On a day not so long ago I was low; that yucky very dark low where the worst of thoughts cross your mind. I searched “feeling worthless” into Google search and found page after page of “you are a child of the universe” type stuff. Those are great sentiments but it really didn’t speak to me. In fact, it made me feel worse. I just didn’t have the stomach to read articles about “you are unique” and “you are special.” Again, great sentiments, but nothing to turn my mental boat around.
As I’m writing this, I’m full of fire and energy and focus. I wanted to share with you what brought me out of that. Maybe this is more for entrepreneurs, artist and writer types. But my feeling of worthlessness came from the overwhelming experience of not being able to harness and focus all my ideas.
If you are a producer of content and you are not producing content, then you are worthless. You are something else. Ok, I know this sounds harsh but I hope that fellow artists and content creators can relate. Artist types have the opposite challenges that many people face. We don’t have a problem coming up with ideas, we have TOO MANY ideas to sort out. And we don’t have a problem of jumping off the cliff creatively so the angels can brace our fall. We’re used to that trajectory and it’s part of our natural creation cycle.
The answer I found is organization. I took a class last year with Berklee School of Music on Project Management and it was an awesome and mind blowing class. But in managing my own time, I kept finding that a Project Management approach was cumbersome. The main reason is that I am primarily managing my own time, so any extra steps and hierarchy and sub-levels is wasted time.
Here’s an example of the workflow I was working on:
- Research three new topics for new musical theatre productions. Finish script, write finished music, orchestrate and deliver final product. As you can imagine, each of these projects have a massive amount of smaller steps involved, most of them I do myself.
- Produce 60 new albums across various genres. Compose and write lyrics on the fly as they hit me to develop later. Create production templates according to each genre. Have album covers designed, setup mastering templates, locate scores where needed. MASSIVE.
- Re-publish a book I wrote 25 years ago.
- Write a novel. Backburner item that’s been on my mind.
- Expand internet network. Very tedious and detailed list of steps across many websites.
- Develop music licensing releases which includes a lot of tracks, research and genre stem tracks I recorded and created last year. Groundwork laid but SO MUCH to do to release all this stuff.
- Writing lyrics – being able to bring up a genre in a few seconds to throw down some new lyrics idea. Also for script ideas, sometimes I get an idea for just two lines of dialogue for a particular play I’m working on. I need to throw those down in a couple seconds and move on.
I’ll stop there. I mean, I could go on FOR HOURS on all the ideas to harness. And for every new idea I start to work on, I come up with a few more. It grows exponentially from a beautiful garden of creativity to a jungle of overgrowing weeds that choke the trees.
So, feeling worthless stems from not harnessing potential. The answer to harnessing potential is organization. Corporate style formal organization doesn’t always work for artists so how do you harness your whirlwind of ideas?
Here’s what I found and it’s a life changer.
EverNote – Keep all your notes in one place. Researching a topic on the web? Click the Evernote icon and you’ve just saved it for reading later. Assign it to the project folder. Petting your dog and come up with a lyric idea? Open EverNote and jot it down. Saved. Syncs on all devices so you can jot from your iPhone too. https://evernote.com
ToDoist – A turbo charged “to do list” program. Every day I start out by meditating and making a list of the things I want to accomplish. Put this info in ToDoist. Mark level of importance, set due dates, setup sub-steps to any task. It’s a very light form of project management that works great for entrepreneurs, writers and content creators. https://todoist.com/
Google Calendar – For quite a while I’ve used Google Calendar for meetings, chats and appointments. This is my easy “one glance” to see if I have any time obligations coming up. It’s fast and easy – my emails can automatically sync to auto-import certain dates. Also, I’ve synced up my calendar with ToDoist so I can input a task with a due date, or appointment in ToDoist, and it will automatically import into my calendar.
This setup is certainly not my creation. It is widely used and heralded for time management. I just cannot believe that I didn’t know about this sooner. Another approach to “feeling worthless” is to watch puppy and cat videos. If you’re mad about lack of productivity and want to turbo charge your output then check out this setup.
Turbo charging your time management and output means that you have more resources to give back to your community, and more resources to carve out a well balanced life. More time for family. More time for civic duties that make life wonderful.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Have more time management and project management tips for entrepreneurs and artists? Please leave a comment and let us know about it.