Too busy for details

Two years ago I started what was a “reboot” or everything I was involved in with music. The idea was to return to the basics and eliminate things that ultimately didn’t matter. It turned out that I was wasting a lot of time on non-essential work and was so far behind on everything important that I grew to loathe doing what I do. That’s tough.

The process was at times unbearable. I consistently questioned whether I was doing the right thing and even if I should bother continuing. It was too much work. Too daunting. Very discouraging. I didn’t see a lot of grace even though I apologized frequently for letting people down (because of delays etc). The whole process felt awkward.

Where did I start?

I made a list of everything I do. I wrote out all of my responsibilities. Then I put it away for a week and came back to it. I started crossing off things that were not important and in some cases things I enjoyed but weren’t important. Tough to do. One of the reasons I was in the position I was is that I said “yes” too often when I shouldn’t have. I also deviated from the plan that got me to where I am in the first place. The first month of the process was eye opening and helped me recognize how far the goal was away and yet that it was attainable.

Now what?

The list was prioritized. It was 8 full pages written out by hand. I figured that I had listed about 500 projects. Some that take a few minutes and others months… a few even years. As I worked through the list I constantly reassessed and reworked the list. I resisted the temptation to continue adding. That was a problem early on. Internally I continued to fight the process but knew that eventually it was going to be worth it.

The process is near the end.

For the first 18 months I doubted, struggled and wondered often “what the heck am I doing?” sometimes every day. The last 3-6 months have been the most rewarding. All that early groundwork is now showing dividends. It’s funny how that works. The work now is no less important than the work at the start. Yet I felt entirely differently.

The nugget of gold.

Details. I had a clear objective overall and in each individual part of the plan. Sticking with the details is what will make this all a success. It has worked. The funny thing is that I hadn’t even considered early on just how important the details were. I just went to work.

In a landscape of life and music, it’s busy. Things move very fast. Details are forgotten. Overlooked. Unresearched. We’re so busy looking towards this “goal” that we forget the important details. These details are often the foundation of success.

On a daily basis I see a lot of music that’s obviously rushed. I see records released by artists and record labels with no real plan. Well, their plan is to emulate and copy other peoples plans. Unfortunately, the people they are following haven’t paid attention to details either. People matter. If people matter, you should be intensely concerned about details. It’s stewardship. Sloppily rolling out your album release reflects on you. It reflects on your message. It affects your bottom line. Whether you’re worried about ministry, business or a healthy mix of both… be a good steward. Be detail oriented. If you don’t really know what you’re doing… get help from someone who does. KNOW what you’re doing and why you’re doing it rather than following some mythical model of “this is how so and so does it”.

Don’t be too busy for details. They matter. I learned that again after 2 years and 5000+ hours or work during that time. I’m thankful I did it right.

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