Here is how to practice being your future self (and why you’d want to). It’s all about how you invest your energy and time—and being able to see yourself as that capable future YOU that you most want to grow into.

What gets in the way of becoming that desired future self? Too many musicians become victims to their to-do lists of urgent tasks. This can turn daily practice and career admin work into drudgery.

Like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain each day only to have it roll back down over you, it’s easy to feel like a slave to your daily grind.

This breeds resentment, avoidance, and burnout. And it prevents many musicians from becoming the artists they are meant to be.

Busy vs. productive

Here’s how Peter Bregman describes this dilemma:

“You’re busy all day, working non-stop, multitasking in a misguided attempt to knock a few extra things off your to-do list, and as the day comes to a close, you still haven’t gotten your most important work done.

Being busy is not the same as being productive. It’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running to a destination. They’re both running, but being busy is running in place.”

If you want to be more productive, Peter recommends you first ask yourself . . .


Who is the person you want to become?

Take a moment and picture that more productive and more creative you. The one that does the courageous daily work of getting outside your comfort zone and tackling challenging artistic projects.

My guess is THAT version of you is clear about what you most need to spend time doing today. Think about the skills you need to cultivate, and the projects you need to pursue to become that better version of yourself.

Peter writes, “Here’s the key: You need to spend time on the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts. In other words — and this is the hard part — if you want to be productive, you need to spend time doing things that feel ridiculously unproductive.”


Translate your intentions into actions

Peter gives this example, “I want to expand my writing abilities, so I have started waking up at 5:30 in the morning to write fiction. Unfortunately — and I am not being humble here — I am a terrible fiction writer. So my writing time feels painfully unproductive. I can’t sell it, I can’t use it, I can’t share it. Honestly, I can hardly bear to read it out loud. I have such a long list of things that actually need to get done, it is almost impossible to justify losing sleep in order to do something so unrelated to my present challenges. I know this is how my clients feel when I ask them to put aside their immediate concerns and focus on more distant challenges.

A question I hear a lot is: What about all the things I actually need to get done? Don’t I need to get through my cluttered email box, my pressing conversations, my project plans in order to create space to focus on my future self?


That’s a trick your busy self plays on you to keep you away from the scary stuff you’re not yet good at and that isn’t yet productive.

Sometimes you need to be irresponsible with your current challenges in order to make real progress on your future self. You have to let the present just sit there, untended. It’s not going away and will never end. That’s the nature of the present.

You may not end up with an empty email inbox and . . .


You may not please everyone.

But I’m willing to bet that you will do those things well enough.

It’s the other stuff I worry about. The wildly important stuff that never gets done because there’s not time or it’s not urgent or it’s too hard or risky or terrifying.”

That’s what Peter Bregman focuses on with his business clients, and it’s also what I help musicians with.

Think about it: if you only focus on the present you are essentially treading water. I believe you deserve more out of life.


What’s the action step your future self knows you need to take today?

Get your future going today. Think how good it will feel at the end of today knowing that you took action for your future self—that you made time for the hard thing instead of only tending to the immediate things.

And if you’re curious about getting expert coaching to help you bring your future self into reality, find the details here.

Looking forward,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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