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How To Really Push Your Music Forward

Connie Lim
Connie Lim uses a principle from Stephen Covey to cut through the “noise” and find her way forward.

I love self help books. LOVE them. Can’t get enough of them.

My love for self help books started when I was about 14, and my (awesome) Aunt Alice gave me a book by Stephen Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers”. I remember gobbling up the book and implementing as many of Covey’s tips as I could. I made to do lists before I went to bed, setting intentions for the next day. That’s the main one that I still strive to do as much as possible. Fast forward to about 2 year ago, my friend tells me about the important vs. urgent diagram, as created by the very same Stephen Covey (he’s brilliant!). This diagram changed my workflow, which then changed the path of my career for the better.

Here’s the diagram, courtesy of Stephen Covey:

Stephen Covey breaks down the 4 types of tasks that people spend their time on. He urges his readers to focus on quadrant 2. http://creativesource.com.ph/try-stephen-coveys-secret-to-getting-things-done/

According to Covey, highly effective people like to spend most of their time in quadrant 2. Read more.


Rather than spending most of my time keeping my head above water (e.g. trying to play catch up with paying bills, replying to emails, running errands and doing last minute favours for people), I strive to spend my time doing what is IMPORTANT, e.g. networking, listening to new music, dissecting other artist’s lyrics, watching artist interviews, diving into a new genre of music, brainstorming keywords for my brand, creating a design Pinterest board to show my managers what my brand’s aesthetic is, daydreaming about what kind of performer I want to be, and fine-tuning my lyrical messages.

If I’m always focused on just catching up with what’s URGENT, which is what most people are doing, I won’t get to do higher level thinking

How do you tell if a task is important vs. urgent? Well, an important task is the type where I won’t die or get kicked out of my house if I don’t do it. Of course, the urgent is unavoidable. However, if I’m always focused on just catching up with what’s URGENT, which is what most people are doing, I won’t get to do higher level thinking, which will push my project to higher stratospheres of creativity.

Some steps to make more room for the quadrant 2 tasks:

  1. Set boundaries with friends and family.
  2. Schedule out times where you promise yourself that you will focus on bigger picture thinking. Start off with a big picture afternoon a week, and then start expanding from there.
  3. Pair up with another driven friend, and hold each other accountable. Call each other up, or go for coffee to discuss your plans and revelations.
  4. Invite a group of friends you are inspired by, and start talking about creative victories and creative challenges. Bring food. Have fun. Laugh. Share. And then do it again the next month.

In our era of new technology and online platforms, a seemingly infinite number of people uploading their music online.

At the same time, the new technology has provided a seemingly infinite number of distractions, wasting valuable time.

I truly believe that with consistent commitment towards spending time in Stephen Covey’s 2nd quadrant, we can successfully cut through the noise.

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  • Kathy Coneys Alexander

    Great stuff! Thanks for reminding me of Covey’s amazing teachings – so important for artists!