How many times do you get distracted from your guitar practice goals? If you're anything like me then more than is good for your guitar playing...
I'll create a practice plan to work on a style or technique for the coming week, but after a few days I find myself not very far advanced with my plan. I'm getting near to the end of the week and I'm not making the progress I wanted on my original goal.
In the meantime I've strayed from my list of exercises or songs to work on some new lesson I happened across in this months guitar magazine, on You Tube, or on one of my favourite web sites. Distractions are all around us, and when we have some hard work lined up they have a funny knack of becoming all the more attractive to us.
Not To Do List
One tool I've found helpful in these situations is a "not to do list". Everybody is familiar with the to do list, a simple list of things you want or need to do on anything from a piece of scrap paper to a computerized planner.
Well, the not to do list is similar, but the things you put on it are the things you want NOT to do. Then you keep the list in a prominent place near your guitar.
My not to do list varies but an example might be something like this.
- Not visiting You Tube for new guitar lessons
- I will not search for tab to new songs I hear on the radio
- Not spending time searching for new guitars or equipment that I don't really need anyway
- I will not practice soloing techniques this month
- I will not spend time on new songs outside my practice list
How A Not To Do List Helps You
The not to do list helps you to become more aware of the things that distract you from your practice goals. The list takes all the things you know are likely to happen and puts them right there on a sheet of paper you can keep in a prominent place near your guitar. The list will help you to catch yourself whenever you start to get distracted and help to put you back on track. It's like having your own little Jiminy Cricket sitting on your shoulder and acting as a conscience for your guitar practice.
All the things on your not to do list might well be valuable guitar skills, but that's why they are so dangerous. It's not like you're just goofing off to watch TV or anything but when you have decided to focus on building or improving a particular aspect of guitar playing you need to keep your focus and keep these dangerous distractions at bay.
If you're serious about getting control over your guitar practice distractions create your not to do list for the coming month now. Think about the distractions you usually fall prey to and write them down on a sheet of paper.
Refer to your list regularly over the coming month and see how many of them you can avoid. Turn it into a fun exercise by making it a game with yourself. Revise your list regularly as your practice goals change and keep moving up to the next level of guitar playing.
Download a free Guitar Not To Do List template to print and use.
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