Since I wrote the blogpost below, an acute family situation occurred that required my staying in Denmark for two days, (last week). Then, I got hit with a terrible cold and a fever, right as I was finishing up the song God Loves Rock n Roll. These two unforeseen happenings hit me a few days before the concert on Red's Room (28th of January). Needless to say, my plans got botched up completely. I lost my voice and the song didn't get done on time. Instead of flipping out and getting angry I just decided to help my family and then take care of my body for a few days. I cancelled Red's Room, got some well needed rest, did some bookkeeping and the plan is to get back on track asap! Oh well, I still think it is better to have had plans that got botched than no plans at all.
I'd like to share how I've planned this music year so I can double my music production as compared to last. Below, I share some tips for those of you who think it is hard to plan and/or carry out plans. Let me know what you think!
In the beginning of January, I look at all my music and asked myself:
1. What songs do I want to release this year?
At the start of every New Year I make plans on when to release music and my music videos. I look at the whole year and make a rough estimate which songs I want to and can release the coming year. Singles or an album? Release the album as singles? This song first or last? Which three will be produced, edited and mixed/mastered in parallel? (I always work with three at a time nowadays.)
I might not hit my goals dead center by the end of 2023, but I've learned that I have to shoot high in order to be productive.
Of the over forty copywrited songs I've written so far only 17 have been released so I have a ways to go. In 2022 I released four songs. This year I'm shooting for releasing eight songs. That is twice as many as last year! Can I do it? There is a possibility. But I'll never reach my goal without a plan.
2. I then plan releases according to how effective my months usually are
I know that the most productive months are January through May and September through the middle of November. I usually don't get much music done in June and I never get any music done in July, (enjoying the few warm months Sweden has to offer), so that release and the one on August have to be done earlier. The second half of November is usually pretty slow and December evaporates with baking, Christmas festivities and so on. I've seen this happen over and over again. So now I know that I have seven whole months and two half months on which to distribute the work of creating eight new quality songs. Doable.
One song released per whole month makes seven songs and 1 song done within the two half months makes eight. Hmm...
3. I make sure that my plans have "s.m.a.r.t." goals
In order for me to get these songs out there, I'll need to have s.m.a.r.t. goals. They have to be specific; measurable; achievable; realistic and timely. I won't get into defining them here but you can Google "smart goals" and get an explanation.
For me, smart means
- deciding which songs and writing which dates they are to be released
- setting deadlines for releases forces me to be effective and intentional in all my editing and mixing decisions - so I don't go on editing the daylights out of each track and waste time being picky, unintentional or unfocused when creating, editing, mixing and mastering my music.
- As soon as I release a song I can check a box - "measurable"
- Realistic is that I may have to scale down the complexity of the tracks and do a more acoustic approach to the next album. I also understand that major unforeseen disturbances can come and knock me off my tracks (pun intended) but I intend to follow the plan.
I can only get 8 songs done and released this year if I make some rules and a schedule to live by:
Prioritise - TMG, People, Music, Exercise, Housework, ...
Time Box my time - exercise, social media posting, chores, helping friends and family, shopping, mixing, editing, making dinner. I will have to be more strict when I do things and how long each thing may take.
Set clear boundaries and communicate them: This year I intend to be clear to others when I am working, when I'm not and about my needs.
Be more effective with chores I work from home and get easily distracted. As soon as I pick up my phone in the middle of a chore, making food or doing other household tasks. This has got to stop! Planning the amount of time allowed on the phone and setting a timer before I pick it up is a new thing I'll be adding to my routine.
Divide each song project into smaller parts and more detailed sub deadlines.
Motivate myself with "treats" instead of snacking on them: For example, no more playing around with graphics before the song is done. I love art, making videos and promos and can waste hours per week with that kind of stuff. When a song is done I can "treat myself" to some graphics time!
Well, that is some of the way I planned this music year. I am also in the process of creating a release schedule of sorts but I won't bother you with it here. Instead I'll share the first part of my journey. This is the plan for the first two months. Then I go on vacation for a week in mid February.
I don't know about you, but things never turn out how I've planned them. Often things get in the way and I have to make concessions, changes in my calendar and grin and bear it. That's life. But what I've found is that if I don't have a plan I don't get much done. I may not end up with 8 new songs released this year. It may be fewer than I've planned. But planning makes me work more effectively and it is fun to run a race when you can see the path before you.
Finally I'd like to share some power verses with you about planning:
Commit to the LORD whatever you do and he will establish your plans.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
And, Jesus warns us not to "say today or tomorrow I'm going to this or that city and doing business" and to avoid promising what we cannot know for sure that we can deliver on. That is, we SHOULD have plans but we are not supposed to boast about what we are hoping to achieve BEFORE we do it. SO, I hope I can be more effective than last year with this planning but I know that much can come in the way that can make this impossible. So we will see how it goes.
Proverbs 29: 18
Without a vision the people perish.
- have a plan and a vision for 2023- what you want to achieve, produce, release, experience and what value you want to give others
- make your goals smart ones
- have reasonable deadlines
- Time box your time
- make sure you communicate your needs to others around you
- give yourself a treat when you reach your goals, deadlines and get that music out there!
- Commit your plans to the Lord so that your plans succeed
Until next time!