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I’m one of the lucky people who for the most part create my own workdays from the comfort of my wonderful (albeit kind cold) apartment. I set a schedule for myself first thing after breakfast and do my best to stick to it. Here’s how it looks for the morning today -
930 – 1015Â guitar book
1030-11 pad stuff
1110-12 kit/shaker african pg 13
I’ve discovered over the past little while that having an actual regimented routine really helps me accomplish the things I want to in a morning. By doing all the “work” stuff first thing, my brain and body are warmed up for the afternoon and ready to write or record whatever music I’m doing that particular day. I’ve also learned to leave 15 minute gaps at least twice between activities, to stretch and let my brain take a breather. Practicing this way can be like mental basketball; it’s fast paced, focused, and you’re trying to make everything count and be effective as possible.
Christine and I spoke yesterday about the importance of using a timer when we practice. If I’m working on an exercise and really want to focus on it, I’ll set a timer for 3 or 4 minutes. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but if you can get your brain to hone in on just one task without letting any other external stuff in, it’s pretty amazing the progress you begin to make. I had a teacher call it “active practicing” and it makes sense. For my brain, I get way more out of working on something with my full focus for 3 minutes, then just mindlessly repeating it for 10.
One of the biggest helps and a must do when I practice is to step away from the computer/iphone. There’s always a text or email that’s going to come in and pull you out of the mind set you worked so hard to get to over the past few minutes. I’m so accessible all the time by virtue of the technology I choose to use, and I have to realize it’s okay to just not answer an email right away. I’m getting almost behind schedule now so I have to go.
oh, and the right amount of coffee is pretty much essential to all the above stuff. Too little and I’m a bit of a zombie, too much and it gets ugly fast…..