Michelle Erfurt’s Secrets to Juggling It All

By April 10, 2013Guest Work, Success

This guest post comes from my friend and music therapist extraordinaire, Michelle Erfurt. As you will see, Michelle is involved in a TON of different music therapy-related projects. Not to mention, she just recently had a baby. Check out what she has to say, and what is working for her right now. A big thank you to Michelle for writing this up!

-Matt

Sometimes my music therapy colleagues give me the BIGGEST compliment – they ask me, “How do you do it all?”

How flattering is that?!?! But I guess that when you have a great product like the Boom Tote to promote, a monthly podcast, a premium website, this weekly blog and a day job it really DOES look like I have a lot to juggle. I guess I just got used to all of it.

Just kidding… I DIDN’T JUST GET USED TO ALL OF IT!!!

My ‘secret’ is to NOT do it all. Instead, it’s to create organizational systems. Once you figure out a simple system… and you stick to it… you can start to run more than one project at a time.

I do a bunch of different things, here’s a list of some of my ‘secret’ systems…

  1. Have partners – How could I possibly do a monthly podcast and a premium website? Well, I’m not doing that by myself… I have 2 partners: Rachel Rambach and Kimberly Sena Moore. We have figured out a schedule and duty list that works for us. This way I only have to do 1/3rd of the work. PLUS, I think both the podcast and premium site are better because of our three heads! There is so much information that we produce, there is no way it could be so versatile if I were working by myself.
  2. Have someone/something working for you – This is not a partner relationship where you share the decision making… this is a ‘you are the boss’ relationship. What do I mean by someone/something? Well, I have a couple of very special someones who work for me… #1 Janet Stephens is the official Boom Tote sewist. I can do more for the Boom Tote now that she is making them. #2 My husband! Let’s be clear – he does not work for me – but he does a great service for me every conference time… he does all of my tweeting. Yup! I look like a tweeting machine during AMTA national conferences but it’s all Edward. 🙂 As for a something that works for me… Gremln. This is a third party website that allows you to sync up your social media accounts and schedule posts. Every time I write a blog post I schedule a tweet to go out on a recurring basis. Hopefully to you it looks like I’m sharing my blog posts a lot. The reality is that it was a one time tweet on my end.
  3. Write yourself protocols – One of my Music Therapy Pro duties is to keep track of the member subscriptions. There are a lot of components to being a Music Therapy Pro member… access to our special newsletter, Facebook forum, AND the members only website. So when someone joins MT Pro, I have to make sure that they have access to these components. It can get really confusing because it can take a day or two to complete the process. But, I helped myself out by creating a protocol list… it’s a spreadsheet where each column is a task I have to complete… things like “email to friend KMR”, “added to FB forum”, etc. When I finish the task I just type in an ‘x’. That way I can keep track of the entire process.
  4. Scheduled reminders – I need people to remind me to do things. So, I set myself reminders in my address book ( I happen to use iCal). With iCal, I can send myself a text and/or email reminders… and I need all of that! For really important stuff I often remind myself multiple times, through multiple channels, over a couple of days.
  5. Understand that it’s ok to get involved with something but not be really active – One example of this is all of the music therapy related Facebook groups. There are a lot of them and I want to be a member for networking and informational reasons. But, I just can’t be an active participant. It takes too much of my time away. So, I change all of my notifications so that they don’t keep bothering me. Then only thing I see on my FB account is the name of the group in the left hand column with a number of the amount of posts made since my last visit. Sometimes I click on the group just to make that number go away and I don’t read all the posts. It took me a while to have the self control to do this but it has been a big time GIVER in my life.

*****

Michelle Erfurt writes about working as a music therapist, attempting to live a fulfilled life and the things she creates to help her through it all at her blog: Music Therapy Tween and co-hosts a monthly music therapy podcast called the Music Therapy Round Table. Michelle is also the creator of the Boom Tote, a stylish carrying bag for Boomwhacker® instruments.

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