Sue’s Views

A Blog by Sue Matsuki

A Survivor’s Guide to the Pandemic #1 – Activate to Motivate!

by | Apr 26, 2020 | Sue's Views | 0 comments


I haven’t been inspired to write a Sue’s Views for a long time because David Sabella and I have been busy getting ready for our book, So You Want to Sing Cabaret, to “drop” (now delayed like everything else.) AND, with all that’s happening these days, I haven’t felt like writing about singing (or even actually singing), or creating, or anything! I have not felt motivated. Yet, here I am in my office every day, all day. Before I know it, it’s 5:30 pm and I’m going to the kitchen to prep dinner and the day is basically over! Is this happening to you?

In this series of three articles called A Survivor’s Guide to the Pandemic I am going to discuss three areas that we are all going though: how to motivate, why and how to create a routine and stress eating. The last one, which is not specifically singing related, is just for fun and hopefully, for some insight.

Yes, like many of you I have been cooking, cleaning, spending more time on Facebook and binge-watching Netflix. I am also trying to keep in touch with friends and family via FaceTime and Zoom and, again like many of you, trying to learn how to keep up with all this new technology that connects us and allows us to continue to sing and share. However, I seem not to be motivated to take the next step and actually use this equipment! Honestly, sometimes all this information overwhelms me. The question for me today is how can I activate to motivate? What can I do to help me get moving?

A great way to start was to read all of David Sabella’s Quarter-Notes from the Apocalypse right here on Cabaret Hotspot for a lot of equipment information and other ways to, technology-wise, be able to sing and move forward. These are four great articles that break down how to use all this new equipment and software in a way that I could understand thus making me feel less overwhelmed. When I broke down each thing, purchased the equipment or software, got it up and running, tested it…it is now becoming 2nd nature with, admittedly, still a lot to learn. I promise that reading these articles will help get you started.

It seems that every day I wake up with an agenda to get this and that done but rarely does this or that get done. I tend to do other stuff. Why is that?

I looked up the word “procrastination” which is defined as, “the act of putting off or delaying something, very often, something requiring immediate attention.” I blame this on the recent phenomenon of, “there’s always tomorrow”. This concept is really screwing with me and how I usually operate. Going back to my business roots, I decided to create a way to activate to motivate that would feed my type A, organized personality by making a list of all that I need to do and then this list would be a visual self-imposed check-in system.

Having managed a very rich man’s life as a personal, family assistant for 23 years in my pre-retired, professional career, I am all about setting goals and time management. I decided to do what I do…name it and claim it to account for my own behavior. I actively did this by writing everything down in one place that I could get done during this “down time.” This circumstance of having to be home is a unique opportunity to get it all done…to really organize your house, life and art. Why are we not taking advantage of this time? Because, as I said before…there’s always tomorrow!

Normally I would be rehearsing, singing, teaching, producing and performing as well as cooking, cleaning and spending time with my husband. Well, the cooking, cleaning and time with my husband are already checked off so why not focus on the other things?

What if everything went back to normal tomorrow? Where would that leave you right now? What are all the things you’d have to get done ASAP in order to go back to life as we used to know it? (Besides putting your pants back on that is!) Why not get going and prep those things now? We all have the time, right?

For me professionally and personally, it all starts with a prioritized TO DO list. What do I need to get done? What do I want to get done? These could be put on an excel spreadsheet or just look something like what I offer below (with your personal categories and in your priority order.)

Daily To Do:
A – Due: 04/16/20 – Update Cabaret Hotspot Schedule – Done: X
B – Due: 04/16/20 – Check and answer all Emails – Done: X
C – Due: ____ – Set up/test new equipment for videos – Done: __

Sunday Weekly Update To Do:
A – Due: 04/19/20 – Update To Do for the Week – Done: __
A – Due: 04/19/20 – Music for this week’s sessions – Done: __
A – Due: 04/19/20 – Set up Zoom classes for the week – Done: __

Under SINGING I have several categories for producing, teaching, etc. like:

Cabaret Hotspot To Do:
A – Due: Urgent!  – Write a new Sue’s Views and post – Done: X
A – Due: Urgent!  – Tape YouTube clips and post – Done: __
C – Due: ____ – Update my bios with Bistro/Mac nod – Done: __

My Next Show To Do:
A – Due: 04/17/20 – Finish my script – Done: X
A – Due:  04/17/20 – Finalize my songs – Done: X
B – Due: 04/17/20 – Schedule Zoom with my Director – Done: X

Then you prioritize your A, B or C priorities. What comes first before something else gets done? Maybe you want to attack four “C” priorities vs. one “A” priority today. It is also smart and motivating to give yourself a due date for accountability!

Your list could look something like the one below or, it could be a hand written list that you write every Sunday night noting the things you want to get done that week!

If you have a running To Do List like the ones above that you update daily or weekly, you are already holding yourself accountable to get things done. You will also feel a great sense of satisfaction ticking things off as you complete each task so get going!  Activate to Motivate!




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Sue Matsuki

Sue Matsuki

Co-Editor & Instructor, Cabaret HotSpot and Cab U

Sue Matsuki is the co-author, along with David Sabella, of So You Want To Sing Cabaret (Rowman & Littlefield, June 2020). Sue is the Managing Partner, Co-Editor, Reviewer, Vloger and a Columnist (Sue’s Views) for an on-line entertainment magazine: www.Cabaret She taught Cabaret classes at: The Ridgefield Theater Barn and UCONN in CT, MAC-to-School and Cabaret Hotspot in NY and for the Canadian School of Performing Arts. She has served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs). She, along with Gregory Toroian, her long time Music Director, now host a monthly Jazz Brunch Open Mic at Pangea. Matsuki also produces benefits and corporate events and is the Producing Manager for Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms series where she also hosts a Vlog called Urban Stages’ Artists Chat.

Matsuki’s most cherished awards come from winning the 2020 Bistro Award for Outstanding Collaboration celebrating her 25th year of working with Music Director, Gregory Toroian; getting her poster up on Don’t Tell Mama’s “Wall of Fame” for her show How’s That for Openers? celebrating the 33rd Anniversary of singing at the club and being selected personally by the late Julie Wilson as the very first 2004 Julie Wilson Award Recipient, given by the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Matsuki is an 11-time MAC Award Nominee and a 3-time Winner (in seven different categories), mostly recently she was nominated for Major Female Vocalist. Her MAC history includes: 2002 MAC Award Winner for Female Jazz/Pop/R&B Vocalist; 2002 Nominee for Best Female Recording for her first Jazz CD, A New Take; 2004 Nominee for Duo/Group (with Marcus Simeone); 2006 MAC Award Winner for Special Productions for her sold out 7 week run of 10 Years in the Making with her Musical Director Gregory Toroian; 2007 & 2010 Nominee for Female Vocalist; 2008, 2011 & 2012 Nominee for Duo/Group (with Edd Clark); the 2008 MAC Award Winner for Specialty Song (“One Stop Shopping” by Page/Matsuki/Toroian); and the 2020 Nominee for Major Female Vocalist.

This Jazz/Cabaret/Comedy veteran has played every NYC Cabaret room including: Feinstein’s at the Regency, Feinstein’s 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, Arci’s Place, Town Hall, Don’t Tell Mama, Pangea, The Algonquin, The Beach Café, The Laurie Beechman Theater, 88’s, and has even played Carnegie Hall along with several legendary Jazz Clubs including: The Village Gate, Birdland, The Iridium and Sweet Rhythm. She has performed in Alaska, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, Nyack, Maine, Fire Island, Florida, Providence and Las Vegas!

Her jazz CD, A New Take, was nominated for the 2002 MAC Award for Best Recording and her Christmas CD, Sue & Edds FABULOUS Christmas both receive air play across the country and internationally. She is also featured on folk singing legend Christine Lavin’s original music Christmas compilation CD, Just One Angel with a song that she co-wrote with Paul Stephan called “Christmas Angel”.

Matsuki was a Super and “Diva Double” at the Metropolitan Opera where she has been featured in Moses und Aaron; Tristan und Isolde; Norma; and Il Travatore.

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