I guess I went there.
Excuses. I have a million of them. I all too often let them get in the way. They get in the way of accomplishing just about anything I could wish to accomplish. The truly successful know how to either ignore the obstacles that lead to the excuse or better yet can look at the obstacle as a direct challenge and face it head on.
That all sounds really good — motivational even — right? Meh. We’re not all type A.
People are people. Personalities come a wide variety of compound mixtures. In my opinion, most people try to make everything black or white — either Type A or Type B. I think there are way many more types and combinations than just those two.
Type A people are typically outspoken, driven, and focused. Many highly successful people are type A. But I’ll bet there are as many successful people that aren’t type A as there are type A people that aren’t particularly focused.
What the hell am I rambling about…
Oh yeah. Focus.
Many of those obstacles need to be dealt with. I’m guilty of trying to avoid many, but others simply can’t be avoided. What’s worse is, some of them take up much free time. Sometimes they take up so much time that I forget where I left off with whatever goal it was I was trying to accomplish, or more often than I’d like to admit, forget completely what it was I was working on in the first place.
Then I discovered that most basic tool. The notepad.
If you find that you’re not Type A and / or you’re often losing site of various tasks, projects, and goals, write it down. Keep a list of tasks or steps in a project.
There’s good reason that just about any rock band in existence today goes on stage with a set list, no matter how well rehearsed their act is. They’re also very handy for rehearsals themselves. Ever hear anyone in your band, after stopping for 5 minutes to discuss a particular line or riff in a song say, “what song are we working on again?” or, “We’ve rehearsed 5 songs already. What ones do we have left?”
Right now I’m bouncing back and forth between playing and recording in a band and trying to record some of my own material. I’m a dad of 3 young kids with a full time job. I can afford maybe one three hour session to rehearse and record per week. If I’m lucky, I’ll find some time on the weekend to dedicate to music.
That means when I’m working with the band, my personal material sits. Sometimes, for as much as a month or two. Pencil/paper, my iPhone and whiteboards are my best friends these days.
I record notes and lists on my iPhone. A simple song list keeps me focused on what I need to record. Once I start on a song, I’ll track what I’ve completed recording and what parts or instruments still need completing.
The band keeps a whiteboard with overall set list, recording steps, and a whole bunch of other info that’s available at a glance. I think each of us even have photos of the whiteboard on our phones.
When in doubt, always have a pen and paper near by. You never know what it will come in handy for. I keep one of each in my guitar case. I find at times I’ll need to transcribe something to remember to practice at home. I’ll jot it down on the notepad so that it’s right there when I open my case. I can often include more details on a note pad than I can on my iPhone.
It’s easy for me to say in any one of these situations, “I’ll remember that.” I did that once as a wee lad when I met this cute little chickadee at the roller rink. “I’ll remember your phone number.” I didn’t. And I never saw her again. Painful lesson learned.