Lack of planning at any level, by anyone, can lead to a paralyzing fear of failure. This bogeyman becomes contagious, spreading the infection of defeat throughout an organization. But there are some prodigiously fine tips on productivity that can be learned from musicians. They face daunting challenges on a daily basis, and have had to learn how to be productive in order to survive. So spread out your sheet music and start to hit the high notes!

1. B.B. King

B.B. King was known as "King of the Blues." He said he attained his throne following two simple rules: "I never play out of my range, and I let my manager handle the business side of things so I can keep playing the music without distractions."

Another way to say this is: Concentrate on what you're best at, and let someone else (paid, volunteer, app, or partner) take care of everything else.

2. Joe Cocker

David Fricke, a former writer for Rolling Stone, wrote about Joe Cocker, the British soul singer. Fricke says, "He had an almost superstitious fear of scheduled meetings of any kind. If he had a scheduled meeting he became very nervous and irritable. 'Meetings are worse than torture' he often told me. 'They suck the soul out of me and I can't sing for hours afterwards!'"

Since most people are not world-famous singers like Mr. Cocker, they have to endure an occasional meeting or two. But always set a time limit to meetings, otherwise they can indeed suck the soul out of you.

3. Vinnie Colaiuta

This famous drummer is quoted on his website as saying, "Groove doesn’t just apply to something simple. Groove is groove, period, no matter how many friggin’ notes are in the bar or how dense the content of the music is and all that crap. Groove is the most natural consequence of the flow of the music. You just have to know that you’re making a statement with it."

Whether you've got a master's degree in music production or went to beauty school, to be productive you have to know how to make a statement, and then let it guide you.

4. Chet Atkins

Not only was he a famous guitarist, but at one time also headed RCA Records. This man managed to record over 100 albums during his lifetime. His secret to productivity? He said, "I was raised on a farm, and we had to get up every morning at 5 a.m. for chores. When I ran RCA records it was no different--I was up with the birds and at the office by 7 a.m. That way I had most of my work done by noon, and could then do a recording session before dinner time." In other words, alarm clocks are not oudated.

5. Leroy Anderson

Anderson composed such famous light concert pieces as "The Typewriter" and "The Waltzing Cat." He often told reporters that he could never concentrate on writing music unless he went back to his childhood home in Massachusetts, where he felt completely relaxed and comfortable.

What kind of work environment makes you the most productive? Laid-back and noisy, or gray-walled and silent? Everyone has different standards when it comes to producing their best; figure out what your optimum environment is and then be there when you need to be at your most productive.

6. Bono

Born Paul David Hewson, Bono is not only the lead singer for U2 but also an internationally recognized humanitarian. He credits much of his energy and organization to a regimen of daily smoothies. "I drink soy-based smoothies in the morning--lots of fruit in it," he says, "and then for lunch it's a veggie smoothie, sometimes with Irish soda bread on the side, sometimes not. Dinner is another smoothie--dealer's choice. Plus lean protein of some kind."

Your body will tell you what it needs to perform at peak by how it behaves when you're under deadline--maybe that bottle of wine for lunch was not such a good idea after all.

Published on: Jul 30, 2015
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