Make a plan, and stick to it
This may not be an earth-shattering idea, but actually doing it might be something new. I'm talking about developing a plan and holding to it. Not changing paths on a whim or when things get a little tough. I am talking about sticking to your guns. I have always been one to give up early. Since I was little and playing with Legos with my older brother Matt. I would come up with some lame concoction that kept me entertained for about 10 minutes, give up and head down to the kitchen for a Swiss Roll, all while Matthew would forego food and restroom breaks for 10 hours, only to emerge from the sea of Legos strewn about the bedroom floor with an incredible piece of art (and a full bladder). In some ways, I haven't changed much. "That's probably good enough for now," I often think. "I'll do more tomorrow." Or, "I don't want to overdo it. I need to make sure I have time to rest and recover." When I'm practicing, writing music, or even working out or running, thoughts similar to these bounce around my mind more often than Rex Ryan makes a bold statement. But I've found a way to turn these thoughts away when they come knocking. First, make a plan. A specific plan, with start and end times and measure numbers and tempos. Details are a must or you won't stick to it. And a mental plan is nice, but a written plan is REAL. Write it down. Second, stick to the plan! If I said I would practice measures 14-20 from 11:25-noon, then that's what I'm going to do. Even if it's hard. Or even if it seems like I've got it down, and I want to move on. No, I'm going to keep practicing that part until noon. "But it's pretty close. I should probably take a break to check email. Plus I have time tomorrow to solidify it." Sure, but I have time RIGHT NOW to solidify it, too! I will stay on it until noon. I have found this idea to be incredibly effective and rewarding. In my preparation for the TROMP Percussion Competition in November, I accomplished far more than I ever thought I could in a short time, and it's mostly due to this exact process. And most recently, I finished writing an indoor percussion show in record time, again largely due to sticking to the plan when I didn't really feel like it. And I am pleased with the result, too. So give it a shot. Write the plan down, and don't let the flaming arrows of those lies shoot you down. Stick to the plan and eventually, you will enjoy the results.