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How to Create Focus

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramAt any given moment, on any given day, the average person is thinking about 14 different things – Does that sound familiar? Between the Day Job (for many Artists), family, your personal needs (such as exercise), and your ambitions for creating your business as a professional in the Arts & Entertainment Industry, life can be overwhelming!

In the ArtistsMBA Classes on Time Management and Project Management, we look at how to prioritize and design your systems to choose what to accomplish when. But when you sit down to actually do what you have chosen to do …

How do you filter out all of the distractions, both internal and external?

“The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.”
Mozart

Without focus, your efficiency and effectiveness suffers AND you have a lot less fun!

In this Class, you’ll learn:

  • The 3 biggest focus stealers
  • How to set clear internal and external focus boundaries
  • Simple and easy exercises to focus your mind

Whether you’re creating your art or music, marketing and promoting yourself or spending time with your family, improving your ability to focus will improve your success.

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Maintaining Focus in the Face of Chaos – 1st Key

The Holiday Season can be so joyfully chaotic, can’t it?  Parties and travel and family (with all the baggage that goes with that!).  For many performers there are also holiday gigs and holiday gift promotions to promote on top of that.  It can all be so overwhelming.  So many things to do, so many demands on your time.

Time management and project management systems are critical to your success at all times and I cover them elsewhere in the blog.  Very often, when faced with unusually busy times, all of our time management skills fly out the window. So, this series of 5 blog posts will answer the question – How do I maintain my focus and my sanity in the face of chaos?

5 Keys to Manage Chaos

  1. Read more

Systems Creation – Work Smarter, Not Harder

Artists MBA, Foundation ProgramDefinition of Systems:
A set of detailed methods, procedures, and routines established or formulated to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, or solve a problem.
BusinessDictionary.com

Underlying your productivity (or lack of it) lies the effectiveness of your systems.  Many creative people struggle with business, not because they don’t know what to do, but because they haven’t created systems that operate in the ways they organically think.

Creating systems for your business will allow you to:

  • Streamline your methods and maximize your time
  • Create repeatable and sustainable results
  • Keep your promises to yourself and others
  • Reduce your stress!

In this class, you’ll learn:

  • How systems facilitate (not limit!) creativity and set you free
  • How to identify good candidates for systems creation
  • How to design and implement systems procedures

A system will take time to create – but once created will save you time every time.  And the biggest advantage is that once you’ve created a system for an activity – you will be able to delegate it and know that it’s being run the same way you would run it!

Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

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Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
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Project Management – The Performance Results Description Tool

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramIn Project Management – How to Get Stuff Done, I introduced the concept of the Performance Results Description (PRD).

The PRD allows you to visually link your goals to your daily activities as well as develop a working plan for how you’ll reach those goals.

 

In this class, we’ll delve into:

  • How the PRD fits into your overall Time Management System
  • How to adapt the PRD for different kinds of projects and different categories
  • How to fill out the PRD Form for your best advantage

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

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Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
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Ask the Organizer

Some of the biggest energy and time wasters in our lives results from an ineffective system of organization. This can show up in many ways.

It can look like a lack of time management – but really you’re spending too much time looking for things you’ve lost. It can look like getting distracted because of things you’ve forgotten or feeling confused and overwhelmed because you’re surrounded by clutter in your space.

It can look like avoiding or procrastinating – but really, you haven’t organized your goals and To Do list in a way that helps you to prioritize what needs to get done – so you can’t get started.

So, for this month’s Words to the Wise edition, I’m going to hand the reins off to an Organization expert – Joshua Zerkel – for some tips on how to organize your time to avoid communications distractions. (While writing this introduction, my phone rang 3 times!)

Warm regards,
Debra Russell
Certified Business Coach

Boost Focus and Productivity by Reducing Communication Distractions

By Joshua Zerkel
During the course of a given day, think about how many different ways you might be distracted from the tasks you have in front of you – a notification pops up in the corner of your screen letting you know you have a new email, your phone vibrates to let you know you received a new message on Twitter, the phone rings… and the list goes on and on. Let’s face facts – we live in distraction oriented culture, where we’re encouraged to be in near-constant contact with the outside world.

While staying in touch is great in theory, being constantly available to the outside world can be an ongoing source of distractions and interruptions. In my work with clients, many of them say that dealing with these distractions has become a major part of daily life, and is taking a toll on their productivity. Here are some strategies for stemming the tide of interruptions and getting back on track towards being more efficient:

Prioritize your key tasks

Before you start your work each day, take a few moments to write down what your priority tasks are going to be that day. Set aside time on your calendar to work on those tasks, and make those times “communication free zones” – meaning that you won’t check email, answer calls, or instant-message during those times, unless doing so relates specifically to the project you’re working on. Setting aside this space to work on your projects will help you stay focused and get closer to your goal of finishing a given task.

Beware of “helpful” notifications

Pretty much every system we use to communicate, whether it’s instant message, email, social media, voice mail, text messaging, etc., has a way to notify us when we’ve received a new message or communication request. Ask yourself, are these notifications serving you, or are they an interruption? For most of us, the latter is the case. Instead of allowing these tech tools distract you, set specific times during the day when you will check for new messages, email, etc., and turn off the notifications. You could check your various inboxes twice a day, every few hours, or every hour, depending on the volume of communication you receive. Very, very few messages are so urgent that they can’t wait an hour or two for you to return the communication.

Don’t get sucked into the social media vortex

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace… these are all great tools, and can be a lot of fun. They can also generate a voluminous amount of messages that require your attention and time. If you’re using these tools for purely personal use, limit your use of them to outside business hours, and set some parameters about how much time you’d like to spend on them. If social media is a part of your business, make sure to set aside time on your calendar during your work day to process your new messages and friend requests. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that managing these sites is something that can be done in the ever-elusive “spare time” – keeping current with your profiles has to become part of your scheduled tasks.

These are some of my favorite ways to reduce communication-related distractions – what are some of yours?

Joshua Zerkel, CPO® is a the founder of Custom Living Solutions, a San Francisco-based productivity and organizing consulting firm, specializing in helping busy people save time, space and money by getting organized at home and at work. For more FREE organizing ideas, visit www.customlivingsolutions.com or call 415-830-6345.

Project Management – The Key to Getting Stuff Done!

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramToo much to do!  It all feels equally urgent!  Oi – where do I start?

Sound familiar?  We have so many demands on us – both externally – people wanting us to get stuff done for them – and internally – fulfilling our dreams and goals.

How do you manage it all and maintain your sanity?

 

In this class we discover:

  • The project management mistakes that lead to procrastination and paralysis
  • The two kinds of projects and how to manage both
  • The skill of prioritizing according to your values
  • How to eat an elephant (I mean, manage and complete a project) – you know – one bite at a time!

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

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Create and Maintain Your Team

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramAre you sick of doing it all alone, but the idea of delegating to someone else overwhelms or confuses you?

Do you have people working for/with you – agents, managers, assistants, web designers, etc. – but you’re unsure how to work with them? Or even worse, you feel like you’re working for them, not the other way around?

Creating and managing teams takes a particular skill set. In this class, you discovered:

  • The biggest mistake artist’s make with their Agents and Managers
  • The 3 keys to delegating effectively
  • The 3 kinds of team members and the pros and cons to each
  • How to build and work with a team of people focused on your success

And so much more! This one area can be the biggest obstacle to taking your business to the next level. It’s the key to working smarter and essential to creating a long-term and sustainable business.

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

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