By Cari Cole

Musicians know their craft is an eight day a week job, one that seems to have no end in the amount of time you must spend nurturing it. But that right there is a prescription for disaster. No friends, no life, and even possibly, no career.

It’s all about balance, planning, strategizing, setting goals, and setting and resetting priorities.

Here are my top 6 pretty-darn-close-to-magical steps for painless time management that have radically improved my career and life.

I hope it helps you stop spinning your wheels and start being more effective with managing your music business this year. Big changes can come for you and your mindset when you apply this simple formula.


1.  Braindump.

The first thing to consider if you are in overwhelm is that there may be too many things rolling around in your brain. Time for a braindump! Arrange for some time to dump everything you’ve got in your head down on paper or in a document (even notes on your phone). This process gives your brain more room because it gets it all down on paper. You’ll feel more relief.


2. The To Do List.

Now take that braindump and format it into a to-do list. You can categorize your to-do list into compartments like: artist development – songwriting, vocal technique, etc.; marketing + promotion – social media, website, bio, press release, promo photos, videos, etc.; business – opportunities, conferences, festivals, goal setting, strategy, etc. We actually help you dial all of this out in one of our most popular online programs, Fast Forward, where you’ll receive downloadable samples and templates of materials to organize all of your tasks and uplevel your music business management strategy!


3. Prioritize.

Now that you have the to-do list it’s time to put on your music manager hat and get that list organized in order of importance. Introducing the power of prioritizing. Whether you are a busy person or not, you won’t want to give the same attention to every item on your to-do list. To avoid that, prioritize. Put the absolute must do’s at the top. Be sure to rate the top items on your to-do list by what will move you ahead or give you an ROI (return on investment). A great way to keep re-organizing the priorities is to sit down every Sunday (or the day prior to your week’s start) for 45 minutes and prioritize the week ahead. A great way to keep yourself powerful. At CCVM we have a fully detailed process for this step as a part of our Artist Success Circle Mastermind Program (in addition to many amazing need-to-know musician mindset tools)


4. Organize the Schedule (by year, or quarter).

While there are a lot of things you would love to do, if you can’t see the whole year ahead at a time, you’re not preparing properly. Stop getting bitten in the butt last minute and get ahead of the curve by planning out your year ahead of time. Make a calendar with all the festivals, songwriting contests, release dates, marketing campaigns and music events like conferences on the calendar. Then dive deeper into each quarter and get all of your concerts, event dates, etc., on the calendar. Bam. Here at CCVM, we live by our pre-planning! It feels SO good. Getting on top of your schedule affords you so much more time and freedom. It is an essential part of a successful music career and is a crucial music management tool.


5. Live the Calendar.

Harvard Business Review came out with the results of a study on time management a few years ago that basically said the “to do list” is dead. When it comes to music career management, the trick to being more productive is actually putting your to-do list (in order of importance) in your calendar and slotting the time for each task on a daily-weekly-monthly-yearly basis.

This step has made all the difference in mastering my time and schedule, and has allowed me to see just how much time I need to spare per task. The result of this small tweak allows me to make better decisions that bring more profit to my company, more satisfaction to my clients and more business growth. Now it’s time to apply this to your music career. Try it, you’ll never look back.


6. Use a Project Management Software.

One of the things I tell artists all the time is to stop looking for a manager and hire an assistant – a really good one. The first step to running your music business well is delegating tasks (first knowing what they are and how much time they take). The best way to do that is to plug all of your to do’s into a project management software. Me and Team Cole are addicts of Asana. It allows us to track all of our projects, emails related to those projects, due dates, and calendars in one glance. Productivity = love. This will take your music management skills to a whole new level. Do it.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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