I’m excited to be recording this podcast in my new remote office in Maine. We currently have one desktop which I use for my podcast and my husband also uses to teach his students. Good thing he works in the evening. I also have to balance looking after my kids, especially my 11 year old.
If you need help in planning and prioritizing things, you can check my Smart Goals Workbook which you can download at femusician.com/goals
Beth Matthew and Cayla Brooke, our Community Managers from Female Musician Academy will share how they balance their lives during this time.
Beth shared about having focused time with no distractions. She works for 25 minutes then takes a 5-minute break and literally gets away from her computer, making sure she does something else and not spend time on her phone screen instead. What she does is called the Pomodoro technique. Those blocks of time are called Pomodoros. There are apps out there that tell you when a Pomodoro is over and when it’s time to take a break. This works most for people that have a hard time focusing.
Cayla talks about some days that felt like managing their business became a total grind but during this time of the pandemic, she is now so thankful for that income. I love how she talks how having gratitude can allow you to be more productive.
Having a lot on our plate such as running a business, writing a book, doing speaking engagements, Cayla found that organizing her time is very important. Prior to that, she thought that she had to work really hard in order to get anywhere. She also had the mentality that if somebody else is working and you are not working, that somebody is going to beat you to the goal since they are working and you are not. She realized that it was a dangerous path and we have to realize that it’s not all about work. I totally agree with Cayla and that is one reason why we decided to stay here during this time in Maine.
Cayla also talks about organizing using her planner. In relation to what Beth mentioned about the Pomodoro, Cayla does some of her chores during her breaks so technically, she still uses those breaks productively. Since she is old-fashioned, she still loves using her Passion Planner. She loves doing a big brain dump and then figure out what she needs to do in chunks. She suggests that you take a look at your life and figure out what you can do to have time for yourself while doing all the important stuff. Like for example, she pays to have somebody do her meal plans for her but that in turn allows her to have more time for more important stuff on her list. She also bought an iRobot to clean her house for her. So for Cayla, doing that has value. One other thing is doing the task part by part during the Pomodoro breaks allow you to finish a task that could have otherwise occupied your whole weekend. Anything you can delegate, automate, plan in little chunks so you can have more time in your life and allow you to get your life back and enjoy it, is worth it.
I, too, outsource a lot of chores at home to others or my family. Be kind to yourself so you can show up for things only you can do and delegate the rest.
Beth does her own chores and she agrees with Cayla that it is best to do it in small chunks so that it won’t get overwhelming. She shares a quote from Steven Cotler, “If we are hunting the highest version of ourselves, then we need to turn work into play and not the other way around. Unless we invert this equation, much of our capacity for intrinsic motivation starts to shut down much of our passion.” For those who are working, due to the current situation, everyone else is at home and we may feel that we are actually working all the time. It’s a good motivation that if you are productive and did a good job, you will get rewarded for that.
Cayla and Beth both agree that doing similar tasks in batches allow you to get them done faster rather than doing one each day or so. You also avoid feeling that you are working all of the time. A good example of such tasks are scheduling emails or creating social media graphics for your business.
Aside from using an old-fashioned Passion Planner, Cayla shared about using an online tool which imports the regular things that you do into a calendar.
Batching, planning, organizing and basically putting structure into your day to day activities allow you to have more time for yourself and your goals.
We should also have a “Stop Doing” list so we can be aware and remove those activities and people that waste our time. Good examples are watching too much television or social media. Once we learn how to do that, we can instead spend that time being more productive and doing something that gives us more energy.
Perfectionism can also cause a waste of time. We need to get started instead of just thinking about it. We also need to figure out when we are most productive. If you are more energetic in the morning, you can do more work including the hard stuff during that time. On the time of day you feel less energetic, you can do other things that need less energy from yourself.
Morning and evening routines are also important. For Cayla, her morning routine starts her day off well. She also has an evening routine to help her shut down well. When she wakes up late, she still makes sure she does a mini-version of her morning routine.
She also plans her week every Sunday. She has her main works and needle mover stuff. Needle mover are little things that allow you to progress your bigger goals. Each day, she schedules 3 main works and 1 needle mover. She also gives herself time for small things that allow her to be happy — like draw, take pictures, call a friend and other small things that make you feel good. Consciously taking some time for yourself and the little things you want to do allows you to feel better and happier about yourself. In turn, that makes you feel more energized for your work too.
You can join our very cool Facebook group which has been named one of the top Facebook groups for musicians. Just go to Facebook and look up “Female Indie Musicians Community”.
Don’t forget to also get my Smart Goals Workbook at femusician.com/goals.
Links mentioned in this episode: femusician.com/goals