How to Get More Done in Your Music School in Less Time | Ep 163

Get More Done in Your Music School

Do you have a to-do list? A never-ending to-do list with different tasks and different projects? A to-do list that’s overwhelming. Perhaps it’s a to-do list that keeps growing and growing, even as you cross things off the list. This to-do list can be a source of stress. It can lead to a person feeling overwhelmed. I want to share with you a system that I’ve developed for myself that’s eliminated that feeling of overwhelm, that’s allowed me to gain control of my to-do list, and more importantly, that’s allowed me to focus on the projects and tasks that are going to lead to growth and move the needle in my business. There’s no reason why it can’t do the same for you and your music school.


Simplifying Your To-Do List

One way to eliminate overwhelm with your to-do list is to get it all on paper. I have two different notebooks that I work out of. I have a flimsy notebook that’s focused on the things that I want to do today. I also use a second book: a large-sized hardcover book. This book is for where I think out loud on paper, where I set goals for my business, and where I strategize. It’s for creative thinking. That’s where my to-do list resides, in my hardcover notebook.


In anyone’s to-do list, there are certain tasks that require just a few minutes of time. For example, enrolling in a summer camp fair or updating my Google My Business page. These types of tasks don’t demand a lot of time. Some tasks don’t have anything necessarily to do with your business, but they are things that you personally have to get done. Schedule an appointment with my dentist, something you have to do. It’s not necessarily time-sensitive, but it’s nonetheless on your mind.


Any idea, task, or project that lives in your mind and not on paper, is a likely source of stress. The moment you put your idea down on paper you can safely forget about it. It’s documented on the page for future reference.


Get it Out of Your Head and Onto Paper

Any idea, task, or project that lives in your mind and not on paper, is a likely source of stress. The moment you put your idea down on paper you can safely forget about it. It’s documented on the page for future reference. The first step is to do a massive mind dump. You might have this long to-do list. Some of those tasks are tasks that are going to move the needle in your business. Either they will lead to growth or improve customer retention. Quite often, these types of tasks have multiple steps involved with them. Any type of task that has more than two steps is a project at that point. I’d like to identify which of the tasks on my list can lead to growth and which ones have multiple steps involved and pull those tasks off onto another page. This is my project list now.


How to Make Big Projects Seem Less Overwhelming

People get overwhelmed with projects because there are multiple steps involved, and they perceive it as a major time commitment. They don’t have that kind of time. The moment you map out each step and, more importantly, the first step that you want to take, it becomes a lot less overwhelming. For example, just for this podcast episode, I came up with three projects that a music school owner might have. Three projects that might seem overwhelming when they’re just sitting there on a to-do list.


Example 1: Revamping Your Home Page

One project is to revamp the homepage for your website. Clearly, there are going to be multiple steps.


Example 2: Delegating Social Media

Another project with multiple steps that could lead to growth is to delegate your social media. You’re troubled by how much time you’re spending on social media each day. You may even doubt how impactful it is. It’s important, but you find yourself spending one to two hours a day on it, and you finally decide that you’re going to delegate it. You’re not sure how, but you know that you want to delegate it.


Example 2: Creating a Promotional Video For Your Music School

Then, another task is to make a promotional video for your music school. Like the website, that’s clearly a massive project. These seemingly massive and overwhelming projects often can sit on a to-do list for months, because they’re intimidating and they’re overwhelming. Revamp your homepage. Maybe even redo your website. That’s something that’s likely to sit on a to-do list for a long time. Yes, it’s important. How are you going to find time to do that?


Creating a promotional video also can be overwhelming. Yes, it’s important. You know how it could help your business grow, but you just can’t seem to find the time to do it. With each one of these projects, there’s clearly going to be multiple steps involved. I mapped out what the next steps would likely be. I also wrote next to each step how long I anticipated a certain step would take.


Any project that I’m working on that requires focus and creative work is done first thing in the morning. I have my second cup of coffee, turn my phone off and devote a solid hour to deep work.


How to Redo Your Websites Homepage

My first step might be to identify three websites that I want to turn to for ideas and inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with finding two or three websites to use as a reference point for your website. I anticipate that this will take me 45 minutes, maybe an hour to do.”


The second step would be to sketch out a layout on paper of what I would like my homepage to look like. The third step would be to hire a website designer from Upwork or Fiverr. That might take an hour of my time or more. The fourth step is to hire a photographer so I can get some good photos. I know I need a better featured image on my website. I budget an hour and a half to look for a local photographer, schedule the photo session, coordinate, or be on site during the photo session to help guide the photographer. It’s only going to cost maybe three or four hundred dollars to find a good local photographer to come out for an hour in your music school.


Finally, the fifth step is to write sales copy for this new homepage, which might  take three hours. All of a sudden, this overwhelming, seemingly time-consuming project becomes a lot less overwhelming. It’s only an eight-hour project. I actually threw a couple of hours on into the total time. I always add one or two extra hours to any project, as it always takes longer than what I initially anticipated. In the case of revamping this homepage for my website, the project will take eight hours to get done.


Where am I going to find the time? I’m going to stretch it out over a period of two weeks. I’m going to devote an hour a day in the morning to working on this project. I’ve decided that this project is a top priority. For a period of two weeks to three weeks on my calendar I might decided to devote an hour a day to the project. I can totally forget about this project, because it’s on my calendar. I commit to a set time for a period of two to three weeks to complete the project.


Delegating Social Media

My next project is to delegate the management of my social media. Maybe I’m not so clear as to how to actually do this. I know I need to do this, but I’m just not clear as to how to go about it. The first step is to Google “How to delegate my social media”. I need to go into research mode, and it’s going to take me half an hour. The second step is to define the process, which might take an hour and a half. I don’t know how to delegate my social media yet. I know I need to define a process. I’m going to learn on how to do that, hopefully from my research. Then, I’m going to manage the person or the people I’m delegating my social media to.


This type of activity, since I’m in research mode, isn’t going to have the same creative demands at this point as the website project. Any project that I’m working on that requires focus and creative work is done first thing in the morning. I have my second cup of coffee, turn my phone off and devote a solid hour to deep work. I’m completely focused on the task at hand. Whereas this delegating social media, I’m not clear how to do that. I can go and watch some YouTube videos and take notes. My brain doesn’t have to be necessarily as focused and clear as when I implement the actual social media plan.


I roughly estimate how long it’s going to take to figure out how to delegate my social media, when during the day do I want to do it? And since it’s only a two to three hour time commitment in terms of this first phase, I might do it in a period of just two days. With this particular project, I’d be inclined to do it at night when my brain’s little bit more tired,.most likely this project’s going to lead to another project, a project that’s going to entail different post types, language to use and social media brand language. I might decide that this work I need to do in the morning, when my brain is well rested and ready for some deep work.


How to Create a Promotional Video For Your Music School

Let’s say I decide I want it to make a promotional video that focuses on customer testimonials. I have no idea how to do this.  I start out with research. I’m going to look up how to create a promotional video for my business. I like consuming content on YouTube, so I’m inclined to do it on YouTube. Figure it’s going to take an hour of my time, watching videos and taking notes. I know that I’m going to have to write out questions to try to get these testimonials from parents. Through my research, I discovered that there’s an application out there called VideoAsk that allows me to capture testimonials. I know I’m going to have to create some sort of process for how I’m going to get all these testimonial videos and share them with some video editor that I’m going to hire at some point.


That’s going to take maybe an hour of my time, figuring out the questions and the process. I know I’m going to email parents that I want testimonials from. I’m probably going to have to write up some follow-up emails because I’m not hearing back from everybody. That’s going to maybe take an hour of my time. I’m going to have to hire a video editor. I don’t have a video editor. I go onto Upwork again, or I go to Fiverr. It’s going to maybe take an hour, hour, and a half of my time to find that video editor. I’m going to have to write out instructions for the video editor as to how I want them to put this video together. I got some great ideas on how to do this from my research on, YouTube. This is going to take maybe 30 minutes, or an hour of my time.


I’m also going to need to write a script for this video. This might take an hour of my time. Perhaps I decide that I want this video to look slick and sound professional, so I’m going to hire a voice actor, or actress to do the voiceover. Once again, I’m back up on Upwork, or Fiverr hire this voice actor or actress. This would take an hour of my time. At some point, I’m going to send these different videos and, and audio to my editor. Most likely there’s going to be some back and forth. They’re going to do an edit, probably going to give that person some feedback. They’re going to have to go back and make some additional edits. This could be an additional hour and a half of my time, of watching what they created, writing notes as to what I want to be changed. This whole project going to take about six hours and I might be inclined to stretch these six hours over a two or three-week period, just like the homepage of my website took two to three weeks.


Mapping Out a Long Term Strategy

None of these projects now are a source of stress. I’ve identified all the steps that I need to take in order to implement the project from start to finish. Perhaps I missed a few points that I’m going to have to add. I can’t do these projects all at the same time. Let’s say I decided revamping my home page, that’s the most important project. I’m going to do that in the last three weeks of February. I’m going to do social media, delegating social media as well during the evening during that time period. I’m not going to deal with the testimonial promotional video until March. Perhaps, I come to the conclusion that I’m most likely underestimating the time it’s going to take. I would ibe inclined to block add an extra week or two to any project that I suspect will take longer than I’m planning on. As the old adage goes, “it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.”


I would do this for every, multi-step project that’s on your to-do list. I currently have 25 projects on my to-do list that I’ve identified. I’ve already mapped out when during the year I’m going to do them. For certain projects, I might think “I could wait until May for this.” I map out the steps, but I know I’ll deal with it later in terms of actually implementing it. I already actually have these on my calendar. When it comes up, I’ll get at a reminder that I now need to implement this project.


In Review

You want to go through your to-do list and identify which tasks are going to move the needle in your business, are going to lead to growth, or improve customer retention. If some of these tasks are just a one-step task, commit to implementing them as soon as possible. Most likely a lot of these tasks have multiple steps. If it has more than two steps, it’s a project. Map out each step, identify how long each step is going to take. Don’t try to do it all in one day. Stretch out the project over a period of time, by getting all of your ideas on paper and mapping out a process for implementing your ideas, and committing to a timeframe. I promise you, it will eliminate overwhelm and stress in your life, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly growth-oriented projects become a reality.


Questions For You

  1. Do you ever struggle with a feeling of overwhelm from your to-do list?
  2. What are some things you can do today to eliminate that feeling?
  3. What’s your number takeaway from this show?


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