On 27th March, conductor and entrepreneur Chad Goodman held a small group coaching session for 5 musicians looking to inject some life into their projects. The advice he gave was too good not to share, so read on for some top tips that you can apply to your own work:

Split the work into smaller chunks

Sometimes a project can end up looking like a big, unmanageable lump. That can make it really difficult to see how to start, or to work out your next step. Instead, break the project into parts. It sounds simplistic, but creating a timeline of how you see the work progressing is a useful way of working out what comes next. If the project is in its infancy, you also might consider making a problem statement to gain perspective.

Schedule your work time and create a routine

Set a regular time where you work on this project: daily, or twice-weekly, for example. Whatever you can manage, diarise it and commit to it to make it stick. You don’t have to do exactly the same thing every time you sit down to work, but to make progress you have to do something, however small. Often the hardest thing is just showing up! Once you have created a detailed list of all the things that need to happen, it will be easier to do this because you can pick something to work on depending on how you feel.

Don’t forget the practical considerations

It’s easy to get carried away with the creative considerations of a project. After all, that’s why you’re doing it! But remember that there are practical considerations that need to be taken into account too: for example, if you’re hoping to publish a new song, have you thought about who will print it and how it will be bound? If you’re hoping to launch a new concert series in an unusual location, have you thought about where the chairs will come from and how many you’ll have? Leaving these things to the last minute can really put the brakes on for even the best projects.

Set yourself some deadlines

One of the main reasons why projects drag on and on, or never get quite over the finish line, is a lack of deadlines. Get your calendar out and set yourself some deadlines. Notice that deadlines is plural! Each part of the project will have its own deadline. That means that each time every small thing is completed, you get the satisfaction of ticking it off, which will also help with motivation.

Choose your collaborators

Even if this is a completely solo project, it’s good to have other people as a sounding board. It’s unlikely that you will have experience in every area of project management, so don’t be afraid to go to other people for advice. Perhaps you know someone who is excellent with budgeting, or graphic design, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice (and do be prepared to pay them if it gets a lot like work).

Stay accountable

It’s good to have people in your life who will keep you accountable. This could be other people writing project plans, or just interested friends, but whoever they are, encourage them to check in with you weekly to ask about your progress. It’s amazing what having to report back does to your productivity levels!

Ditch the perfectionism

It might not surprise you that many musicians are perfectionists, but did you know that one of the main causes of procrastination is perfectionism? If you have ever found yourself putting something off because you can’t see how to do it perfectly, then you’re not alone. Start small and start simple. Nothing has to be perfect the first time, and you have to have something in order to have something to improve. If perfectionism is something that you find is consistently holding you back, you might want to take up a new hobby to be bad at (seriously) or consider some coaching.

Read more: Chad Goodman's top tips for creating a wildly successful concert!

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