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September 9, 2008 / alunatunes

September 9- Using the tools of your trade

Moonstruck's Sunroom Office




“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In elementary science, we learned that tools are used as aids in mechanical operations. Tools are a means to an end. Students use pencils, books, rulers, protractors. Teachers utilize chalk boards, cirriculum planning, hands on lessons to teach.

A musician’s tools are a unique combination of the tangible and intangible.  We ply our physical tools (instruments, voice, writing) with our spirit tools (desire to communicate, touch, move) to create our own connection to Source and pass that joy along to others.

The tool box of a musician building a dream will contain concrete helping objects (desk,chair, notebooks, pens, pencils, calendars, maps, computers) as well as spirit based thoughts  (the call of your craft, desire, the blessings of words and music). To properly align yourself with opportunity, you must prepare and ply both the practical aspects of your calling as well as your authentic and deep desires.

In an age of computer calendars and databases and palm pilots that can contain presentations, a tactile calendar, address book and notebook are personal and physical reminders of what we are doing and why. It’s not easy to “personalize” a palm pilot but it’s fun and creative to customize notebooks and calendars and make them our own. A physical notebook and calendar never crash or have a day when they cannot connect to the internet.

Your tools should include a fold out 16 month calendar. I find these yearly in dollar and discount stores. Colored pencils work great when entering data in your calendar- maybe green (a money color) could denote scheduled shows, maybe blue (a calming hue) could mark special enjoyable activities or mini vacations. Don’t forget to list birthdays and anniversaries and family events. Even if a tour schedule permits you from attending a special function, a timely card will show you care and will work to establish balance between work and family.

A spiral bound notebook is extremely helpful in tracking day to day business. The night before a dedicated “corner and chair ” day , list what you would like to accomplish, tasks and plans. When you wake, you’ll have a dedicated plan of attack to accomplish your task list. My notebook is a physical reminder of what i need to do on certain days, whether it’s a trip to the post office, a meeting or certain phone calls that must be made, my notebook is my first tool of defense to control the day.

Plain notebook paper is an awesome and powerful tool when used correctly. I use loose leaf paper as “assignment sheets” for ideas and notes about tasks large and small. While a notebook is effective for lists and to do’s, a sheet of paper contains the idea and what you do to implement it.  Let’s suppose in the middle of serving Sally a salad at the diner, you remember your aunt’s second cousin lives in Memphis and you’re planning shows there. It would be nice to re-establish connection with her to see if you could possibly stay there for a couple of days. Scribble the thought on a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket. At home, file the paper with phone calls for the next day. This process is two fold. It gets the thought out of your head so you don’t have to “keep remembering it” for long enough to act on it. And it gives you the ability to track your actions to achieve the goal.

I use a divided 31 day planner to organize my assignment sheets. I can easily turn to September 9 and know exactly what my tasks are for that day. If i cannot make contact with someone in my task folder, I refile the paper for later in the week.  This tool too was purchased at a yardsale for a quarter. If I’m able to reach a contact and they ask me to send a package or call them next month, those tasks are noted on my assignment sheet. The sent pacakge is posted in another postage notebook (again a simple spiral bound notebook) along with the persons name, the date of the send and which band I sent information for.

Make sure your tools are not only functional but  pleasing to you.Your notebooks and tactile tools should reflect you and contain symbols or words that motivate and inspire. My physical database is in a red leather notebook with a gold chinese dragon on the front that cost two dollars in a second hand treasure shop. Each time I search for a number or address, I’m met with the visual of a powerful dragon (one of my favorite symbols). The calendar I use everyday as a booking agent has notes and stickers from my nieces glued or taped to the front to remind me that balance is essential.  My telephone is a plain black affair but sits in the prosperity corner of my desk. My wipe-off board is laden with quotes and prayers and things to remember written in colorful markers. Crystals hang in the prosperity window of my office and I’m surrounded by books and meaningful momentos. My office is uncluttered and highly functional and serves me well. I feel fortunate to have a work-spirit center. Maybe that is the most important aspect to bring to a creative center: a grateful heart.


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