Time Management – “I don’t have time to make music” (Tool #43)

This post is applicable to many fields, and its focus is actually a skill that I honed when I became more involved in arts administration at The Hartt School Community Division.

The issue at hand is that we all are busy.  We balance a million spinning plates and still manage to keep almost all of them in smooth rotation (hopefully).  However, we want to be able to set aside 2 to 3 hours to just compose, just practice, just read, just exercise–just do “x”How the hell can we expect ourselves to keep our plates from crashing to the floor when we want to take “me” time for artistic pursuits, relaxation, solitude, exercise, travel, etc.?

The simple answer is that we just have to forcefully make timeIt is not easy nor elegant, but you can set aside time to do what you want, no excuses.  Here is how:

  1. Know your priorities.  Be aware of what your workload is, your social obligations, your dreams, where each aspect of your life stands, and very importantly, how long it takes to complete each portion of your life’s current tasks.  I would suggest making a list of everything you do, writing how much time it takes to do each thing.
  2. Make a note of what is high priority–a “must do now”.  Make a note of what can even remotely be put off for a little while.
  3. Get your “must do now” list to a point where you can put off those tasks for a little while.  You do not have to complete each task if it’s not feasible or wise with time to do so, but you can complete a task if it makes you able to put it off for longer.  However, try to limit the amount of time you spend on this step.
  4. Put off the rest of your work now.  Yes, I am telling you to procrastinate.  This is just good organization and time management.
  5. Set aside the chunk of time you have created by putting off the current demands on you, and focus.  I mean it.  Focus.  Be mindful.  Don’t let anything distract you.  This is a skill, and it takes practice.  Only leave your “you” time for emergencies (and bathroom/water breaks).
    1. If someone calls, guess what?  You can call them back later.
    2. If someone walks in and doesn’t observe your focus, communicate to them that you appreciate their company but you need to focus right now, and will gladly engage with them once you’re through.
    3. If you remember another thing you have to do, pretend that you didn’t remember it until after you finished your “you” time.
  6. Enjoy your “you” time.  Compose with depth and intent, practice with intensity and focus, get involved in your exercising–be mindful and purposeful in whatever you do.

That’s it.  In short, organizationally procrastinate.  The world will not fall apart while you’re absent from constant demands.

It’s harder than it sounds, and takes time to build, but it will come to you like any skill.

Questions?  Comments?  Leave one here or reach out to me!

Thanks for reading,


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