Fast Company’s Evie Nagy interviewed two rock bands, Wild Party and Protomartyr, to find out how they were able to perform a combined total of 23 shows at this spring’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. The music festival lasts four days, and 11 or 12 shows offer a lot of exposure for bands, but performing them all was also a lot of hard work that wouldn’t have happened without plenty of preparation.
The bands shared their advice on showing up prepared, which can apply to project-scenarios on the road or in your office.
√ Do a trial run. Both bands had performed at SXSW within the past few years, though not nearly as extensively as they did this year. The earlier performances allowed them to get the lay of the land without putting as much on the line. In the office, this could translate to using drills, smaller projects or watching a mentor push through a project similar to yours.
√ Take care of yourself. Both bands had strategies to feel their best during the hectic schedule. The guys from Protomartyr practiced more frequently, got more sleep, and some began eating healthier and limiting their alcohol intake. Wild Party made sure each of their shows was only five or six songs so they were manageable.
√ Designate a handler. Pick someone who isn’t as hands-on in the project as everyone else and let their job be to coordinate, arrange or nag as the need arises. For Wild Party, it’s their lawyer. He makes sure they are where they need to be at any given time. For your project, pick someone not directly involved and have her make sure everyone’s on schedule.
√ Accept the right tasks. The bands did take on a lot of shows for such a short period of time, but they turned down a lot as well. They only took shows they really wanted to do or were killer opportunities to get their name out there. For your project, don’t let it take on a huge scope just for the sake of being a big project. Make sure every component fits within your ultimate goals.
— Adapted from “How to Survive a Killer Work Project and Come Out a Rock Star,” Evie Nagy, Fast Company.