How and Why I Can Plan Everything Musically

I wonder why I came up with this topic out of the blue. I suppose I simply like to talk about my flair for planning and organising. I probably did not think this through, though, because at first glance it has nothing to do with music at all, except perhaps that my music is also just as organised as everything else. On closer thought, however, I do think that music is inter-related with my organisational skills. It’s something I’ve never thought consciously about, so let’s explore this together, shall we?

1. Introduction

In musical terms, an introduction comes at the beginning of a song, and often contains just music and no words, in order to build up suspense for the listener so that when the downbeat drops in, it creates a release or surprise. When you’re planning something new, make sure to start thinking about it before the assignment or event is scheduled to start. If you’re planning to write an essay, start thinking about it way before you intend to start writing — preferably the moment you hear about it so that you don’t forget.

There is a difference between putting off something to think about it later, and scheduling a timeslot to think about it. If you put something to the back of your mind to think about later when you have more time, I can assure you that you’ll forget. You must always write it down, and staunchly tell yourself when you’re going to work on it. “Later” is too vague. Try something like “tonight”. In fact, you should set aside time everyday, probably at night, to work on the tasks that you had set aside in the day.

2. Chorus

The chorus will repeat at least once both musically and lyrically. It is almost always of greater musical and emotional intensity than the verse. The chorus of your planning is the busy period, when assignments are due and you’ve reached the most difficult part of your assignment. There is a possibility that your plans will start to fail, or you will get stressed because your mind and body cannot keep up with the workload you’ve assigned for yourself. This is when people start to work late or even stop sleeping to complete their assignment overnight. This is very unhealthy, though some people do thrive on it so I can only say that to each his own.

However, I never let something like this happen to me. How do I ensure this? First of all, I make sure to balance out my workload. I plan specifically what I will do in which period of time, so that I can always predict the level of difficulty and time needed for the subsequent stage and am never caught off guard. Secondly, I leave space for contingencies. I make sure not to plan on the dot, but rather to leave a space of either a week (for long projects) or a day (for shorter assignments) or an hour (for recurring short assignments) between the time I complete and the deadline for submission. It’s likely that you may end up being unable to finish before the deadline, but these are very rare occurrences, and at least you know you’ve an additional week/day/hour, rather than flailing because you’ve less time.

Another way I leave space for contingencies is to plan by week (for long projects) and day (for shorter assignments). Basically, if a task will take you more than a day to finish, give yourself a week. If a task will take you more than an hour to finish, give yourself a day. When you set aside time specifically for the project, it keeps you in focus, and you also have enough flexibility within this space in case you’ve an emergency, such as when you fall sick. When you’ve breaks in your schedule, it’s easier to adjust your time for subsequent tasks as well.

3. Collision

A collision is a section when different parts of music overlap one another, usually for a short period. In work lingo, this is when 2 projects or assignments clash. This is quite likely to happen — in fact, I’d say it’s inevitable — and people often make the mistake of focusing on finishing 1 task before moving on to another. I consider this an inadvisable tactic. If they overlap, then let them overlap. Sure, you’ll be somewhat busier during this time, but it’ll make you freer in the future, when others are rushing due essays they never had time to work on. I know of people who only have 1 day to write an essay before the deadline, because for the rest of the weeks they had been working on another earlier assignment. You should balance out your time for all your assignments, and the simplest way to do this is to overlap.

Overlapping has its merits. There may be times when you realise you cannot continue with an essay due to lack of research, or information contained somewhere you hadn’t gotten beforehand. While waiting for this information to arrive, either from a friend or from something somewhere that you need time to take, you can work on the other assignment in the meantime. It’ll also give your brain a rest from becoming desensitised to the previous assignment.

That said, it’s also not a bad idea to finish something before you start something else, as long as you’ve realistically planned sufficient time for the later assignment. Don’t let one assignment that you can potentially score well in suffer due to another more agonising project that nets you more time and is more challenging!

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