Before I begin, yes, it’s been almost 6 months (again) since my last blog! Looks like I’m down to 2 comments a year (at least for this year) — then again, HOW MUCH does it matter up to this time — that I write these suggestions and thoughts? Well, I guess it depends on where you stand/sit at this time! How is your “use of time” working for you? Let’s examine a couple of things that could improve our production output/productivity.

O.K. I have a number of people telling me lately that they haven’t had much time to play music/their instrument(s), etc. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THEIR (OUR) PLIGHT! The reality is, if we want to have a productive, balanced and healthy life, we need to organize our lives so we can distribute all the necessary things and have them be a priority, in a routine and disciplined way (admittedly, there are many things competing for our attention).

It gets harder as we become more and more proficient on multiple instruments, become “engineers and producers,” and continue to keep everything “up.” Does this mean we are over-doing it, somehow? Are we being a bit “unrealistic?”

As I face this “almost nightmare” on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis (lifetime, etc.!!!), I have observed that IT CAN BE THAT we put too many things onto our “daily plate.”

It is more probable (and possible!) at some point or time, to only pick a few things to work on and be consistent with them for a (short/temporary) determined amount of time. Let’s say we pick, for example, a period of about 3 months (like a semester). This, of course, does not include the basics of eating, sleeping and exercise — these 3 are “essentials” and need always be on “the plate.” If we can allow for occasional exceptions, not being too perfectionistic (too type A about it), we can actually take very good care of ourselves, not get burned-out and be most productive!

During the past 5-6 months since my last (early-November) post, I decided to rearrange every room in my house. I needed to re-organize each room, so I could be more focused throughout the day and have more order — each room would be more “individual” and not seem like “extensions of each other” (basically, because there were all kinds of things in every room). Everything was “everywhere” and I simply couldn’t continue to function productively and focus, kind of a “fung-shui” (pronounced “fung-shoo-way”) problem. It turned out that it took about 6-8 weeks (from December into January), and during that time, I basically didn’t produce much output, musically or “effectively.” BUT, I did continue to study, create and practice (not at the normal pace, though). The end point/result was having the joy of now being able to move forward and go back into the sketches and creative sparks that I couldn’t really focus on…and work on/finish them!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Even though it was a transitional and mostly unproductive time (creatively), I was happy to feel as though I didn’t lose any “skill” and kept moving forward — but it did feel like it was all going much slower. My early and main mentor (in my teens), Ted Greene, once said: “Think of it like the bow-and-arrow principle, where you go backwards to go forwards.” I went backward a bit, to plan for a more productive environment that would propel me in a forward direction, and for that matter, in a greater and increased rate once I had my proverbial ” house in order.” For the past 2 months or so, I have felt so “free” and I now get more done in less time — what a great BUZZ!

If you need more help with this kind of thinking, in a personal and individual way, contact me and we can tune-in to it. I think you’ll be really happy you did — I’M ECSTATIC. Things haven’t been so nice in my “pad” in years. And, it feels great. I hope you will be more motivated to accomplish even greater feats as you continue to better organize your life AND YOUR MUSIC! It’s a really cool thing to have “all things in their place” (as much as is humanly possible…especially these days!).

Carry on, and keep on plugging…

Musically yours,

Philippe Willems :-)