6 Ways to Get More “Me” Time
Practice time = “Me” Time.
“Me” time is the most important asset you possess. Protect it, regardless of your atmosphere. I go into depth about making the most of your practice time here.
All cards on the table: I knew what I signed up for when I decided to have children and evolve into motherhood: clean the house, dirty diapers, dirty dishes, help with homework, work to keep food on the table, work to keep the lights on, work to pay for extracurricular activities, work to save up for a vacation. Your time is used up to maintain your family, yet people forget to value their own time in the process.
As a drummer, timing is my life. Without honoring the tempo, I lose my place in the song and the band suffers. In the studio, I’m at the mercy of the metronome. If I’m not on the money and make every hit of the bass drum, snare drum or high hat count, that producer will fire me on the spot and call the next guy in line – thus, I don’t get paid and my family doesn’t eat.
I’m certain I sound mildly dramatic, however being a musician and a single parent (at the time) was among the most challenging feats to overcome. Nothing keeps you more consistent in finding work than having another mouth to feed. I fed us through teaching relentlessly and gigging as much as possible, while living with my parents. Also, I had a day job that gave us medical benefits. I was barely 23 years old.
Thankfully, those challenging days are behind me. Now, I’m happily married to a wonderful and patience husband with a full house (3 daughters).
However, the hustle never stops.
You are OBLIGATED to take care of yourself. Without you, dear reader, your home life crumbles into a million pieces. In order to hit the ground running, you’ll need to prepare yourself by investing some time into yourself.
Yes, you matter. From this point on, it would be to your benefit to not entertain the opinions of anyone else. The direction you choose to attain your goals depends on you and no one else. I’m 100 percent positive that negative voice inside your head most likely originated from a loved one expressing their personal “perspective” about your goals and why you should or shouldn’t attain them.
These people are your family, friends, partners, etc. These are the same people who can’t handle change and want you remain at the bottom with them. You are different. Therefore, you matter.
You matter because picking up your sticks (or pick, bow, reed, mallets, etc.) matters to you, as well. So, let’s get started on improving your technique. While we’re at it, we’re also encouraging positive habits that reinvigorate your self worth to keep the negativity at bay.
1. Get to the Gym.
Sounds easy enough. Almost a no brainer. Plus, you hear it a lot. So why am I say it, too? Because this has nothing to do with losing weight, gaining muscle, heart health, blah blah blah. This has to do improving your playing. For example, if you like running, your lungs improve their air intake. If you’re any kind of horn player, this is a fantastic strategy because the strength you’re ultimately incurring allows you to blow through a string of notes much easier. If you’re a drummer, maintaining the amount of energy required to sustain the right flow through any amount of sets just got a lot more effortless.
Losing weight and gaining muscle is a positive side effect to improving good form and technique. You’ll look and feel better, too. But you knew that already…
2. Get a Hair Cut.
Something else that’s seems simple enough. Almost insultingly simple. Why would I even suggest something so menial? Because when you feel great, you do great things.
In my case, my daughters and I get our hair cuts every three months. We also get our nails done once a month. Since there are four of us, the price gets high relatively quickly. However, once I budget these hygienic necessities, I’m able to provide these services for my children, as well as myself. Not only am I teaching my children to maintain a schedule for basic necessities, I’m also re-enforcing the same concepts for myself. It also demonstrates to them that this level of scheduling is not difficult to maintain, as long as we keep our priorities in check.
3. Meditate. For Real, My Friend.
Speaking of priorities, self care involves serious mental fortitude on your part. As parents (or caretakers), we’re spread extremely thin responding to everyone else’s requests, while leaving ours to the wayside. However, a mental reset is imperative toward ensuring you remain level headed in the face of abrupt change and serious situations.
Meditation helps you accomplish mental fortitude.
I go into more of this in depth on a different blog post; please refer to it here. However, most musicians I know or played with look at me like I suddenly grew two heads. The concept of meditation seems foreign to a lot of individuals stuck in old-fashioned methodologies. For example, my parents bought a couch from a childhood friend of mine and they asked my sister and I to pick it up. When my sister and I arrived to retrieve the couch, my friend’s husband asked us, “Where are the men who are going to move this for you?” We responded with, “What men?” He did a double take and looked at us like we were just dropped off to his house by aliens from a spaceship. Forget the fact that I drove our father’s truck while my sister help me direct the bed of the pick up to the driveway in reverse. He shrugged his shoulders with a guff under his breath and directed us to the couch. What on Earth do you think happened next? We got that &*$# couch into the truck and drove off like a couple of badasses. Just her and I. I said thank you, of course, but still… what gives?
You’re constantly bombarded with overwhelming scenarios and extremely difficult scenarios that would make your ancestors wish they’d stayed in their own time. As we evolve as a society and an overall species, it’s important to never take our role as caregivers for granted. A mental break is sometimes necessary to re-evaluate your current situation and gift you the perspective necessary to confront the issue head on. Thusly, on your own accord, you’ll ultimately remove the negativity from your life for good (at least for that particular time period).
I love the Headspace app. I meditate between my high schooler getting on the bus at 6:20AM and 6:50AM before the younger two need to wake up. Things get incredibly hectic during the day with deadlines and lessons and charting songs. Meditation helps me keep things in focus while prioritizing my time. Your time is valuable. Always remember that.
5. Get Sleep.
I know. Us musicians don’t sleep well and we have seriously funny hours. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means it must be a priority.
Many time efficiency gurus encourage we create balance between our personal and professional lives. Other consultants, however, vehemently disagree. Successful people instill establishing priorities and placing boundaries around the goals you can’t stop thinking about. I go into more detail on another blog post, regarding protecting your time – please check it out here.
Sleep is one of the those priorities worth protecting. We often take advantage of the fact that we need rest. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” What we neglect to admit to ourselves is: if we don’t take the time to acquire ample rest, we shorten our life span considerably through behaviors that we could’ve prevented in the first place.
Your primary care physician (or cash only medical guru – like I said, we’re all friends here and we’ve all experienced unlikely alliances during our music careers) values rest as much as he or she implores you to eat right and go the gym.
There is nothing wrong with taking care of your needs first. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you’re no good to anyone…
6. Remind Yourself that Only You Can Walk in These Shoes.
“Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad he never cries.”
Every individual on the this planet experiences similar events. They internalize the different ways of how their families grow, friends made and lost, career changes, life changing occurrences – like the birth of a child or death of a loved one – the list is endless.
However, each individual interprets these major events slightly differently. That is, their perspective leans toward a specific emotion different from yours and mine. These differences are what make us human beings unique. Variety among viewpoints encourages us to expand our personal perspectives and review situations from other angles.
Therefore, your interpretation of the daily grind, from the time to wake up to the time you go to sleep, will ultimately influence those around you. Ensuring you remain positive during our time together on this big blue marble benefits you and I tremendously.
It’s incredibly difficult to maintain that mindset when everything around you appears to be negative. Your perception of this negativity greatly influences the course of your day and, unfortunately, also influences those around you. But it’ll be alright. Because you’re in control of your day.
No one knows how you roll or how you experience certain events because they’re not you. And you’re not them. You are you. So, go do you. You don’t need anyone’s permission to seek out your purpose and achieve your personal goals. If you stay where you are out of sheer habit, you’ll experience the same negativity while acquiring zero respect and zero satisfaction from who’s approval you so painfully desire. The only respect worth anything in this topsy turvy world is the only one that matters: SELF RESPECT.
I look at it this way: if all I think about is a particular goal, then this is what I need to focus on.
I believe in you, my friend.
Think about it…
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