Time management

One of the biggest problems of integrating internet strategies into your already busy music industry life is the problem of becoming overwhelmed with information. Now that you’re using the internet, there are all these sites to maintain, update, and provide content for… and a whole lot of others to read.

There are online references, mailing lists, MySpace pages, blogs, social networks, photography sites, music communities and recommendation engines to contend with.

How do you even start to cope with all that, hang onto the other important stuff you were already doing, and yet not have some sort of nervous breakdown in the process?

Strategic online laziness
It’s actually kind of simple: you don’t use the internet to add to the things you already do. You use the internet as a strategy to reduce the things that you do, while achieving far more. There are as many (if not more) tools and techniques out there to save you time as there are to make extra work… and one of the best ways to think of your computer is as a tool to get more accomplished with less effort.

I’m a big fan of creating filters and streamlining information flow. I set limits on what I do and don’t do in the online world, and I measure the results to make sure I’m getting the biggest bang for my buck. For instance, I have ceilings on how many sites I subscribe to in my Feed Reader (the ceiling is 100 – I’m currently on 81), and how many people I follow on Twitter (40 – though I’ve crept up to 42 this week).

I use my Twitter account to update my Facebook status, so I hardly ever have to visit that time-waster of a site, and I have dozens of filters set up on my Gmail account so that different sorts of mail get handled differently, and I only get presented with emails I actually need to read and respond to.

Time-saving strategies
You can get rid of tasks that you don’t want to do, don’t know how to do or just don’t have time to do. Let’s say you need a website built, or you’d like to get a mailing list established. You could post your job on eLance, Guru or Rent A Coder.

Or what if you’re trying to get your music ‘out there’ to radio stations, magazines and other media worldwide, but want it to be targeted and relevant. Radio Direct X will offer your music to over 5,500 media outlets in 77 countries, but they will only receive a promo CD copy for airplay if they actually ask for it. DigiDirectX will get your mp3 track to over 5000 DJs.

Let’s say you just want to be able to have someone manage your calendar for you. Google Calendar allows you to invite someone to make appointments on your behalf. Great if you’ve got a manager, an assistant or someone helping you book gigs.

ReverbNation will allow you to create street teams so that you can mobilise true fans to help you with your on-the-ground marketing. They also do a rather nifty targeted mailing list service too. These things will save you time and increase your profile.

Organisational tools like Remember the Milk, Tadalist, and Simple GTD will not only save you time, but get you organised in the offline world as well.

And keeping an eye on sites like Lifehacker, Tim Ferris’s blog, Viverati and Zen Habits will give you ideas to save you time both online and off. Use a feed reader to do that – it’ll save you time going to each site to see if there’s anything new.

Even something as simple as online banking will save you time and money, while online tools like Less Accounting will enable you to easily manage the finances side of things in no time at all.

Don’t even pedal
Steve Jobs once described the computer as a bicycle for the mind. The internet, used correctly, can make all your roads run downhill. Once you get things set up correctly, it’s just a matter of leaning forward, holding on to the handlebars and accelerating.

There are, of course, many other ways to use the internet to save you time. I’d love to hear your best tips. I’m always looking for more. I’m quite lazy…