Six Tips to Get You Organized

acousitc guitar electric guitar free tips guitar coach holiday managing a schedule music city music goals music mindset nashville songwriter organization songwriting guitarist successful musician ways to stay organized Jan 10, 2022

It’s the holiday season which means either you’re the busiest you’ve been all year, or you’re forgetting to do some things you need to do.

For me, it’s the busiest I’ve been all year because amongst writing to last minute briefs, scheduled co-writes, and my coaching business, I’m moving to Nashville. During this process, there are SO MANY BOXES in my life! So I’m here filling physical boxes as well as ticking off the boxes on my to do list.  

I’m busy, but I’m not completely overwhelmed, and I’m looking around going, “This is manageable”... So I ask myself, why is what I’m doing working, even during the busiest time, and how can it help you? 

 A great end to the year can also mean a great start to the year, and I want you to be able to keep up your pace in a manageable way so you don’t lose all the progress you’ve made this winter. We all know that slump that comes after the holidays, but it doesn’t have to this year!

So it’s 9:09 in the morning, I have a couple weeks until I get in a moving truck, my house is currently filled with big brown boxes and what am I doing? Tuning vocals. Why? Because I committed to this song and I have a timeline. These are songs that have to get done in a certain timeframe.

So even during a crazy time like moving during the holidays, I’m able to do it because of six main things: 

  1. Write everything down, and list it in order of importance

If you have a million things to do, don’t let it just fester in your mind. Get it on paper, take a step back and list it in order of what needs to get done first. 

  1. Make timelines and get it on the calendar

Take the things that will take the longest as well as the most important things you have and put it in the calendar first, then build around that. This is your accountability for yourself. Be realistic and don’t set goals you know you won’t be able to make. 

  1. Get specific and break it into sizeable chunks 

Being realistic comes from knowing how long certain things take for you. The only way to know is start breaking down your process into steps and schedule those steps in the calendar. Getting as specific and chunky as possible and it  will help you do the thing, I promise! 

  1. Be accountable 

Tell who you’re working with your realistic timeline and the dates you have set for your goals. I often text my co-writers with a, “Hey I’ll send you a rough mix tomorrow”, not an, “I’ll send you something soon”. When you actually tell someone it’s more impactful and sticks. If you aren’t working with anyone at the moment, it’s important to stay accountable to yourself. Try asking a friend if they’ll be your accountability partner and tell them what your goals and dates are for your project. Ask them to check in if they don’t hear from you. 

  1. Follow through (Don’t be an asshole) 

In a perfect world it goes without saying, but follow through with what you committed to!  If you’re having trouble getting yourself to do the thing in time, you’re risking your reputation. If I tell an artist that I‘ll have this done by the end of the day and I don’t, it says to them, “Mike doesn’t mean what he says”. It’s not only my reputation on the line, but it’s my future writing happiness- I’m writing with people who I want to write with in the future so I want to keep a great working relationship.  And when writing with a bigger goal in mind, like getting into libraries or working with supervisors, it takes your accountability to a whole new level. Prepare for that, it’s going to happen.

  1. Follow a daily routine and work in self-care

You’ll have nothing if you don’t have your health, so take care and build habits. They are gratifying and they truly work. Here’s a general look at my daily schedule because it’s what keeps me happy and sane.

  • I make sure in the morning I have an hour to myself for 40 minutes where I don’t check my email or look at screens. It’s me and my coffee. 
  • I make a good breakfast to ensure the start to my day will be awesome 
  • No social media early on in the day. It’ll take you on distracting ride
  • Get to my designated work space and focus on my written goals. My schedule works because it follows a plan with systems and frameworks.
  • Exercise! (Yes, it’s scheduled in!)
  • Eat a healthy lunch like a salad, and fruit. It’s something that’s going to pull me up not drag me down.
  • Take good breaks between your focused work sessions
  • At the end of the day I have a cut off where I stop everything 
  • I do something entertaining. Last night I watched a favorite episode of Dr. Who and read a book
  • Wind down with meditation/quiet time
  • I go to bed early around the same time every night and make getting enough sleep at the top of my list of importance

 

These are the things that work for me and keep me going through busy times, but in the long run you have to find what works for your life. Keep in mind, your music career is a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to keep your health and your relationships at the center of importance. 

 

Mike Meiers is an Emmy Award-Winning songwriter, producer, and guitar coach. Mike currently writes for indie artists, has had placements for MTV, VH1 NPR, FOX Sports, History Channel, Showtime, and Target. He’s also the founder and coach at Songwriting For Guitar, helping songwriters enhance their guitar skills so they can write better songs and get them out into the world!

If you love fun and educational podcasts with caffeinated hosts and insightful guests, visit and subscribe to the Songwriting for Guitar Podcast.