How to Fit Practice Into Everyday Life


in Methods

Many of us have aspirations of learning a new skill, only to see them delayed when everyday life gets in the way. How many of us have set out with strong intentions to learn a new musical instrument, but then got distracted because we had to spend more hours at the office, or had to spend time looking after the kids?

These things are important, of course, but finding extra time that is just for you is equally important if you are going to maintain a rich and fulfilling life.

Although you can’t rid yourself of certain distractions, you should find you can learn any skill you put your mind to – be it learning to play the drums or honing your skills as a ballet dancer – as long as you are strongly motivated to succeed.

Improving at your skill is going to take regular practice, and if you’re serious about it, you should be able to devote at least a small amount of time each day to getting better.

Consistency is essential in the early stages of learning a performance skill, and finding a little time to complete exercises or follow instructions from your teacher will reinforce the learning you’ve already picked up.

Although you may tell yourself at the beginning you’re going to devote a certain period each day to practicing, we often forget to tell ourselves which time is going to be set aside. It’s a small but important point to note. Don’t just tell yourself you’ll practice when you find “some” extra time; that time will likely never come, and your performance will suffer as a result. Instead, plan your practice to the minute and hour, and don’t compromise.

Which leads me to my next point…

The most important way to ensure you don’t give up on practice is planning.

This may not suit everybody, but dividing up every aspect of your days, weeks, and months, down to the last minute will help you find the best times to practice. Keep a running record of what needs to be done each day and when they’re likely to be achieved.

Staying on top of your to-do list will ensure that when it comes time to practice, you’ll have everything else out the way so you can focus on the good stuff. Although it’s easy to let this kind of heavy organization slide, this is the biggest killer of any good practice regime.

Don’t let yourself be one of the thousands of people who set out to learn a new skill with regular practice, only for a week to then pass between sessions, and then a month. Before you know it, a year will have passed and you won’t be any further towards honing your performance skills.

If you really want to make progress with your skill, you’ll find the time somewhere within your busy lifestyle to make it work.

These tips may not turn you into the next Yo Yo Ma, but they will definitely help you refine your skill and improve your performance, without letting other aspects of your life interfere with your progress.

Brynn Alexander loves all things music and media, and writes for, among other sites

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