You can’t “do everything” but you can use the “Pizza Rule” to get it done, without losing your mind!
Ever feel like you aren’t getting anywhere…
- The to do list is growing and nothing ever gets crossed off it
- Not finishing enough songs, or finishing them fast enough
- Everything takes “too long”
- You aren’t happy with anything that you finish
- Nothing gets finished to your satisfaction
The frustration builds, impatience becomes normal, until you notice you are skipping your songwriting sessions… there’s too much else to do, or ever worse…
You don’t want to do anything except quit….
You’re trying to do everything… without finishing anything properly.
As a songwriter, it often feels like there is too much to do… stop trying to do too much and not giving yourself enough time!
The solution is to use the “Pizza Rule”
I use the Pizza Rule as a metaphor to explain how to practice to my music students.
Ever try to pick up and eat an entire pizza?
Of course not… how is a pizza served?
Answer: It’s sliced….
When something is too big to eat (play / write / do) cut it into manageable pieces.
Cut a Big Thing into Manageable Pieces!
If a song is too hard to play all the way through, make it easier by breaking it into smaller pieces. Sometimes this means a bar at a time.
If a Problem is Too Big, Slice It Up
To solve a big problem, break it into smaller problems:
- To write a song: write the chorus and some verses and a bridge or pre-chorus.
- To carry a heavy load by yourself: make two (or more) trips or get some help.
- To do it all, break it into smaller pieces, take more time, and get some help.
In the cover photo, I choose to show the problem with two guitars in one hand, to any songwriter this shows the problem… use two hands to carry two guitars. It also looked better than the test shots of me shoving an entire pizza into my face….
How to Break Down Big Tasks and Big Problems
1. Regular Work Habits
Find time on a regular basis, instead of trying to jam it all in once or twice a week.
Click here to learn a system to build a consistent songwriting habit.
2. Thoughtful Effort
Break big problems into smaller tasks and create more detailed plans. Don’t leave out important steps in your plans and keep them flexible… leave room and time for unforeseen surprises, missed details, and life getting in the way.
3. Set Deadlines
Except for not setting deadlines, the usual problem with deadlines is underestimating how long a task really takes or forgetting to account for all the steps in a task.
The best deadlines are slightly uncomfortable but not impossible.
4. Share the Load by Collaborating
Co-writing is common in many genres. Find a co-writer with strengths that complement your weaknesses and who shares a similar work ethic. You can read a successful collaboration story here…
5. Get help
- Someone with strengths / knowledge you don’t have.
- A mentor
- Learn from someone who knows more than you do!
6. Focus on the Big Wins
Decide where you should focus your energy and start with that every time you’re working on your music… hint: it is probably writing songs!
7. Keep In Mind…
- Realize that sometimes things don’t go as you expect or plan.
- Solve the problem instead of complaining about it.
- Don’t beat yourself up when a solution doesn’t work the first time.
Songwriter Overload: Action Steps
Get out some paper or open a file to take notes (focus your thinking by writing it down instead of just thinking about it and then not doing anything about it!)
- What is most important – what are your highest priorities
- What isn’t important – what can wait
- What you don’t need to be doing – where are you wasting time
- Where you need help – get specific for better results
- What you need to learn – who can guide you
- What you can subcontract – hire help