Procrastination is one of the biggest killers to progress in the world. And no wonder, whether you’re at work, in the gym or even home, procrastination is such an easy habit to form.
Practicing and playing your guitar is no exception, no matter if you’re in a band or just playing solo. But, how do you get back to doing what you love without it feeling like a chore?
Today is the day that you take back control. Below, you’ll find all advice you need to help you beat procrastination, enabling you to pick up your guitar whenever you feel the urge to practice.
As time goes by and your new productive habit forms, you’ll become the guitar maestro you’ve always dreamed of becoming!
Practice at the Same Time Every Day
One of the biggest problems musicians face is trying to squeeze everything into one day. Since we’re talking about developing consistency, the chances are that being a musician is not your full-time job. This means you’ll be going to work, running errands and trying to complete your day-to-day tasks at home.
However, this is one of the biggest problems when it comes to playing the guitar since our minds will be on other things. The simple solution? Dedicate a set time to play in the day.
While this might seem like micromanaging (and to a certain extent it is), by saying to yourself; “I’m going to practice guitar every day at 8 pm,” you’re giving yourself a set time where you’ll know when you’re supposed to be practicing.
This means you’ll need to get all your other jobs and tasks completed by this time, so you can sit down and give full attention to your practice. Practice at this time consistently, and you’ll have formed the habit in no time.
Unless you’re practicing on a daily basis, it’s practically impossible to form a solid habit, and this is where procrastination tends to form.
Of course, there are going to be occasions where you won’t be able to practice since you might be out with loved ones or at work or doing some other important thing.
However, to maintain a solid practice, you’ll want to be aware of these times in advance, so you can “book yourself in” to another time during that day, even if it’s only for half an hour.
Practice in a Dedicated Space
Consider where you currently practice your guitar. Are you in your bedroom? Your lounge? Perhaps even in your garage? Maybe you’re practicing in all of them? It’s very easy to get distracted if you keep changing rooms.
This is because you can become easily distracted by the objects, things or people in that room. To counter this, simply set up a dedicated place in your house where you can play and only play your guitar.
The more dedicated your space is, the more likely you are to pick up your guitar and practice in a focused way. This will also help you get into “the zone” where you’ll find your practice much more worthwhile and productive.
Minimize Your Distractions
During practice, how many distractions do you have around you? If you have your phone with you, your laptop running or people talking around you, you’re basically asking for procrastination.
When it’s practicing time, cut out all possible distractions. This means staying fully focused on what you’re doing, and making the most of the practice time. Even if you use your phone or computer to look for tabs online, you can simply download the required content beforehand, and then disconnect your device from the Internet.
Ultimately, this will help you maximize your concentration and fight off the causes of procrastination, allowing you to practice to an optimal level.
Always Keep the Essentials Ready by Your Side
Imagine this. You’re a hardcore metal guitarist. You’re ready to practice a lengthy set of songs, all of which need their fair share of distortion. At that moment, you realize that you forgot to bring your dedicated distortion pedal to your practice space. You see a cheap multi-effects pedal lying around, and start using it instead.
It may work for people who aren’t perfectionists and don’t treat practice sessions that seriously. But, if you’re very serious about your playing and almost have an OCD when it comes to guitar tones, that’s going to be a big issue.
Instead of saving time by not fetching your distortion pedal from another room, you’ll end up wasting more time tweaking various tonal controls. Ultimately, you may even get frustrated and demotivated––thus seriously affecting your productivity for that session.
So, it’s always a good idea to keep all the essential equipment by your side before you start practicing.
Become Aware of Your Triggers
Everybody is unique and so are their procrastination triggers. You may be researching information to help you during your practice, such as looking up songs and tab sheets, which then leads to more Internet browsing and less time playing.
The list of causes is infinite, which is why you should be proactive in looking out for what makes you distracted. Once you actually start paying attention to how you’re procrastinating, the causes will become obvious very quickly. Once you become aware of your triggers, take appropriate steps in making sure they don’t bother you when you plan on playing.
If you’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that you practice and don’t get distracted, it can be a huge blow to your self-esteem when you find yourself distracted once again. Think of it this way: If you’ve been trying to practice for years, but have continuously found yourself distracted, this is several years’ worth of habit that you need to undo.
Keep trying and keep pushing yourself and over time you’ll find yourself forming a new habit where you’ll be able to practice undisturbed.
GAVIN WHITNER is a songwriter, composer, and the lead guitarist for an alt-rock band. He also blogs about music and musical instruments at MusicOomph. You can also check out his Facebook page.