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We all procrastinate and so do I. Email and exercise are my weak spots and I find that improving certain guitar skills are very time consuming so I tend to procrastinate, but I have found some pretty exquisite ways to overcome that.
Yes, it’s good and healthy to procrastinate once in a while. Sometimes it’s just better to leave things alone and come back to it another time. It can do miracles.
But when putting it off becomes a habit and starts working against you, you might want to find a way to deal with it. After all you want to become a better guitar player right?
Well here are the keys to solve this procrastination issue for once and for all.
Let’s hack it!
1 – Stop thinking and start doing
If you think too much about the amount of work and effort that goes into a song, a solo, learning to play fast or mastering a particular style then that thought becomes bigger and bigger. You might worry about failure or other issues, but the more you think about it the more complex it becomes. The thought expands a little more until it becomes a beast and you don’t know how to deal with it anymore.
The thing is you don’t have to know how to deal with it. You just have to start. The song, solo or whatever will reveal itself along the way. It’s the way things work. As Lao Tzu would say “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Just stop thinking and start doing.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking about the difficulty of practice or the time it consumes just say “stop” to yourself, grab your guitar and start practicing.
Just do it! The rest will come.
2 – Break it down, make it small
When you think about the enormity of the task and you don’t know how to tackle this beast, just break things down into smaller parts. When you have to learn a long solo, start with just two measures a day. I know you can do the math, but that’s 14 measures a week. If two measures seems too hard or too much, just practice one measure a day with focus and dedication. As long as you take that single step you’re making progress.
3 – Make it easy
There’s nothing more dreadful after a hard day of work then having to look for stuff or get it from somewhere. Make sure your guitar, gear and materials are easy accessible. Make it easy to take that guitar out of the stand. Place it right there where you spend most of your time. Make it effortless to get hold of your sheet music, capo, picks, etc.
Put your stuff in sight right on the table and place your music stand next to your favorite chair or couch in the room. Out of sight is out of mind, so you need to remind yourself to practice and eliminate any chance of putting it off. Make it easy!
4 – Know what to play
You don’t want to think about what you’re going to practice when procrastination is waiting for you to take over. Make a decision beforehand. The day before your guitar workout decide what song or part of a song, what scales or scale sequences, what solo or blues licks you are going to work on. Write down on a piece of paper what you’re going to practice.
5 – The 5 minute guitar workout
I wrote a post on a guitar workout that saves you a lot of time and worrying about time in the first place. It definitely works. Check it out and try it: The 5 minute guitar workout
6 – Make it fun
It’s all about the path, not the destination. And fun is the ultimate motivation to keep walking the path. If you know how to make guitar practice fun and enjoyable for yourself then there’s no way you want to procrastinate. Think about ways to make even the hardest part of practicing fun. Let your creativity flow.
Here are some starters: Make yourself a nice cappuccino or some hot tea to make practicing more enjoyable. Create a cosy and inspiring practice environment with plenty of natural light. Make sure you have a guitar that you love to play.
Lower the action of your guitar for more playing comfort and put a set of fresh strings on your guitar to make your guitar sound and feel good. Play songs and styles that you love. Play and practice what makes you happy!
“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.” ~ Eva Young