Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've been asked a question alot lately...and over the years for that matter, so I thought I'd put some thoughts down. I was told the other day,"I think you have more hours in your days somehow. I don't see how you get so much done."

And I guess he was right...I have my hand in alot of stuff...I juggle alot of balls all of the time. But that's how I work, so I've never thought about it. I don't know that I get much more done than the average Joe. I know I don't get as much done as I want to. My list is always 3 or 4 pages longer than I'm able to finish.

This isn't a how's simply what I do. It's how I organize my days to get more done. And they're gonna go in bullet points, because that's easier for me. So here goes...hold on...

-My recreational activity happens to be one that I also make money at. So when I'm "relaxing", I'm actually getting quite a bit of work done.

-I love what I if I have free time, I actually like working...talking to people, answering questions, shooting lessons, practicing, etc. It's not work to me.

-I have work that enables me to arrange my day in the most productive manner. i.e. I don't have a boss giving me an agenda. I did this purposefully. I get more done when I'm left to my own druthers.

-I make daily task lists. I sit down for about 4 or 5 minutes and I list the most critical things that need to be done in order of most important to least important. Then, when I sit down and have 2 hours to work on a project, I start at the top of the list. I don't move on until I finish the task I'm working on. Then I cross it out...that's most important. Lets you know you've been productive and encourages you to get to work on crossing the next one off. I make a list for work and a list for personal stuff (bills, housework, phone calls, etc). I increased my productivity by ten fold when I started making a list of "to do" items.

-I make a list of all of the hard stuff. You know the stuff I'm talking about. It's all of the stuff you don't do because it takes to much time, or you don't know how, or it's tedious, or whatever. I call it "The Hard Stuff". I follow the same formula...I don't move from one until I finish it. This list isn't a daily can sometimes take weeks to finish.

-I don't have cable...or satellite. *Gasp, horror, shock* I've never watched alot of I've honestly never had a reason to get cable. TV is the biggest time waster we have...that and surfing the web. They'll eat your day up in no time. I would rather read a business book, or make a blog post, or respond to some people online than watch tv. I do like movies however, and watch a couple a week.

-I don't watch sports. I work out...alot...but I don't watch any kind of sport on television. I'm just not into it. It's ok if you are...again, this is just my list of how I do things.

-I respond to all of my emails at once. I try not to stop the task I'm doing to respond to one. It's not that urgent. Set aside a time to do emails...and a time to do calls...and a time to do social networking online, etc. Everything in it's right place.

-I don't sleep much. 5-6 hours is all I need. While in college, I woke up at 5 or 5:30 every morning. And I still do. I had 3-4 hours of practice time in before most college students were even having their first cup of coffee everyday. When I practice, I make a list of what I need to work on and what I've done. When I get through it, I'm satisfied that I've done enough and I can either keep going or not. I also gigged 3-4 nights a week in college. So no excuse there...and I had another job as well...

-I work out (as previously stated)...alot. People think this will wear them out, make them tired, eat up their time. It won't. It will give you more energy, make you feel better about yourself, and get you ready for a killer day. If you can get through a hard workout, you can do most anything for the day.

Those are in no particular order...and may not make sense. But truly, these are the things I've done to make myself the most productive. I just took 4 days a couple of weeks ago and wrote sheet music for over 100 video lessons. That's crazy. It was a ton of work...I loved every minute. I did that on top of the regular work/family/video lessons/question answering/etc that I always do. I also wrote a book this year. I've posted over 170 videos on my channel in the past year and a half...Again, no bragging, it's simply the pace I work at.

Here's one piece of advice that if you commit to, you'll always succeed. I determined a long time ago that most people have more talent than me, look better than me, have better social skills, etc. The one thing I've always been able to beat people at is out working them. You may be more talented...but I promise you, you won't outwork me. It's carried me a long way. So stop avoiding all of that work you need to do...whatever it may be. It's ok for them to be more talented. I sleep alot less than them ;^)


Marcus said...

Yup, I have a straight job that takes up a minimum of 10 hours of my day. With what is left I have family, practice, regular stuff that has to get done, teaching private lessons and the prep work for them.

Marcus said...

Oh yeah and I forgot to add my days start at 5 am and end at 11 pm during the week. So I totally get the sleep thing. And I'm the same with TV/sports. If my wife sold our TV I probably wouldnt even notice for like a week or so.

Stephen said...

@Marcus...Lol, my wife left for 8 days to visit family. I watched one movie that I live streamed over my laptop that whole week...and it took me two days to sit long enough to get through it. Watched it over supper. Other than that, the tv never came on. But I got a heck of alot of work done! So I completely get it.

Some guys get bummed about the pace of work you talk about. Me, I get inspired. I think "How can I increase my productivity or change my work schedule so that it will facilitate more free time...or more family time, etc." Working that much just drives me to be more efficient because I want the free time that much more when I'm that busy. Kudos to you for killing it everyday man!


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