Musician Mommy- 6 Tips to help you get and be super organised


OK, in truth you don't have to be a musician or a mommy for this to apply to you.  iI you need a little help organising your life, read on...

 I know I'm still very much a work in progress in this area and I find a lot of 'creatives' are the same. The "musician mommy" caption is just my reality at present so I speak from that place. It takes a lot of self-discipline to get and keep organised and there's nothing like having to juggle a home, young kids and a career to force you to do it- or you simply won't get anything done. 

I remember listening to an interview by the very talented Patti Scialfa (wife to Bruce Springsteen and every inch a very talented musician in her own right) where she talked about being on stage, playing the guitar and forgetting to tell the baby sitter that her child had piano lessons.

Or times (and this I can soooo relate to) where she more or less sneaks out of the room to write and as soon as the kids (who were previously doing something else) heard the first guitar chord they come looking for her like cops looking for a fugitive!

Reality is, it's not the same as when you were a teenager eating off your parents' food and money and only having exams to worry about. That's not to say exams are not a truckload of stress. I know I felt like the life was being squeezed out of me after every exam I had to sit for. But I must admit that my present day-to-day life now makes exam stress look like a leisure walk in the park. Take it from me, the sooner you learn how to organise your life the easier it'll be. Not just for you but for your nearest and dearest.

So here are my top tips...

1. The almighty to-do list
To me, this is simply a no-brainer but I am not one to assume anything so if you are yet to make acquaintance with this simple but effective life-saver I don't know where you have been! Be it paper or digital (mobile phones IPads etc), you can't go wrong with this. The trick is to find what works for you. I like to make 'funnel-like' to-do lists. I'm almost certain it is called something else out there but by 'funnel' I mean start broad and gradually narrow it down- so year to month to week to daily to-do lists. I find my greatest challenge to be the daily ones cos as a mum to young children, no two days are ever the same, no matter how much routine I introduce (and we have PLENTY)! Don't be afraid to move things around and carry over to the next day, if you must


2. Be realistic
Don't overload the list...or yourself- They say Rome wasn't built in a day. Well, same goes for whatever venture you are in even at the very challenging start-up stage. It's better to get a little done than none at all because that's what's likely to happen when you get too overwhelmed!


3. Have specific 'must-dos' for the day and tackle them head-on
These are the ones, you simply cannot carry over, the ones with deadlines attached to them (a good deadline practice is to set a personal deadline date 2-3 days before the actual deadline to give you time to deal with any last-minute incidences that so often occur). Get these out of the way first!

4. Prioritise! 
I know how tough this one can be when you have a million things fighting for your attention- all equally important..or so it seems. But in truth, how much priority a thing has could just be time-sensitive. For instance, giving my kids my full attention is my priority from about 3 pm when I go get them from school till their bedtime. During this time, I sort out homework, dinner and get involved in those long-winded conversations young kids like to have. Once they are in bed, my priority shifts to something else like this post I'm writing today. Other times, it could be a song I have been itching to play on the guitar. For the sake of this tip, the next one is very crucial.

5. Get a Calendar!
Allocate a time duration for all your tasks. Quite, frankly, this is the medium your to-do list thrives on. Your calendar gives you structure and even helps you decipher how much to load up into a day. It's good practice not to commit to anything you haven't put into your calendar. For this to make sense, you have to have the last tip below on lockdown...


6. Practice saying 'No'
Go on, say it: "N-N- O-O". That wasn't too difficult now, was it? Simple but powerful, those two letters! I find most people find it hard to say 'no' simply because they're afraid of offending people. But don't you think they would be more offended if you probably fell through on your commitment or found you were not doing it whole-heartedly?

Then you'll not have not just your weak resolve but your integrity to deal with Most of the time, I don't think it's about what is said but how it is said.

Online entrepreneur, Ramit Sethi actually made up a nice short script you could use to politely say No, especially if you are corresponding via email:
 

Hi NAME,

Thanks for this invitation. I’m flattered! Unfortunately, I’ve got my priorities set for the year and this just doesn’t fit in. Again, thanks for thinking of me.

-YOUR NAME

Above all, If you've done all you could not to offend and still ended up doing so, simply because you said No, then tough! (for the other person of course!). Bottom line, time is one of the most precious gifts we've been given.

Spend it wisely and guard it jealously.


Final words: Keep at it!

I couldn't stress this enough! We are all works in progress and process and it takes time to change habits, no matter how short a time it takes a particular individual. So yes, you WILL drop the ball a few times- don't beat yourself up about it. Remember what I shared about process and excellence? Check it out here. Learn, move on and keep at it. Walk and work towards the perfect YOU God made you to be. That's what grace is for. Use it!

 

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