I hope you had a wonderful, quiet Thanksgiving. My family and I spent the week poking around the 4-corners region of the United States. It was just the four of us and we hardly interacted with anyone for days. The fresh air and beautiful sights were just what I needed to reenergize for December. I hope your Thanksgiving break was also a time to recharge.
Thanks again for reading and I hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter.
Financial Stability Tip: Set A Budget
When 2006 rolled around, my wife and I had over $126,000 in debt between the two of us, not including our mortgage. Between student loans for two doctorates, car loans, and credit card debt, our minimum monthly debt payments equaled about as much as we were paying for our mortgage. It wasn’t until I landed my first position as a college professor in 2007 that we began the 10-year process of paying down our debt.
Tip: We were finally able to start digging out when we set a budget that included a plan for tackling our debt, head on. If you are not already setting a budget each month, it’s time to start. Here’s a post I wrote about creating a budget that you might find useful and I strongly encourage you to start using You Need A Budget (YNAB), an online budgeting tool that I use to this day.
Work/Life Balance Tip: Combating Time Confetti
Author Ashley Whillans describes time confetti, as “little bits of seconds and minutes lost to unproductive multitasking.” Coined by Brigid Schulte, I think time confetti is one of the biggest threats to our ability to achieve work/life balance. It’s not the interruptions on an individual basis that cause great distraction, it’s the intermittent pings from our phone, or the “urgent” email from a colleague that has to be handled right then and there that are cumulative. These distractions weren’t present 50 years ago and, while technology has done a lot to help us become more efficient in our daily routine, it has also made it really difficult to engage in deep thought and contemplation.
Tip: First, turn off all notifications on your phone and computer. The pings you receive are disastrous for your ability to concentrate. Second, meditate just a bit before you start your big projects to focus your energy on the task at hand. Even 4-5 minutes of meditation can help you get into your most important work more quickly. Finally, check out this great post by Ashley Whillans about Time Confetti.
Tips On Finding Meaning: Setting Spiritual Goals
If I had to describe my spiritual journey, I would say that I’m a work in progress. My spirituality is driven by my deep desire to help others and the constant search to find beauty and joy in the world. I live by these words: Your success is my success. Setting spiritual goals is something that I’ve been thinking about lately, especially as I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on my life and career.
Tip: Think about how the most important things in your life fit into your spiritual journey. The newsletter, The Examined Life, is an incredible resource for contemplating your spirituality. In a recent post, author Amogh Pant lays out 7 ways to nurture a conscious, spiritual attitude in our daily life, which is a great way to think about your work from a spiritual perspective.
Field Notes: Virtual Touring
Many musicians I work with start their careers on tour, giving performances in a different community every night while simultaneously seeing the world. While many emerging artists love to be out on the road, this lifestyle is not without its challenges and I find that it doesn’t take long before life gets in the way of an ambitious tour schedule. A member of the band wants to spend more time with their family, while another really just wants to be home so they can write more music or record their next album. Add the fact that the pandemic has shut down the live performance circuit in this country and it really gets me thinking about pivoting away from live performance towards intimate, online performances. I’m not even sure what that would look like and I’m not suggesting that we abandon live performance, but what if this is the performing arts opportunity to balance how we engage with our audience?
Tip: In order to have a chance at a thriving online career, you have to start building your online community, now! Choose a social media platform and start creating. The content you create OFF the stage is as important as your actual performances. This article by Nathan Baschez has some great perspectives on ways to think about virtual touring. I think the concept of virtual touring is in its earliest stages so it’s a wide-open space to create.
The Way Things Work: Twitter Inspiration
As some of you know, I’ve been all in on Twitter for the past few weeks. After having an account since 2009, I finally understand its value. Long story short, if you follow the right people and use the platform truly as a way to learn, while developing how you communicate with your audience, there is no better social media platform. I’m on week four of a five month commitment to post regularly on the platform and I’ve already learned so much.
Tip: Regardless of your social media platform, set a plan for when you will post and use a site like Buffer to schedule your posts in advance. I can now bank about a weeks worth of tweets in just under an hour. The biggest challenge I’ve found is knowing what to tweet. Fortunately, I came across this amazing post that provides marketing examples for every type of tweet/ social media post you can imagine.
Things I Loved:
- I first heard Doreen Ketchens here. Then, I went down a rabbit hole and found this gem! Mind. Blown!!
- This is some kind of weird metaphor for my life.
- A new email service? I’ll check it out this week and let you know.
- Here’s a fantastic thread on Josh Waitzkin that discusses 5 different mental models he uses in his life.
- Finally, I was feeling a little nostalgic this week.
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