Monday, July 14, 2014

Two Steps to Find More Practice Time

We all know in reality that practice is easier said than done.  There are emails to answer, deadlines to complete, Facebook status updates to post, meals to prepare, children to wrangle, errands to run, and clothes to iron.  We live in the age of being busy.  Ask someone how they are, and they’ll likely tell you busy.  In our modern lifestyles, we all have so many demands on our time and never-ending to-do lists, that carving out time for a regular practice schedule gets pushed to the bottom, waiting for that someday, when we're all caught up to peacefully ease into a practice session.  Well, sorry to say, that day will never come.

However, by using two simple steps, I think you'll find that you can find the time to practice.  It doesn't need to be a complicated process of rearranging your entire life or trying to reshape your personality.  Two steps.  That's it.
Step #1: Block Out the Time 
The only way to have time to practice is to make time.  A magical day free of responsibilities and demands will never come.  You have to buy out the time.  So right now, before you read on, pull out your calendar, iPhone, planner pad, or whatever system it is you track your schedule on and look at your upcoming week.  Where in your week can you find time to practice?  You don’t need large blocks of time to do it.  Fifteen or thirty minutes here or there can really add up.  Find a minimum of one hour in the next week, either all together or broken into pieces, and pencil it in right now.  Block out that time for yourself before another activity fills it up.  Too many activities already on your calendar?  Then assess which commitments you really either have to or want to fulfill, versus which you said yes to out of pressure or feelings of obligation.  Your time is valuable, so use it to engage in activities that are fulfilling and meaningful to you. Presto!  You have a date with yourself.  Now keep it!
Worried that you won't stay accountable to yourself?  Then sign up for a class AND pay for it in advance.  When we invest financially in ourselves we are much more likely to follow through with our intentions. 
Step #2: Just Begin
Of course inevitably, when that day and time rolls around, there will probably be an assortment of new stresses that have come up that you originally did not anticipate.  You might be tired from the neighbor’s dog keeping you up the night before, or your husband’s snoring.  You might feel like you really should do the dishes first or give the kids a bath.  You might just feel burnt out and that an hour zoning out in front of the TV would be so much easier.  Whatever excuse or obligation it is, acknowledge it, and then let it go.  The hardest hurdle to cross is just starting.  It’s that initial step from inaction to action, from routine to change, that always likes to present itself with so much resistance.  Just begin.  Don’t think about it, debate it, or rationalize it.  Like Nike says, just do it.  If you had one whole hour written down and that seems like an unbearably long time, tell yourself you’ll do a minimum of five or ten minutes.  Once you start, you’re almost guaranteed to continue on longer.  This time is sacred to you.  Honor it by showing up.

Photo Credit: Unknown

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