This is actually something that I discovered as a freshman in college. It probably began as a tactic to justify my habit of procrastination, but I later discovered that tidying up my surroundings before endeavoring upon any writing-intensive tasks actually seemed to improve my overall focus, and thus improved my overall output. Whether you're working on music or business, eliminating clutter (i.e. distractions) will help you to remain focused on the task at hand, as it's been my experience that distraction can present itself from even the unlikeliest of places. It could be the basket of clean laundry that needs folded and put away, or it could be the rug that could use some vacuuming. It's true that there are those who believe that messiness is a byproduct of a creative mind, but as an entrepreneurial musician, you're a cut above the rest as you possess both the discipline and the creative drive to operate in a tidy, (or at least somewhat) organized, distraction less environment. This also provides you with a sense of accomplishment, setting the tone for the subsequent accomplishments to come. Remember, an organized space means better organized thoughts.
If you do a quick google search on increasing productivity, you'll find numerous pages that all list this recommendation, and that's because it's simple and it works. Although our level of connectivity has its advantages, it can also derail any momentum you're building when working towards your ultimate goal. Of course, there's a time and place to apply this tactic, namely when you're working on anything that doesn't require an internet connection (i.e. social media, site-building, posting content, etc.).
This is especially true with social media. Before you read on any further, let's conduct a bit of an exercise. Go into your settings and look at what apps consume most of your phone's power. Chances are that it's Facebook that's using most of your phone's battery life. This presents a bit of a conundrum, because so much of digital marketing requires social media sites, but I think a general rule of thumb is to compare the battery usage on your phone to the amount of productive output. If there's a large disparity between your social media usage and the completion of your daily goals, you'll probably find that you'll acquire more net hours a week to work on the stuff that matters to your career.
I even take this a step further by working on tasks without music as a distraction. As musicians operating as entrepreneurs, it can sometimes be difficult to work with music playing, especially if it happens to be a play list of our favorite songs, or even our own songs. For me, I've just found it to be a bit maddening, because as I'm trying to complete a task, I've found that my musical ear tends to analyze what's going on, meaning that I'm essentially trying to solve multiple problems at one. By all means, if your musical ear doesn't derail your progress, it is absolutely acceptable to enjoy your favorite tunes while working; however, if you start to notice that Eddie Van Halen's tapping sequence is splitting your attention from your work, that's a good indication that it's time to go silent. It never hurts to be alone with your thoughts -- that's usually when I have the best ideas.
Focus operates much like a muscle, meaning that the more you work on it, the greater your ability to focus on a task. One way that I've helped to work on this is by practicing it by way of guided meditation. Before I make mention of this product, I would just like to clarify that I in no way receive any kickbacks by promoting this product, but is just me sharing a product that I've gotten tremendous value from, and that is: the Headspace app. It is a subscription-based service, but I've found it to be well-worth every penny. In terms of practicing to improve focus, Headspace actually has a pack that is focused on, well, focus, by providing exercises to help you hone in this skill.
Additionally, remember those negative voices that I briefly mentioned earlier? Headspace also has a few packs that can help prevent those pernicious little mind-trolls that can detract from your work? Headspace also includes packs that help with anxiety, depression, and even self-esteem -- many of the things that hold us back from unleashing our inner rock star.
In this modern age where our attention is pulled in so many different directions, it can be a challenge to stay focused on the tasks that are going to help you monetize your passion. However, by decluttering your thoughts and surroundings, eliminating the major sources of distraction, and strengthening your ability to focus, you'll improve your chances of making a living doing what you love.
These are some of the tactics that I use in my own life, and if you have anything that you do differently, or would like to add, leave a comment share with us what works for you.