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Industry Insight: Too Busy To Breathe?

The need for time management and the difference between strategy and tactics...

By Michael MacDonald April 17, 2014

Well it’s that time of year! The start of the summer touring season is fast approaching.

Yes, it’s the time of year when things really start to get busy. Comments like “It’s so busy I can’t breathe” are often heard. Too many balls in the air, and they begin to be dropped. Calls don’t get returned, and hair gets pulled out.

Time management is the key to getting more done in any business. Once at a conference of dealers from another industry, the keynote address included a phrase that really hit home with me: “You need to work on your business, not in your business.”

Boy, does this hit the nail on the head! So often business is all consuming, pulling us into a quagmire of details that have to be handled, all the while leaving little time to plan on significant improvements.

It’s vital to understand the difference between strategy and tactics. Both terms are thrown around frequently, but do most of us even know the difference? Strategy is long-term planning with an eye toward an end goal, while tactics are (usually quick) actions or reactions intended to improve a short-term situation.

Effective planning requires a long-term approach that drives what you do each day.

A solid business plan relies upon the development of a strategic plan. On the other hand, tactics are individual elements that contribute to making the strategic plan take shape and become realizable.

The million-dollar question: how does all of this talk of terminology actually impact time management? Simply, if you’re overwhelmed with tactical responses to unforeseen problems that arise day after day, it’s very likely that you’ll never have the time to create a strategic plan that will truly allow you to grow and thrive.

I term this a “negative feedback loop.” The less time spent working on strategic planning, the more chaotic business will be. That chaos can easily suck you into a vortex of low-level firefighting (read “unproductive”) activity that wastes so much valuable time that can’t ever be regained.

And so it goes, round and round. (Again, think vortex.)

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About Michael

Michael MacDonald
Michael MacDonald

President. ATK Audiotek
Michael is the president of leading production company ATK Audiotek in Valencia, CA, and has been involved in the professional audio industry for more than 35 years. Beginning as a freelance mixer/engineer in the 1970s, he transitioned to working for manufacturers and has been employed by, developed products for, and consulted with major companies such as Yamaha and JBL Professional.


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