I love country music.  Love, love, love country music!  Each summer, my husband and I attend country concerts at Blossom Music Center, an outdoor venue located in Northeast Ohio.   With most concerts, you pretty much know what to expect.  The entertainers will play some music off their newest album, some of their older, yet popular songs, and possibly cover some hits from various artists.  Usually the artist will introduce their band, talk to the audience a little, and throw out, “Hello, Ohio, how are you doing tonight!” about 10 times – each time the response from the audience getting a little louder.

The opening act plays for about 25 minutes, the set is torn down, the next act plays for about an hour, the set is torn down, and the headliner plays for about 1 hour 45 minutes.   When the concert starts at 7 pm instead of 730 pm, I know I’m either going to get 30 extra minutes of music (since the concerts ALWAYS end by 11 pm) or an elaborate stage design that takes longer to transition to from performer to performer.

The business of putting on concerts is down to a science.  No wasted energy, no wasted time.  Each person has a job to do, and this job is timed out perfectly.

You want to see checklists, routines, systems at their finest, just watch the stage when one performer finishes as they set up for the next performer.  Drum sets removed and replaced, speakers adjusted, lights moved, tarps removed, microphone stands positioned and more.

Just like at a concert, many of us live our lives day-to-day using a series of routines, checklists, and systems.

Using routines is how we become more efficient.  This allows us to move from task, to task, to task without forgetting items.  Maybe we use a morning routine or an evening routine.  Possibly we use a routine for getting the kids out the door on time, cleaning the house, cooking meals.  Or we use checklists to pack for business trips, schedule pool maintenance, and fill customer orders.  Or we have set up a system for customer service calls, social media marketing, and website updates.

blake shelton

Blake Shelton “early years”, 2013 Blossom Music Center

Yet, even knowing the basic outline for each concert, I usually walk away from the evening excited, energized, and amazed.   “Wow – that concert was so good!  I love, love, love

[insert performer name here :) ].”  Many times I’ll comment on the choices that each entertainer makes to set their concert apart –





  • Blake Shelton wearing a hat with long hair (hello, mullet!) reminiscent of his earlier days
  • Tim McGraw entering from the side of the venue walking right past my seat
  • Rascal Flatts opening a show beating on steel drums
  • Jason Aldean using high school photos to introduce each member of his band
  • Or how the headliner brings his/her opening acts onstage at the end of the show to sing together.  Who can forget Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan together a few years ago? 
  • Brad Paisley brings acts out on the road with him – and showcases their talent starting 4 hours before the show.  He often has 4 or 5 acts playing on an auxiliary stage starting as early as 3 in the afternoon.

I’m able to appreciate the “extras” because the rest of the experience has run so smoothly.

The entertainers are able to create this experience because the routine of the show is just that a routineThe extras are what I remember – these are what make each show unique and special.  The efficiency is what I appreciate.  Without the systems, routines, and checklists – the evening would be too chaotic and hectic to remember or appreciate the “extras”.

[Tweet “Your summer project – create systems, routines, and checklists!”] The same concept works for our lives.  Having the time to enjoy a “lazy weekend” on the deck this summer is made possible because of effective time management throughout the week.  Creating time each day to mediate and work on big picture thinking along with practical tasks is possible due to a routine of planning for the day, the week, and the month.    When we can use routines, systems, and checklists effectively – we can free our time, and brain up for the enjoyable “extras” in our lives.

Are you working as efficiently and effectively as possible?  How about using this summer to organize your day-to-day?  Often we think of summer “projects” as repairing the deck, organizing photo albums, or having an “epic” garage sale.  How about this summer your project is creating systems, checklists, and routines to make the whole year run more smoothly? 

How has using routines, checklists, or systems freed up your time (or your brain) to allow you to enjoy the extras?  How is your life like a country concert?  Please post below!

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