The Low-Information Diet: How to Eliminate E-Mail Overload & Triple Productivity in 24 Hours. I highly recommend reading both for great ideas on managing your time AND dealing with the challenges of email overload.

3. Go On A TV Diet
This one is brilliant and it comes from Derek Gehl at The Internet Marketing Center. Like Timothy Ferriss, he employs a lot of the same ideals when it comes to managing time. And we all know how much time we can waste in front of the TV!

According to Derek:
... Well, as you probably know, TV is one of the biggest time wasters there is -- so even if you think that an evening of TV is helping you relax, all it's really doing is stealing valuable time from you -- time that would be better spent working on your website!

So true! This comes from his article, Six Ways to Find More Hours in Your Day. It's a great read.

4. Wake Up An Hour Earlier
I know for some there are just not enough hours in the day. If this is you, you may consider getting up earlier in the morning so you can get a handle on your projects. Many say, especially those with children, that it's great because the house is quiet and they can accomplish a lot. In Derek's above article (just click on the link) he mentions cutting your lunch time in half. That too can allow you to be more productive. Again it goes back to doing what you find works for you.

So there you have it. Four ways to better manage your time. Please feel free to comment and let me know what works for you.

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out http://www.indiemusiccoach.com for more info.

i really enjoyed this post -- probably because i'm a chronic procrastinator.

i make lists constantly. i've got a notepad by my bed, in my purse, on my palm. so my one suggestion is this: make lists that are organized in terms of your daily goals and priorities and make sure that they are time based.

oh - and if you want to get away from using paper, try my favorite online tool: http://www.todoist.com

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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