I started reading a pretty cool book* this week.

It’s one of those business books we entrepreneur nerds love so much.

Anyhoo, the authors are talking about their successes in building a pretty big stinkin’ company.

One thing they talked about is what I call “The Sharpie Technique.”

They said that when they first come up with an idea for a new product or feature, they only let themselves use a sharpie to draw up ideas (as opposed to a pen).

Why a sharpie?

Because you can’t get very detailed or specific with a sharpie.

You can draw boxes and arrows, and you can label things, but you can’t get down to the nitty gritty.

And that’s a good thing, because there’s no need to focus on the small details until you’ve figured out the big picture. (Why obsess over the design and color of a website before you even know what the website is about? See?)

How can you apply the Sharpie Technique to your work in your studio?

Here are some examples:

  • Don’t spend 20 minutes tweaking the EQ on your snare drum when you haven’t recorded all the other instruments. (Sharpie = focus on getting all the right parts recorded.)
  • Don’t focus about having the perfect collection of plugins when you’re not a very good mix engineer. (Sharpie = focus on improving your mixing skills, not the tools you’re using.)
  • Don’t obsess over mic placement on the guitar amp if the guitar amp tone sounds like booty. (Sharpie = focus on getting great guitar tone, then mic placement will be much easier.)

The list could go on and on…

What ways are you using a pen instead of a sharpie?

Where are you missing the forrest over the trees?

What unimportant stuff are you obsessing over?

One way to force yourself to focus is to have a project that you have to finish.

That’s exactly what you get every month at Dueling Mixes. A new song to finish every month. A built-in deadline. Pretty stinkin’ awesome.

This month’s tracks are REALLY well-recorded (think: professional session musicians).

It’s a great month to get started. Check it out here:


Sharpies unite!

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner


* This is an Amazon affiliate link.