Now that we’ve talked about what to do and why to do it, there comes the inevitable and more difficult question: when can we fit it all in?

ClockI had an email from a friend by the name of Rob, whose title, when asked, is “former label manager now working with Birmingham krautrockers Einstellung who have recently sold out their show at the Old Joint Stock Theatre weeks in advance” (nice). He’s sold on the 20 Things, and is convinced by the manifesto. But he has a problem.

As a busy music manager, Rob is constantly on the go. There are never enough hours in the day. He has a much better idea of what he should do with the online environment, but much of it seems additional, rather than replacing any previous work. And that raises some real issues.

He writes:

I’ve been following the 20 points week by week and have just revisited it.

The recurring thing that comes to me as I read through it is all about time. Having the time to do the things you advise. Making sure they happen. For me and my work with Einstellung its a question of dividing the limited time up. Then there’s money, then there’s the fact that I’m managing four free thinking successful guys with their own opinions, agendas and full time employment.

If anything is missing from your work its that side of it: advice on how to prioritise and get the most important things done with the resources available as part of a team. Whilst enjoying it!

For me that’s the difficult bit. And all the music industry management guides I have browsed are useless in that respect.

As it happens, I’m always on the lookout for good practice in this respect, and I’ve given this a lot of thought. Even so, I’ve avoided talking too much about it here, partly because there are a lot of good blogs already entirely devoted to time management, partly because most of the music industry people I know are wary or suspicious of the vacuous business-speak that often accompanies it — but also because most of the ideas I have in this department are other people’s.

That said, I’ve come across a few ways to fit all the right things into a given day, and I’ve adapted some strategies to prioritise and get stuff accomplished. Certainly, without those strategies, this blog would not exist.

I’ve also had some success at translating it for people who’d rather poke their eyes out with knitting needles than ‘maximise their potential’ or ‘actualise their goals’.

‘Jeans and t-shirts’ productivity
For most of us, all we want is a bit less chaos and a bit more time to focus on the important stuff, rather than running around in a panic for most of the day and then coping with the bits that fell off along the way.

So, I’m going to embark on an occasional series on the blog that tailors some of these things for an industry that doesn’t follow the 9 to 5 rules, or feature corporate drones in bad ties.

This is time management for people who work till 2am, sleep past noon and wear jeans and t-shirts to work every day. Or some variation on that theme.

It’s not going to be the focus of every post — I have other things to talk about here too — but I’ll get to work on it. Who knows? Perhaps there’s another e-book in it further down the track.

And, of course, there will be some online tools and new digital techniques for managing the process. The internet’s not just for downloading mp3s and talking to your imaginary friends, you know.

Further reading:
Lifehacker – downloads and websites that will actually save you time.
Zen habits – time management through simplicity.

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