Time magement for effective practice

Often times we want to practice our instrument or craft to develop our skills to a point where we can turn that craft into art, or make a living at it, but there doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day to get everything done that we would like to do.  That's where time management comes in.


Until I learned how to manage my time, everything I did throughout the day was erratic and never seneemed to accomplish anything.  Once I learned how to prioritize, I was able to get much more done in a short period of time.  If you find that you have little or no time to practice because you have too many other things to do, it may be that you just need some guidance on time management.  When you have mastered the skill of time management you will have more time for practice.  As you put more time into practice, and your skills improve, you will find that you will gradually need less time for practice. That will leave time for other things.


If you follow a few simple steps, you can be on your way to getting things done in a shorter amount of time and accomplish the things that are most important to you. Below is a summarized version of time management.

Make a list of everything you need to get done.  If you have a smart phone, you can use the notepad that comes with it or download a note pad of your liking.  My preference is Color Notes, which has both text and re-ordering checklist functions, and time alerts that you can use when you have something that you need to start or do at a specific time, such as attend a meeting.  If you don't have a smartphone, you can write your list on a sheet of paper.  I also like to use the calendar, with it's alerts, in my android to list things that must be done on a specific date.

  1. Label each of these with one of three priority levels:
    1. Urgent and important
    2. Important, but not urgent
    3. Not important or urgent.
  2. Put the Urgent and important items first and the not important or urgent items last.  If you are using something like the color notes checklist you can move them up and down in order of priority.
  3. Next to each task, list an estimated amount of time it will take to do it.  For instance, if you plan to practice for an hour, place 1 hour next to practice.  If you plan to clean the bathroom, you can just estimate the time it will take you to do it.
  4. Take the items from that list and make a new list of what has to be done today.  Label it "Do Today". Be sure to list everything in order of priority. Also be sure to include breaks for meals and rest on your list.
  5. Do your best to accomplish each task within the time frame that you estimated.  Most of the time you will accomplish that task within that time frame. Sometimes it will take longer. Sometimes it will take less than your estimated time.


Taking a few minutes of time to make your list every day will save you hours each day.  If your master list is in your cell phone, you can add to it anytime while you are on the go whenever something occurs to you or you find a new obligation.


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