My mentors always said to me:
You’ve got to plan your work and work your plan.
It’s a rare person who does this. Because many people, often without even realizing, say one thing and do the other.
Integrity and leadership begins with self. No one is going to master your schedule for you. You’ve got to be the one to keep accountable to doing what you say you’re going to do.
Know yourself as your word, and the following steps will help you make all your artistic ambitions a reality in 2022 and beyond. This is the same method I used to accomplish more in nine months than I have in three years.
1. Create Your Unfolding Plan
No, not a plan. An unfolding plan.
And while some might argue that’s little more than semantics, I have personally experienced and observed the difference an unfolding plan can make. The usual rigmarole of setting New Years Resolutions and hoping and praying they will manifest all on their own is a lost cause. If you’re a proponent of laziness and sloth, this article is not for you, and you would be better served with mainstream spiritual shlock.
One of the all-time best-selling authors said:
Begin with the end in mind.
Who was it? Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey. You would not be any worse off reading his volume, paying careful attention to Covey’s quadrants, which are the definitive pillars of personal productivity.
The unfolding plan, as you’ve surely inferred already, begins with the end in mind and is unfolded from there.
How to Set Up Your Unfolding Plan
The basic framework is as follows:
- Look three months ahead. What will you have accomplished? Envision it in rich detail, including the celebration party that follows, and write it all down as a done deal (e.g., “we have launched a Grammy Award winning album”).
- What will you have accomplished in month one (first milestone) to have gotten the outcome defined in the final step? Write that down.
- What will you have accomplished in month two (second milestone) to have gotten the outcome defined in the final step? Write that down.
- What are the weekly actions that will support you in reaching your milestones and outcome? Create these actions as promises, requests (of others), and conversations to be had.
- Create a space to document your accomplishments, update as you go, and review them often. You will be surprised and amazed at what ultimately gets done.
2. Build Your Team
We’re all lone wolves. Only some are willing to admit it.We’re all lone wolves. Only some are willing to admit it. Click To Tweet
You will get better results in your endeavors if you allow others to contribute to you and your projects.
Though I’m harping on a point I’ve raised many times already, fundamentally your team can take any form. Not everyone on your team needs to be a paid employee, but ideally, they are personally incentivized.
Today, you have access to:
- Friend, family, colleagues
- Your social media network
- Freelancers on Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, Funnel Rolodex
- And a great deal more
Once you’ve built your team, hold weekly meetings and ask plenty of questions. Listen to the answers. The ideas you generate together will far surpass anything you can conceivably come up on your own.
Never micromanage. It’s a waste of your time, and it just annoys others when you don’t give them the space and time to fulfill on their promises. Don’t manage people – instead, manage promises and commitments.
And at the risk of sounding trendy, regularly ask “who?” not “how?”
How to Build Your Team
Place a phone call to a prospective team member. Be direct in sharing why you’re calling and what the conversation is going to be about. Share your idea and invite them to contribute. Whether you get a “yes” or “no,” accept the answer graciously. The outcome isn’t as important as the action taken. Keep making calls until you have a team of six.
Always take the time to get into their world and ask what’s important to them. There’s a way to help them get what they want through their participation in your project, and it’s your job to identify how that’s going to work.
3. Move Projects Forward with Urgent Concurrency
I’m an adventurer, looking for answers to the questions of creatives in a variety of niches, fields, and industries. This answer must be credited to author Dan Kennedy, and if you can still get in, a subscription to Magnetic Marketing will stimulate viable actions and enrich your creative endeavors.
“Successful people don’t do one thing, step by step, as we are taught in school,” says Kennedy. “They move multiple projects forward with great urgency.” This discovery was also mentioned in my holiday reflections, and it has been my modus operandi from the moment I heard it.
I run multiple businesses, write daily blog posts, participate in community projects, hold down multiple staff writing and ghostwriting contracts, make music, engage in personal development (I’m currently in a yearlong leadership program), and still have time enough to work out three times per week, keep a social life, and wind down for a couple of hours at the end of each day.
How to Move Projects Forward with Urgency Concurrency
Perfectionism will not serve you well. Learn when something is “good enough” and get used to publishing. The only way to get used to publishing is to publish regularly.
Have a start and end time for every activity in your life. Say, “X project must be done by Y time” and be unreasonable with yourself.
Minimize calls, meetings, and other distractions that might take you away from actioning your plan. Commit to weekly progress with every project.
We often assume complete freedom and crystal clarity in moving forward with next steps in our artistic career when we haven’t done the hard work of reflecting on the year past and identifying where and why we’re constrained.
If this describes you, you will profit from a read of my Start Your Year the Right Way, in which targeted prompts will guide you through exercises to complete years past so you are free and clear to act now in the present.
If you are looking for further guidance on the topic, a perusal of my products and services will serve you. I am always adding new solutions to help creatives just like you, and while I’m not affordable, I am worthwhile. Set yourself up to reach your 2022 objectives with flying colors.
What have you taken on in 2022? What do you intend to accomplish? What structures and systems have you implemented?