Do Fiddlers Need Organization?

Rules to excel at what you do
Fiddlers can use these rules, too. Rules are a form of organization.

This is about how I organize my fiddling life. I just began a new SkillShare program on organization. I believe it will encompass more than one course and ask for something to be posted once or twice during the time of the workshop. The first course is in Productivity System. As I get started I ask, what is my productivity system right now? Here are my top of the head thoughts.

I have goals. Some goals are events. Some are tunes I want to learn. My preparation is what shows up on the to do list. Some are not time bound at all. Those get procrastinated indefinitely. Some goals are resolutions. Like: I will get 1Password on my iPad by the end of June. I have also put to dos relating to goals on my calendar.  Let’s call it Goals and Deadlines. Like they go together.

Fiddlers’ To Do Lists

To do lists. Mine have been mostly on small pads of paper, or even index cards. Lately I use the longer sticky note pads that have lines. The list only lasts a day. After that I transfer unfinished tasks to another list, using the same kind of paper. Or, I move to a bigger pad with 8 1/2 by 11 lined paper to do a combo of to dos and brain dump. I also have some brain dump on the ReMarkable tablet, but haven’t lit it up for several weeks.

It’s said by experts that you need an easy place to throw down the contents of your mind. I have an easy place: a pad of paper is never very far away. Alas, I end up with many notes on several pieces of paper. The experts recommend Todoist.com. I got the app and put in a few things, but I haven’t been using it. Today, since the newest expert in the workshop I’m taking, Thomas Frank, recommends Todoist, I got into it again. Then, I found the tutorial. It’s ready on my iPad for the moment I begin studying it.  Alas, I still don’t like it.

The Power of One Big Goal

There is a big white board in the back of the house. I tried writing down my main project on it. It was suppose to keep me focused. That has not succeeded, because my main project keeps changing. How do I solve that problem? First I must consider calmly and carefully what is my main desire for completion. How would it improve my life, make me feel fulfilled, satisfied. How would it enhance my cash flow, which is not great at the moment. How would it fit in with my lifestyle? 

When that project is selected, I would be specific about what the resulting item looks like. Plan a critical path to get there. Estimate how long the steps would take. Start putting them into play using my calendar, or Todoist. And that’s the project that goes on the white board. Underneath that line could be the next step. Keeping focused is critical to getting things done.

It’s odd and a little funny how much I feel the need to improve my productivity. After all these years, I’m still not organized in the way I would like to be. Sure, I’m an improviser, but, even improvisers need a framework in which to create their good stuff. 

Improvising and Organization

Other aspects of organization include binders, folders, stacks, in box, tables, chairs, shelves, the outside room. So much of that needs to be sifted and sorted on a regular basis. Too many binders. Folders? I just created a couple yesterday and put them in the front filing cabinet. I have a special folder, the Trapper Keeper, that I am using for things I want to look at in a day or so. I had to make a resolution to look at it right away to keep that in play. 

It’s really not much of a System. But, better than nothing. I’m hoping the workshop and course work will raise my level of organization and productivity. One thing Thomas Frank said that was new. Find a way to put everything in Todoist. Work, personal, everything. Have separate categories, but able to see the whole thing at a time when you want to. Like the week ahead, two weeks ahead. 

And I have a wall calendar, too. I leave some things out where I will see them because they remind me to do something I want to get done. And it’s quick to see what’s coming up.

Maybe my organization will not be as good as someone who is not an improviser. This really does affect the way you see things and do things. It’s a very creative frame of mind. It’s good to remember that any system of productivity and organization is better than no system at all.

3 thoughts on “Do Fiddlers Need Organization?”

  1. Love it, Elan. This is Scott Roberts. I continue to work diligently on my fiddle training as inspired by you. I found former music teacher at The Villages who is taking up the fiddle and she has an electric piano which provides back up to our playing our Tunes. It is sort of like having a jam, without people around. It’s actually pretty cool. We are presently working on fiddle or violin Duets and as long as the tune doesn’t get too frisky with a sixteenth note, I’m doing okay. I work on intonation constantly and the vibrato is such a challenge. I need to get down and have a lesson with you. Plus, I just enjoy your company. Best, Scott

  2. Loved it too! I bet I have more little notes to self than you….as the sands are slowly sifting down the hour glass I still have hope that one day I will get it together (the little guy in my head is laughing).

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